…PLUS it comes with a fantastic photograph!
UD has been saying for years that the burgeoning business of business ethics courses is a joke (details here), and that universities should trash them and just scare their MBA students with guest lecturer/jailbirds — high-flying CEOs still in, or just out of, prison because of their clever lucrative business practices.
Just as football is inherently violent, so a good amount of this country’s way of doing business is inherently illegal, or so achingly close to illegal that… you know…
So one college course with some clueless pontificating non-multi-millionaire at the head of the room isn’t going to change that, kiddies. It’s only going to make it worse.
But a first-rate speaker drawn from the teeming ranks of our MBA internees – someone like Enron’s Andrew Fastow, who smiles and holds up his CFO of the Year trophy in one hand, and his prisoner identification card in the other – is fucking unbeatable. I ain’t saying every jailbound junior in the room is going to be scared straight. I especially make no promises about anyone enrolled at Wharton, a feeder school for the federal pen. What I am saying is that the simple souls on their way to this country’s hedge funds and insider trading units will be, er, unresponsive to discursive thought but hyperreactive to some guy who used to be fuck-you rich and is now fending off rapes in FCI Otisville. Fastow looks the part – graying temples, wry older but wiser face, slim wiry illfed post-prisoner body… And he’s got the gig down — props, pithy cautionary tales that speak right to the cynicism to which his audience clings…
In a rare public lecture, former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow held up his “CFO of the Year” award in one hand, and his federal prison ID card in the other.
“I got both of these for doing the exact same thing,” he said before a crowd of eager [University of New Mexico] business students.
Hear that? Hear that? EAGER. CROWD. Try getting that sort of turnout and enthusiasm for a UNM football game.
Plus Fastow’s funny.
“I think inviting me to talk about business ethics is a bit like inviting Kim Kardashian to talk about chastity,” he said.
Okay, the material’s pretty shitty. But a guy like that… with his personal history and his delivery.. the line’s gonna get a big laugh.
“I thought I was so smart; I thought I was a hero for bending the rules,” Fastow said. “It comes down to individual people making a decision — we always asked ‘is it allowed?’ not ‘is it the right thing to do?’ …
You can always find an attorney to get you the answer you want. You can always find an accountant to get you the answer you want,” Fastow said. “There’s only one gatekeeper — you.”
Unfortunately, you don’t have any sense of individuality; you’ve been trained from day one in your MBA course sequence to work in groups…
I mean, I don’t think, say, even one Fastow-or-better per semester can do much about a culture where people like insider trader extraordinaire Steve Cohen and big-time fraudster Zygi Wilf are university trustees (Wilf’s a trustee of a religious university!). I just think that if our universities are going to do anything about America’s corporate culture (it’s arguable that their MBA programs, at least, shouldn’t bother, because they hopelessly reflect that culture), they’d be much better off booking charismatic cons than pious professors.
When pondering Jonathan Burrows
The brow assumes multiple furrows.
Though a big millionaire
He still dodges the fare!
The man should consult some good neuros.
UD thanks Dirk.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, she has a series of rules that are clear to everyone. These include: 1) Only she is authorized to set the temperature in conference rooms; 2) Cabinet members all rise when she enters the room; 3) If food is served at a meeting, vice presidents clear her plate; and 4) She is always to be publicly introduced as “The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson.”
The Great and Powerful President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
She has now escaped.
[Elly Chen is an] “absolute high achiever” who had graduated from the University of [New South Wales] less than a month ago with a bachelor of commerce, actuarial science and finance.
She was a prefect in high school where she studied advanced English, Latin and physics and finished with a high ATAR of 99.25. “She is a lovely girl. She was both swimming and tennis captain at the school and now she’s an actuary,” [a friend] said.
Ms Chen, who is fluent in Cantonese as well as English, and also studied Japanese, spent the year as an environmental leader at the university’s Stationery Reuse Centre, where she organised “events to further promote environmental sustainability on campus”…
She’s the blond to the right
of… uh… what’s his name.
I found the picture here.
