University Massachusetts Amherst should consider “killing [football] altogether.”

The unpleasant tendency of newspapers to cite statistics – and put them in high-profile editorials – has yet again reared its ugly head. The Boston Globe casts a rational eye at the U Mass football program and makes the obvious call: kill it.

So, you know, here’s the paper of record for that team’s city saying shut it down.

UMass had to assure many more football scholarships, meet minimum attendance requirements, and make facility improvements. But instead of leaping into glory, UMass hurled itself into a money pit. A program that cost the school $3.1 million in 2011 in direct support and student fees is projected to cost $8.6 million next year — even after projected revenues are taken into account — according a recently released faculty report. The school has precious little to show for it, with a 5-31 record in the last three years and a fan base in suspended animation. The Minutemen averaged 16,008 fans this season, barely more than last year’s home game average of 15,830.

Pushing athletes to enhance the university’s brand on the field often leads to problems in the classroom, and that pattern held true at UMass Amherst.

… Football losses are nearing $10 million a year… [T]axpayers can’t be expected to pay for an extravagant football program indefinitely, especially as the changing economics of college football make it even more expensive for UMass to stay competitive.

Franchement, here’s the worry on the part of the school. U Mass Amherst has arguably the most violent student body in America. The post-game riots there are terrifying. But if you take away that important emotional outlet for the large numbers of drunken bullies who go to school there, who knows what they’ll do instead? (Put amherst in my search engine for many posts about that school’s long history of riots.)

“Salem joined Goldman Sachs after attending Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and Princeton University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.”

I guess Walter Kirn wasn’t exaggerating. Get a load of Deeb Salem.

I mean, if you still have any questions about why some middle class smart people might not want to attend a school like Princeton.

Forming crowds of violent shits is the University of Massachusetts’ most cherished, most venerable…

tradition; the university itself is clearly proud of it, since after decades of totally pissed vileness it continues to respond with soft words… Continues to set things up on campus to achieve optimal pillaging. They riot when they’ve been sleeping; they riot when they’re awake; they riot when they’ve been bad or good — so let them RIOT for goodness’ sake!

U Mass Amherst is one of those schools which (let’s be honest) knows it would have to shut down if it didn’t admit its cohort, and the U Mass cohort happens to be gangs of alcoholic bullies from the eastern seaboard. Similarly, if Ole Miss systematically shunned Confederacy loyalists with a big thirst, they’d lose a significant chunk of their incoming class. Most universities are dominated by a representative slice of the American pie; U Mass Amherst, Ole Miss, LSU, Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Cal State Chico … these schools are not. They play the role of the freaks of this blog, the frenzied teetering muttering mad uncles of the American university family. When you give their students guns, as at Oklahoma State, you witness all manner of amazing things.

“Sources told NBC News the three are college roommates of accused bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev and are suspected of removing items from his dorm at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.”

Now why would you do that?

“[T]wo of the three roomates were already in custody over immigration violations…”


More details:

Two students from New Bedford, Massachusetts, have been arrested on charges of making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to a federal law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation. … The students are originally from Kazakhstan and were already in custody on immigration charges, according to another source with knowledge of the immigration case. The third is a U.S. citizen, the federal law enforcement source said.

More details. They certainly sound idiotic enough to have had some connection.


What are friends for?

There are two kinds of students at the University of Massachusetts: Those who want to study, and those who want to get drunk and tip over cars.

Neither of these activities has anything to do with going to football games.

U Mass drinkers long ago abandoned the middle man, if you will, and went directly at the alcohol poisoning.

It’s logical. Drinking in a stadium is expensive. Your team will probably lose, and alcohol is already a depressant. Stadiums have no cars to tip.

So why did anyone think U Mass students would haul ass across the state and attend their school’s football games?

Many U Mass alumni (who live closer to the stadium) have exactly the same profile as the students they used to be. Why would they go?

Here are two articles rehearsing these well-known facts and wondering why the taxpayers of Massachusetts let the people who run U Mass do such stupid, stupid things.

But what’s wonderful about these articles is that they make the connection between the new U Mass law school and the stadium fiasco.

UMass spending millions on an unprofitable and pricey venture is nothing new. The launch of the UMass law school a couple of years ago harkens [SOS alert: Harkens is awkward. Actually, it’s wrong. Harken is a verb meaning pay attention. Perhaps the writer had the idiom “harks back to” in mind – the law school puts one in mind of the football fiasco. I’d simply say demonstrates.] the same fiscal irresponsibility. With an overabundance of lawyer[s] graduating law school facing a historically anemic job market for attorneys, the idea was a waste of resources.

