December 16th, 2015
The View From Your Window…

… was a popular feature on
the late lamented Andrew
Sullivan site. Here’s the
view from UD‘s new office.


December 16th, 2015
Quotation of the Day.

“Of course there’s income inequality,” says John Griswold, executive director of the Commonfund Institute, the research arm of Commonfund, which manages college endowments. “To say that a small number of wealthier colleges should try to solve that is utter nonsense.”

UD loves the let-them-eat-cakery of this statement about American universities with endowments in the tens of billions of dollars. First there’s the languid of course. Of course some universities are richer than half of the world’s economies. Routine stuff. Totally unremarkable. Only an idiot would want to make something of the disparity among college endowments that these numbers represent.

And then there’s the even better, second part of Griswold’s statement, in which he violently disparages a claim that no one has made. No one says that Harvard should “solve” endowment inequality. What people say is that Harvard should stop hoarding so much of its money. What people say is that Harvard graduates should consider directing their donations to needier causes. What people say is that Harvard should give its students a serious break on tuition and other costs. What people say is that if Harvard doesn’t act more responsibly in regard to its unconscionable accumulated wealth, there should start to be tax implications.

But of course… utter nonsense! It’s the Lady Augusta Bracknell school of public utterance.

December 15th, 2015
University of Louisville Singalong


folks you’ve heard of scandalous schools
history is full of scandalous schools
but you ain’t heard nothing til
you’ve heard about louisville

it’s a place that’s crawling with thieves
has a board that trustees try to leave
till you’ve seen dorm rooms rockin’ with whores
you ain’t even darkened their doors

they call the campus louisville u
what a fucked up campus can do!
it’s the lowest graduatingest, med school on probationest
school the world ever knew

the ed school dean’s in the pen
med’care fraud hits again
pitino petrino mcgee
sexy sexy whooooeeeeee!

they keep their audits on the down low
about their bank accounts nobody knows
secret foundations funnel the cash
the u of lou has made itself absolute hash

lots of low-lifes among their teams’ lads
and even the president’s paid to be bad
so here’s my warning to you
keep away from louisville u

December 15th, 2015
Much of the Israeli Higher Education Establishment…

… has just been sued by Irving Picard – the guy in charge of returning swindled money to Bernie Madoff victims – for very large sums of said money.

Here’s the list:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ($36 million)
Ben Gurion University of the Negev ($18 million)
Weizmann Institute ($13 million)
Bar Ilan University ($10 million)
Tel Aviv University ($6.5 million)
Technion Israel Institute of Technology

The universities’ response is, as you might expect, we didn’t know, we already spent it, fuck off.

But bulldog Picard, who has, since 2008, clawed back impressive amounts of Madoff’s billions, can be expected to sue hard, citing “unjust enrichment” laws (and after all, don’t most Israelis – most people – consider it axiomatic that art stolen during the Holocaust, for instance, has to be returned even if a particular owner is ignorant of the original theft? — “Holocaust-looted art bears a ‘mark of Cain’ which, under international law, infects all transactions relating to it, including transfers to third parties.”).

Picard also points out that the now-defunct charitable group that gave the Madoff money to these institutions (Picard is also suing this group) had financial as well as charitable motives:

Picard’s complaint in the court claims that the Horowitz Association did not transfer these huge sums only as a donation to encourage research in Israel; it chose to act as an investor with economic interests, and made receiving the money contingent on the provision of proceeds through royalties.

Picard notes that several other institutional beneficiaries of Madoff – Hadassah, for instance – immediately returned their Madoff money on learning that they harbored it.

By refusing to take the moral and respectable path, the [universities] associate themselves with the thief – Madoff – and not the victims.

Will the universities decide to settle some amount or other on the victims, in order to make this embarrassing lawsuit go away?

December 12th, 2015
25% of the job at full salary.

Taub still draws a $300,000 salary but the cutbacks mean he’s “been fired from 75%” of his job, he says in an affidavit.

A Columbia University professor – Sheldon Silver’s BFF – keeps his job.

December 12th, 2015
Bump and run, stay home, walkaway, milk the clock, chip shot.

University coaches have now determined the precise series of plays that will put them in good football position. You start conventionally, coaching your scholar/athletes in aggression and speed.

Gradually, though, you start phoning it in, creating panic among the trustees as the team loses a game here and a game there.

When it becomes clear that the team might not make some playoff, the trustees begin pissing their pants. Despite the fact that they owe you millions and millions on your contract, they tell you to walk away.

Bloodied but unbowed, “proud of all we did here,” you graciously withdraw.

The endgame’s the most fun of all. Your staff of financial advisers and attorneys now milks the clock on your contract, threatening lawsuits, threatening to disclose things about the program that would cost it more than Jerry Sandusky’s Penn State if they were known, threatening, threatening, threatening. So the university trustees, who were figuring maybe they could (with their own advisory team) stiff you here and there on a payout/settlement and halt the bankrupting of the school, totally cave and give you a huge fortune.

You take all the money (if this series of plays has been performed at a very high level, you’re trailing tens of millions of additional dollars from previous firings) and spend the rest of your life working on your chip shot.


