Maybe Next Year, Amy Gutmann Can Dress Up As a Non-PR Disaster

Maybe Next Year, Amy Gutmann Can Dress Up As a Non-PR Disaster 

Halloween is a fabulous opportunity to make poor decisions. Every year, same story: You start off doing something ironic — dye your hair, dance to Wham!, get a little too carried away with your Mark Foley costume. Innocent fun. Then you look at the photos the next day and wince at how terrifyingly sincere it all looks.

Well, the unforgiving morning-after eye of Facebook has claimed its latest victim: Penn President Amy Guttman. We’re sure it felt hilariously tongue-in-cheek to pose with a student dressed as a suicide bomber at her Halloween party. Apparently these guys didn’t get the joke. Li’l Bo Peep Gutmann is a front-runner to be the next president of Harvard, and this is hardly the publicity she needs.

P.S. To be fair, “too soon” costumes were all the rage this year: at one Ivy party in D.C. last week, two girls showed up dressed as Darfurian refugees, alongside a dude with a bandana and scimitar calling himself a Janjaweed militiaman. They saw us wearing a blazer and asked us to be their U.N. negotiator.

P.P.S. We were scared to write about Saad Saadi ’06, the student in the photo, when we saw his creepy webpage. Then we learned he’s the one who started this Facebook group, so how tough can he be? (Saadi posted an apology to anyone who was offended by the costume, says the web site that found the pic; the text is after the jump.)

UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: Eric Obenzinger, the Daily Pennsylvanian‘s crack opinion page editor, has an interview with Saadi here.

Saadi’s apology:

My friend, Jason, and I express our condolences and sympathy to all affected by our costumes. We wish to make it clear that we do not support terrorism, violence, or anything that is against society. There is no agenda or statement associated with our behavior shown in these pictures. The costumes are meant to portray scary characters much like many other costumes on Halloween. Additionally, we strive for all societies to instill healthy and non-violent values.

  • Gary

    Chill the heck out it was just a Halloween costume. You’re all so uptight about this non-issue. Where’s your sense of humor. And lay off Amy. I don’t see any Harvard President throwing sick Halloween parties for 10,000 kids.

  • Gary

    Chill the heck out it was just a Halloween costume. You’re all so uptight about this non-issue. Where’s your sense of humor. And lay off Amy. I don’t see any Harvard President throwing sick Halloween parties for 10,000 kids.

  • CH

    You must not have anything better to report. The intolerant really dont have a sense of humour.

  • CH

    You must not have anything better to report. The intolerant really dont have a sense of humour.

  • Biff d Rigueur

    Diversity. Admit all sorts of wogs to the university to study science or engineering. Not at all unexpected. Actually, can’t expect the hopelessly misguided admissions committee to do its homework. Homeland Security should boot this mofo’s ass toute suite.

    BdR

  • Biff d Rigueur

    Diversity. Admit all sorts of wogs to the university to study science or engineering. Not at all unexpected. Actually, can’t expect the hopelessly misguided admissions committee to do its homework. Homeland Security should boot this mofo’s ass toute suite.

    BdR

  • Triumph

    It goes to show women should not be presidents of major universities.

    I kid, I kid.

    She is a great president.

    For me to poop on!

  • Triumph

    It goes to show women should not be presidents of major universities.

    I kid, I kid.

    She is a great president.

    For me to poop on!

  • Brown Kid

    I dont understand what the hell is wrong with this costume.

  • Brown Kid

    I dont understand what the hell is wrong with this costume.

  • amused Penn kid

    Well, this will die down soon if it hasn’t already. Aleksey is 4ever.

  • amused Penn kid

    Well, this will die down soon if it hasn’t already. Aleksey is 4ever.

  • FF

    This ‘non-issue’ just made DrudgeReport.

  • FF

    This ‘non-issue’ just made DrudgeReport.

  • 09yalie

    not to mention the front page of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer

  • 09yalie

    not to mention the front page of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Stuck in Philthy

    The costume is funny. If anything, people should be offended by the kid who showed up to Gutmann’s party dressed as the ex-Wharton professor, Scott Ward, replete with a little boy doll attached to his crotch. Which, by the way, was also funny.

  • Stuck in Philthy

    The costume is funny. If anything, people should be offended by the kid who showed up to Gutmann’s party dressed as the ex-Wharton professor, Scott Ward, replete with a little boy doll attached to his crotch. Which, by the way, was also funny.

  • Andrew Mener

    As a senior Political Science major, avid Israel advocate, and one of the leaders in the Jewish community at the University of Pennsylvania, I would like to add some context to the events that took place on Halloween. I was offended by the pictures as were many of my friends. There is no question that the student who dressed up as a suicide bomber on Halloween exercised bad judgment. Although he has issued a formal apology, it is true that we will never know for certain his intent.

    What we do know for certain, however, is that the University of Pennsylvania is a warm and welcoming place for Jewish and pro-Israel students. That environment is created largely by the policies of the University administration. Pro-Israel students over my four years at Penn have felt exceedingly comfortable expressing their Zionist beliefs. We walk through campus proudly wearing our pro-Israel T-shirts, celebrate Israel Day on College Green, and dance Torahs around campus on Simchat Torah without the slightest fear of anti-Semitism or anti-Israel rhetoric.