(The writer doesn’t even mention that the first president of the new law school was fired for credit card misuse.)

It’s important to grasp the synergy here, as these writers do. Taxachusetts indeed.


thanks Andre.

‘Vice President for Human Resources Scot Bemis wrote in an email to the [Brandeis University newspaper] that Massachusetts law forbids the University from asking job applicants about their criminal backgrounds. However, Bemis added that “if asked, a candidate is required to disclose a criminal conviction. The affect [sic] of a conviction depends on the position being filled and the nature of the conviction.” Ross was not asked about previous convictions.’

Why is Brandeis so inept? UD has followed several Brandeis stories over the years (the Rose Art Museum fiasco, the Donald Hindley fiasco… the president who threatened to sue a magazine because of an article he didn’t like) and they tend to be about administrative ineptitude. Here’s another one.

Because its journalism department had to make “an emergency hire” (Huh? If you can’t find a replacement at the last minute, you cancel the course rather than picking someone up off the sidewalk.), it picked up this chick – an alcoholic with a serious rap sheet. A friend of a friend of someone in the journalism department recommended her.

Scot Bemis up there in the headline explains it all very clearly for us. It’s illegal to ask applicants about their criminal backgrounds. However, if you ask applicants about their criminal convictions, they have to tell you about them…

Anyway, it doesn’t matter, no one asked this woman anything. But you could Google her, the way a Brandeis student journalist did.

Ross’ criminal background, according to her blog as well as multiple newspapers, includes numerous convictions for operating a vehicle under the influence, conspiracy to aid an escape from jail and conspiracy in attempting an escape from jail. On Feb. 28, the day after she was placed in protective custody in Waltham, she was arrested for operating under the influence and operating a vehicle after her license was revoked for drunk driving, according to the Barnstable Police Department.

The Barnstable Police Department confirmed that Ross has been convicted of OUI more than four times; under Massachusetts law, that many convictions requires a lifetime suspension of the involved individual’s driver’s license.

… Despite the fact that information about Ross’ arrests is publicly available through her blog, Google searches and public records, nobody at the University knew about her criminal history before hiring her, according to multiple University officials.

All this info got stirred up when Pippin Ross was found “intoxicated and unresponsive” in her car on campus. She’s been fired.

University of Massachusetts Law School: Just out of the gate…

… and already a winner.

A pointless new law school has, within minutes, lost its new president.

[A] University audit revealed $2,235 in [personal] expenses which should have been reimbursed.

The whole point of a new public law school, you recall, was that “the school won’t fall back on taxpayers.” Whose money did the president just spend on family travel? How much will buying out his contract cost? Hiring headhunters to find a replacement?

The absolutely pointless University of Massachusetts law school: Already a class act.


UD thanks Andre.

University Diaries has called for the shutting down of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s…

… physical campus. It is one of her Online Makeover schools, schools so laptopped, over-crowded, and adjunctified that they should admit the obvious and fold as non-virtual locations.

But there’s a special additional reason for U Mass Amherst to cease operations. It is extremely violent and dangerous. It’s been a markedly nasty campus for years (UD has followed the riots), but now, just three weeks into the new school year, things have gotten totally out of hand.

The first weekend of school, police tried to disperse a large party, at a house on Meadow Street, and the students responded by throwing bottles at the cops.

The following weekend, one man was beaten and two students were stabbed at a party …

This weekend, police made 168 arrests and broke up a party of 500 to 700 people …

How long do you keep pretending you’re a university, when what you are, mainly, is a strain on police resources?

Certain Schools – SUNY Albany, the University of Massachusetts…

… the University of Rhode Island – routinely admit people who riot at the drop of a hat. These schools are big sloppy drunks.

First out of the gate this academic year is the storied URI:

[S]everal students were injured while fighting with broken beer bottles by smashing [them] over one another’s head. Students milled about throughout Fraternity Circle, with bystanders coming to watch the fights break out.

The URI officer stationed at the event called for backup and all on-duty URI officers responded — a lieutenant, sergeant and six officers parked in the streets, but students refused to disperse.

URI officers began using pepper spray on the crowd to get students to disperse, and several students were attended to by EMS for related injuries.