Let’s have no resentment of this free market course of affairs. You’re a student bartending in a bad neighborhood late at night to pay your tuition, and taking an overload of courses during the day to graduate faster and more cheaply, and it turns out that one of the main things your grueling and dangerous labor pays for is a deadbeat coach. But your university is run by rational people who have the best interests of people like you in mind!

Changing coaches has minimal, if any, impact on team success. Among the worst teams …those that changed coaches won about the same amount over five years as those that didn’t. For mediocre teams, those that changed coaches actually fared worse.

December 11th, 2015
“[M]any lower-ranked institutions are paying millions to their president each year. Yeshiva University (164) president Richard Joel earned $2.5 million.”

A president who drives your university into junk status and gives Bernard Madoff an honorary degree doesn’t come cheap.

December 11th, 2015
A New Yorker Account of a Friend’s Archive…

to which UD was able to contribute.

Details here.

And her remembrance of Eve’s brother.

UD thanks Stephen.

December 8th, 2015


(So far, only one source – International Business Times – is printing the photograph. I assume it’s authentic, but that could change.)

December 8th, 2015
Fight Song, University of Southern California

Beautiful front porch, wake unto me,
Look how you’ve beautified old USC.
Major corruption since 2010
And now a lawsuit from Sarkisian.

Beautiful front porch, millions to pay
To get Sarkisian out of the way.
Salary, bonus, settlement too
Then the same story with somebody new.

Beautiful front porch, how you do shine!
Making me proud of this great school of mine.
Millions for coaches, nothing for me
Beautiful front porch of old USC.

December 8th, 2015
Ira Rennert, the genius behind Yeshiva University’s Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute…

… reveals the key to a successful business career: Spend your entire life in courtrooms. You’ll loot your businesses, of course; that’s how you make big money. And individuals, workers, the government, what have you, will sue you. They will sue you again and again.

And they will win, because after all you do seem to loot or defraud or whatever your businesses. And you’ll have to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and compensation.

But do not worry, because

1. you’ve got plenty of money left over after you pay out the judgements; and
2. you don’t give a shit about bad publicity.

That’s it, kiddies! The business philosophy of your benefactor. Inspirational.

December 7th, 2015
Why is this man…


December 5th, 2015
“That appalling apathy about scholarship means we must leverage the public’s affection for football to save academics.”

But why save academics? When you live in an appallingly apathetic state, a state actively hostile to the mind, why have public universities? America is a big rich country crawling with universities – I’m pretty sure almost everyone in Louisiana has the means to get in a car and drive to a neighboring state. Almost everyone in Nevada or Montana or New Mexico can do the same. Designate certain states university-free zones and have states near them extend in-state tuition arrangements to people from those states who want to attend a university.


No, no, UD isn’t proposing doing away with the football teams in the no-go states. Keep the teams, and keep “university” in their names. Since football is the only university thing state residents like, maintain state subsidies for it. No one will complain, especially since whatever state funds designated for universities still exist could now in their entirety be given over to the football team.


If you fail to adopt this approach, you risk the circularity exhibited in this amusing Times-Picayune opinion piece, which calls for Louisiana State University football players to threaten a strike in order to save the university as an academic institution.

If star players could be persuaded to demand greater funding for our school, the public would listen and respond. Better yet, if … the football team [would] threaten a strike until the governor and legislators fully fund the university, we could achieve transformational change.

After all:

Many fans don’t care about the quality of LSU’s academic programs. They don’t care if the school cannot attract and retain top professors. They don’t care that many young people are leaving Louisiana for schools in other states because of uncertainty about our higher education system.

What people do care about – and deeply – is college football. In fact, many people support LSU’s academic mission only because they know that hiring a few hundred professors and instructors is the price they must pay to field a football team. As you and I know, many fans regard our institution as a sports enterprise with History and English departments on the side.

Which begs a question. Why be compelled to order with your meal sides you don’t like? I’ll have a football team with… Do I have to order sides? Yes, you must order two sides. Let’s see… English… History… Do you have any non-academic sides? No. Okay… Give me English and History but just a little bit …

Time to change Louisiana’s menu to cheeseburger cheeseburger cheeseburger.

December 4th, 2015
Lighten up, man!

[T]here is nothing funny about playing [University of Massachusetts] home games in sprawling but nearly vacant Gillette Stadium …

Au contraire, the situation at U Mass, with its new law school (LOLOLOLOL) and way gussied up football program and ongoing tradition of student rioting, etc., etc., is hilarious.

Those who criticized the [football program’s] upgrade were ridiculed in 2011 as small-minded, anti-football or lacking in school spirit. Nearly five years later, everything they warned about has come true: low attendance, a nomadic existence that includes games at a cavernous stadium too distant for students to attend, spiraling costs…

A university composed of nomads wandering to cavernous stadiums. That’s funny.

As another uncertain offseason begins … the questions about the expanded, much more expensive UMass football program continue to be less about where they should play FBS football, but why.

Why? Let me help you with that one. I quote an earlier University Diaries post:

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?

You wouldn’t want the mobs going after the (shudder) professors, would you? Who’d teach the courses?

December 2nd, 2015
More Thrashing for Thrasher

FSU’s president John Thrasher looks forward to his, uh, troubled school getting far more publicity than it already has: A film about it – The Hunting Ground – has made the shortlist for the best documentary feature Oscar.

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