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Backtracking at Brown

Until recently, the University’s directory listed Villarreal as an administrator in the Division of Biology and Medicine. In an email to The [Brown University] Herald, Mark Nickel, Brown’s interim director of news and communications, called the listing”a professional and collegial courtesy” during Villarreal’s training at Rhode Island hospital. Villarreal was not an administrator

Brown’s corporate denialist explains that a Brown administrator was not an administrator… That, you know, Brown writes these things in its web pages out of courtesy…

There’s no setting more courteous than your university’s medical school. Courtesy listings which call people administrators when they’re not administrators, and – more commonly – professors when they’re not professors. Courtesy (aka guest) authorships on research papers. Courtesy visits from pharma reps…

I declare, it’s like the first five minutes of Gone With the Wind over there! Everybody dressed in crinoline and bowing and scraping and extending courtesies left and right…

When reality bumps up against these exquisite poses, it’s always unpleasant. Robert Villareal, recent undergrad and medical school student at Brown, has already organized an impressive criminal drug distribution network.


And speaking of backtracking, Brown has also been having second thoughts about one of its more idiotic money-making ideas: interest-rate swaps. As one financial advisor comments:

“The basic assumptions were wrong… Under ideal circumstance they could have worked out, but what are the chances when you have a 30-year deal that everything would go exactly as predicted?”

Brown has unloaded, at a cost of five million dollars, one of the swaps; there are two others which will cost them twenty million to unload. Two of the three swaps are with Goldman Sachs, on whose board Brown’s president sat for ten years. Reporters want to talk to her, and to Goldman, about that connection, but

Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment.

Ruth Simmons, Brown’s president since 2001, resigned from the Goldman Sachs board in February 2010 after 10 years. Calls seeking comment from her spokeswoman, Marisa Quinn, weren’t returned.

Margaret Soltan, August 15, 2011 10:46AM
Posted in: code brown

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