Nancy Folbre, an economist at the University of Massachusetts…

delivers a wonderful commentary on tonight’s Marketplace program. Subject: Why doesn’t the American Economics Association have a code of ethics? Especially given all the undisclosed corporate conflicts of interest among economists who advise the government?

An excerpt:

Long before the current financial crisis burst upon us, Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer was taken to court to face accusations of advancing his own financial interests while receiving support from U.S. taxpayers to advise Russians on the best way to develop a stock market.

Both Professor Shleifer and Harvard University agreed to settle the case with no admission of wrongdoing, but paid hefty financial penalties. The case quickly disappeared from sight.

But what could undermine our professional prestige more than suspicion of unethical behavior?

You remember Shleifer. Did Harvard ever come down hard on him!

Harvard University, Shleifer and the Justice department reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million dollars worth of damages…

[Shleifer] remains on Harvard’s faculty. However, according to the Boston Globe, he has been stripped of his honorary title of Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics.

Ouch! He doesn’t get to be Mr Whipple anymore!

“The FBS transition has gone so poorly that members of the UMass faculty senate in April pushed for a vote on a nonbinding motion to urge the university to return to the FCS or drop football altogether. The vote failed.”


Read more about the Mass Morass here.

Longtime readers know that every Christmas Les UDs go to Cambridge, Massachusetts…

…to be with family. This year, rather than stay with family or at a hotel (Les UDs have a house in Cambridge, but they rent it out), we’ll stay at a friend’s house on Professors’ Row, a line of beautiful places steps from Harvard.

The term Professors’ Row, Boston Curbed writes, “is used now only with the bitterest of irony, given the costs of housing near Harvard and the pay of most Harvard faculty.” Which is to say that even, for instance, a $400,000 a year salary probably isn’t enough. You have to be edging up toward hedge fund territory.

No wonder Sheriff Ben Edelman sets his consulting fee so high.

UD will of course blog from these privileged precincts. She has been stomping around Harvard for decades (ever since she and Mr UD, a Harvard professor’s son, became an item) and she has blogged, a bit, about her impressions of Cambridge and its university people. She will now do so again.

“We allege the former president of this university blatantly misused public funds that were nothing but weeklong vacations with family and friends.”

To tell you the truth, UD‘s gotten pretty tired of Evan Dobelle, the man out to prove that even if you’ve got a long public record of misuse and maybe outright theft of funds, there’s always another sucker university out there to crown you president.

Evan Dobelle is the “Catherine” of the twenty-first century American university… Catherine being one of the many aliases of Theresa Russell’s Black Widow (“She mates and she kills.”). Catherine kept blatantly marrying rich men and almost instantly after that killing them, but no one ever seemed to notice, and new men just kept on marrying her. Cuz she was pretty and all.

In the case of serial president Dobelle, there wasn’t any Debra Winger around to scream at all the stupid male FBI agents that there’s a pattern here!… One after another school fell for his sweet talk and failed to do the sort of background check that might have uncovered his penchant for disemboweling universities…

So now the Massachusetts Attorney General is going to try to get some of the state’s money back from Dobelle-Trobelle Dobelle…

The AG’s lawsuit against Dobelle seeks damages, civil penalties, costs and attorney’s fees associated with the AG’s ongoing investigation, and the costs of the OIG’s investigation. The AG’s Office will continue to review the OIG’s recent detailed report. Today’s lawsuit does not foreclose the potential for additional action.

UD is tired of Dobelle because he seems to UD what she would call a mild psychopath and is therefore boring. UD and Mr UD have a longstanding endless argument about this. Mr UD says psychopaths are fascinating and UD says only movie psychopaths are interesting because the scriptwriter typically gives them bold slashing ambition and eloquent self-awareness (Catherine, Hannibal the Cannibal, Dr. Robert Elliott), whereas in real life most of them turn out to be – at one end – inarticulately compulsive anti-social nasty petty gameplayers (this seems to UD Dobelle’s type), and at the other end raving dangerous lunatics. Why, UD always asks when they enter this well-worn terrain, should UD waste a moment of time with either type? Except to learn about how to protect herself from them?

Anyway. UD wishes the AG well in her effort to recover some money from the guy. The problem is, he’ll keep playing legal games (he’s counter-suing his most recent ATM) until it’s not worth the state’s while.


UD thanks James.

