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The Uses of the University.

Ex-Yeshiva University trustee Bernie Madoff knew it, and current Yeshiva University trustee Zygi Wilf knows it. Universities are sunny places for shady people. They shed moral legitimacy. When we hear a person’s an officer and a benefactor of universities we get all warm and runny inside. Good man! Hip hip!

Universities also shed intellectual legitimacy. Let’s say you’re peddling a dietary supplement that probably does jack shit. You however wish to claim it cures all human ills so that you can become a billionaire. You need to give someone at a university – or in a governor’s mansion – enough money to get some legitimate studies of the thing going.

Yes, yes, I know what you’re saying. Catch-22. If it’s a legitimate university, the results won’t go your way.

But you’re only saying that because you lack imagination. The point is to smuggle your guys into the university. Look what Novartis did in Japan! Look what Star Scientific – the diet supplement guys – did at Hopkins!

Earlier this year, Star Scientific disclosed a federal investigation of its securities transactions, and several of the company’s shareholders have subsequently filed lawsuits in federal court — and this month in Richmond Circuit Court — alleging that the company misled its investors about scientific research on Anatabloc.

The lawsuits have focused on the company’s statements about research by two scientists who work at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The research looked at anatabine’s potential for treating certain types of thyroid disease, but Star Scientific’s stock price took a hit after Johns Hopkins University said the researchers were acting as consultants for the company and not on behalf of the university.

Fine, Catch-23. You might get caught. But a few bad outcomes don’t mean that there aren’t universities just sitting there waiting for you to use them to legitimate your crap. Not all universities are like the University of Virginia which despite the free wheewheewheewhee in a private jet some of its scientists got courtesy of Star Scientific still said no:

According to the indictment, researchers from the University flew by private jet with Virginia’s first lady to a Maryland symposium hosted by Star Scientific in July 2011. It also details a meeting between [the head of Star Scientific] and “senior UVA administrators” in November of that year to discuss UVA “taking the lead role” in seeking state grants to research Star Scientific’s top product. Bob McDonnell allegedly supported the proposal, but the University eventually declined, as evidenced by a string of correspondence months later.

One e-mail included in the indictment has Maureen McDonnell complaining to a staffer: “Gov wants to know why nothing has developed w studies after [Williams] gave $200,000.”

I mean put it together, people! You know you’re gonna get the grants because the governor’s gonna make sure you get them. Win-win! But no – some fuckwits at UVA decide to care about wasting their time and whoring themselves instead of doing actual research. Gawd.

Margaret Soltan, January 24, 2014 9:42AM
Posted in: the university

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5 Responses to “The Uses of the University.”

  1. Greg Says:

    To paraphrase Mr. Stevens, formerly of the Hartford Insurance Company:

    Virginia becomes Illinois or else must.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Greg: Virginia goes Illinois one better: In Virginia, wives also go to jail.

  3. Greg Says:

    As you probably know, Bobbie coulda swapped absolution (legal anyway) for Mo in exchange for his own single felony plea. What a great Valentine’s Day present that would have been. “For the woman who had to have nearly everything.” I’d like to develop this idea, but I’ll spare everyone.

    A native of the Land o’ Lincoln, I’m still washing Illinois off. But even with its history of corruption, Chicago’s many blandishments make that a close cost-benefit case.

  4. University Diaries » “The U of M has sued Weiss to recover its own costs.” Says:

    […] the results all that money’s paying for. Things might not be quite as blatantly sordid as Star Scientific and Novartis and Joseph Biederman … The cynical determination to overdiagnose and […]

  5. University Diaries » American Academe’s ‘Centers for the Absorption of Federal Funds’… Says:

    […] things get too obvious, or when from the start they’re mishandled (remember what brought down Virginia’s last governor), the Centers suddenly shut down, or suddenly announce they’ve decided to stop taking […]

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