This is a very nicely written piece about university football, penned by a brave local English professor in Texas. It shows emotional restraint, and clever concision. John Crisp simply cites three adjacent articles in his local paper:
[O]n a single page in my local paper we find: A suicide by a young man who believed he was suffering from sports-related concussions. A quarterback so vital to the success of his team and its profit-making football program that he’s eager to risk his future mental health. And a university president excoriated for making a sound economic and ethical decision.
The first reference is to the concussion-wracked suicide, Kosta Karageorge, the second to the concussed but still playing Baylor quarterback, and the third to the University of Alabama Birmingham’s decision to shut down its unaffordable football program.
Only in his last line does Crisp come out with it:
One wonders if football has become important beyond all reason.
There was [Florida Atlantic University’s] $70 million football stadium, a facility so palatial that ESPN will showcase it during the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl this month. Then there was the sea of empty blue seats, a stark reminder that precious few fans care about FAU football — and that FAU’s build-it-and-they-will-come strategy hasn’t worked as hoped.
A sorority at the university where Mr UD teaches – the University of Maryland – boasts a number of … interesting … women of letters.
Last year, there was the “cunt-punt” dust-up.
This year, there’s the hearty Happy Birthday wishes on the “fun, alcohol-themed cake.”
Their football players keep getting killed.
In the same apartment complex.
Auburn freshman football player Jakell Mitchell was shot and killed early Sunday morning at an apartment complex near the Auburn University campus.
… The shooting … occurred at the same apartment complex Desmonte Leonard killed three men, including former Auburn players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips, at a party in the summer of 2012. He was convicted of capital murder, attempted murder and assault in October and will be sentenced Jan. 7.
[Ben] Edelman had little to gain here. He’s a very well-paid professor and consultant; $4 is not particularly significant to him. It certainly isn’t worth the time Edelman spent in trying to obtain it. Edelman’s time is extremely valuable, to the tune of at least $800/hr, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Spending any more than about two minutes on this refund makes this a losing proposition for Edelman. But he has made a career of examining predatory practices places like Facebook and in the airline industry. He probably believes sincerely that fraud in all forms should not be tolerated, and that as he goes about his life, he should use the full muscle of his education, experience, and privilege to set things right, so that other people are not taken advantage of.
A New Republic writer defends Harvard’s terror emailer, and in so doing provides a fascinating window onto postmodern American culture.
It would never occur to this writer that anyone demanding eight hundred dollars an hour – at least eight hundred dollars an hour – as a consultancy fee — over and above his Harvard salary — is pretty disgusting long before he begins intimidating local merchants who make him lose four dollars. Obscene levels of personal greed (“[W]e don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy.”) are incredibly socially destructive.
But no – we should admire this man because he is, writes the New Republic guy, “a roving pro bono consumer protection unit.”
What a generous soul! This selfless guardian of the just distribution of wealth sets aside email time to harass restaurants that overcharge him by a pittance. All Hail Edelman.
The Italianization of the American campus is an established fact, and things are getting more squalid by the day.
The Chronicle of Higher Ed gazes with undisguised disgust at the shit-strewn mess that some American universities and environs have become and asks…
Oh, I dunno.
I mean, lots of people ask…
Lots of people wonder – the alcohol-epidemiology program director up there in this post’s headline wonders – why the rights of sodden frats and cynical bar owners trump the rights of people who actually come to college to … well, to come to college.
But eventually things get so disgusting…
When applications at the most twisted, predatory schools start to tank (Dartmouth’s are down by fourteen percent) because so many people are disgusted, their leaders suddenly talk tough and confess that all this time they’ve been really grossed out by what Bucknell’s president labels the “self-degrading” behavior of their students… Suddenly they feel compelled to share that they’ve all been living a nonstop nightmarish performance of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and they want it to stop now…
UD used to think that one potently symbolic alcohol death, one wrenching hypothermic babe in the woods demise after a night of underage drinking, might rivet some attention to the Italianization… I mean, stories like Sandra Lommen’s at freezing Bemidji State University certainly haunt me… You would think that Lommen’s pitiable end (staggering into a frozen creek while trying to walk home at night after a party) would rile people up a bit…
Colleges in Wisconsin and Minnesota get quite a few of these particular student deaths – disoriented by drink they wander into the night, fall into creeks, drown or freeze… Things got so bad at Lacrosse Wisconsin area schools that a group of fraternity guys started a river-watch program…