“A few hundred alumni have formed Harvard Alumni for Social Action, to try to channel 25th-reunion giving to destitute universities in Africa. In three years, we’ve raised $425,000 — a lot for the University of Dar es Salaam but hardly a match for our annual class ‘gift.’ And evidently not enough to win the respect of President Faust, who has begged off meeting the group. Harvard clearly doesn’t like any effort that might divert a dollar away from its Cambridge coffers.”

That was back in 2008, and you can measure how far this effort’s gotten by noting that you’ve never heard of this group but you are starting your morning by reading headlines all over America about the latest hedgie who can’t think of anything to do with $150 million other than feed it to “a $40 billion tax-free hedge fund with a very large marketing and PR arm called Harvard University that has the job of raising the investment capital and protecting the fund’s preferential tax treatment.”

Randy Cohen, the New York Times ethicist, patiently and earnestly lays out here why you should not give to massively over-endowed, massively stingy Harvard. Matthew Yglesias has been on a don’t give campaign for years. Brad DeLong, in a devastating comparison of Harvard and the University of California system, questions “the judgment of those who have tried to satisfy their charitable impulses by giving $15B to my alma mater over the past two generations.”

Gawker gawks. Jordan Weissmann titles a recent piece
Is Harvard So Rich That It Should Literally Be Illegal?

Robert Reich writes:

I see why a contribution to, say, the Salvation Army should be eligible for a charitable deduction. It helps the poor. But why, exactly, should a contribution to the already extraordinarily wealthy Guggenheim Museum or to Harvard University (which already has an endowment of more than $30 billion)?

Even the major news outlets busy panting about the latest hedgie’s hundreds of millions dedicated in significant part to business buildings with his name on them pause to wonder for a sentence or two…

With an endowment of more than $32 billion, the famed Cambridge, Massachusetts, school isn’t hurting for money and has been ramping up its financial aid in recent years.


See, here’s what worries ol’ UD. With the wise words of Tom Perkins about an imminent American Kristallnacht still ringing in her ears, she asks: What will be our Bastille? We already know when it’s likely to occur: July 14, 2014. But where will the storming begin? What will be the epicenter of this violent populist revolt?

Maybe here.


Update: Yglesias weighs in.

[W]hen it comes to these fancy universities the official endowment figures are a drastic understatement of the real wealth of the university. Harvard’s real-estate assets are mind-bogglingly valuable, for example, but not part of the endowment.

There are many absurd, shambling, deluded university football programs in the United States.

Programs that bleed money schools could use to educate their students; programs that feature games in huge expensive stadiums full of nobody in the stands; programs that have brought academic shame, ridicule, and corruption to their universities; programs that…

You know the drill.

Among several such freak shows in this country, some stand out as truly pathological in their drive to debase themselves. One of these is the University of Massachusetts, haunt of hopeless teams, gaping stadiums, and marauding students.

Now most professors, as I’ve noted before, cultivate a studied indifference toward the loud non-stop foulness big-time sports brings to their campus; but at places like U Mass things have a tendency to get so repulsive that eventually, for a few professors, repression fails. Like take for instance Max Page (here’s his cool website). Page is a real misfit at U Mass – a seriously educated, reflective, activist intellectual. He’ll surely leave the campus soon. But meanwhile he is making one hell of a fuss about the sports program there. He co-chaired a faculty committee on football, and made a little speech about the game to his colleagues.

Page … said “There are far, far better uses for these millions of dollars.”

He went on to describe the current state of UMass football as a “failure of epic proportions” …

“I want to have everyone be aware about promises about the future costs, given that none of the promises have been realized, in terms of the costs,” Page said. “Attendance is far below what was promised. The revenues are much lower than expected. The team has not performed well, and the coach, some have argued, has behaved even worse. And the move to Gillette (Stadium) – the ace in the hole of this effort – has been a resounding disappointment, to say the least.

“How much of our precious resources and our tax dollars and our student tuition dollars should we waste on the enterprise?” he continued. “Is it $10 million? Is it $20 million? It’s it $50 million? You should ask yourself ‘What is the point at which you say enough is enough?'”

Well, let’s see. What has, say, another big public university, Penn State, had to pay out lately because of its football program? There’s a running tally. UD has been following it. The latest reports have put it at $171 million.… But no, that’s not fair. That’s just the scandal. The scandal has cost that much so far. The football program’s a whole other thing.

I’m sure U Mass football will never generate any scandals. The only, uh, outside cost U Mass football consistently produces is post-riot clean-up bills.

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