    Over my Penn career I have come to know President Gutmann well. We sat together on the University Council and even sung Chanukkah songs together as we lit the menorah in the Penn Hillel foyer. President Gutmann is proud of her Jewish heritage and a supporter of the pro-Israel community on campus. As she made clear in her written statements, she “abhor(s) terrorism, suicide bombers, and everything they do.” President Gutmann personally called me as well as other student leaders today, and it is clear from the conversations that she firmly believes what she wrote in her statement.

    Continuing to sensationalize the Halloween events does not serve a productive purpose. I as a Jewish student and pro-Israel advocate am eager to return to pro-active Israel advocacy, leadership development, and supporting Jewish exploration. I encourage the greater community to join me in these efforts.

    Andrew Mener
    University of Pennsylvania
    Class of 2007

  • Andrew Mener

    As a senior Political Science major, avid Israel advocate, and one of the leaders in the Jewish community at the University of Pennsylvania, I would like to add some context to the events that took place on Halloween. I was offended by the pictures as were many of my friends. There is no question that the student who dressed up as a suicide bomber on Halloween exercised bad judgment. Although he has issued a formal apology, it is true that we will never know for certain his intent.

    What we do know for certain, however, is that the University of Pennsylvania is a warm and welcoming place for Jewish and pro-Israel students. That environment is created largely by the policies of the University administration. Pro-Israel students over my four years at Penn have felt exceedingly comfortable expressing their Zionist beliefs. We walk through campus proudly wearing our pro-Israel T-shirts, celebrate Israel Day on College Green, and dance Torahs around campus on Simchat Torah without the slightest fear of anti-Semitism or anti-Israel rhetoric.

    Over my Penn career I have come to know President Gutmann well. We sat together on the University Council and even sung Chanukkah songs together as we lit the menorah in the Penn Hillel foyer. President Gutmann is proud of her Jewish heritage and a supporter of the pro-Israel community on campus. As she made clear in her written statements, she “abhor(s) terrorism, suicide bombers, and everything they do.” President Gutmann personally called me as well as other student leaders today, and it is clear from the conversations that she firmly believes what she wrote in her statement.

    Continuing to sensationalize the Halloween events does not serve a productive purpose. I as a Jewish student and pro-Israel advocate am eager to return to pro-active Israel advocacy, leadership development, and supporting Jewish exploration. I encourage the greater community to join me in these efforts.

    Andrew Mener
    University of Pennsylvania
    Class of 2007

  • Andrew Mener has the ghey

    dude, you are such a toolshed. get laid and get a life.

  • Andrew Mener has the ghey

    dude, you are such a toolshed. get laid and get a life.

  • Matthew

    This is very typical of so called “Jewish professors”. They claim to be Jewish yet they say and do things that are offensive and wrong. Clearly her saying she is Jewish is just to quiet the people and fake interest towards her Jewish students/audience.

    My also “Jewish professor” with extreme liberal views recomended Amy Gutmann as a choice for reading material. Not a suprise.

    Stuff like this is deplorable and if this stuff offended a blackp person she would be on her ass quicker than Trent Lott.

  • Matthew

    This is very typical of so called “Jewish professors”. They claim to be Jewish yet they say and do things that are offensive and wrong. Clearly her saying she is Jewish is just to quiet the people and fake interest towards her Jewish students/audience.

    My also “Jewish professor” with extreme liberal views recomended Amy Gutmann as a choice for reading material. Not a suprise.

    Stuff like this is deplorable and if this stuff offended a blackp person she would be on her ass quicker than Trent Lott.

  • Audi partem alteram

    I hate how “anti-Israel rhetoric” is made out to be something that is hateful and should be feared or deplored. Every day people protest something that the U.S. does, and that’s just fine. The university setting, especially in the Ivy League (are we still considering Penn the Ivy League?) should be a forum for different beliefs and thinking. If someone were preventing someone else from practicing Judaism, then that is not right. However, protesting Israel’s right to exist as a nation, especially while others promote its right to exist as a nation with t-shirts, is ok and I think should be invited. In a matter like this, which is political, in what ways could a Socratic approach to the issue not be helpful, if at the very least by merely encouraging dialogue?

  • Audi partem alteram

    I hate how “anti-Israel rhetoric” is made out to be something that is hateful and should be feared or deplored. Every day people protest something that the U.S. does, and that’s just fine. The university setting, especially in the Ivy League (are we still considering Penn the Ivy League?) should be a forum for different beliefs and thinking. If someone were preventing someone else from practicing Judaism, then that is not right. However, protesting Israel’s right to exist as a nation, especially while others promote its right to exist as a nation with t-shirts, is ok and I think should be invited. In a matter like this, which is political, in what ways could a Socratic approach to the issue not be helpful, if at the very least by merely encouraging dialogue?

  • insensitive bigot

    As a U.S. citizen, as most students in the Ivy League, including Penn, are, when I think of suicide bombers I think of attacks on U.S. embassies and New York, not Jews. Also, it was a Halloween party. I’m sure people dressed up as serial killers and (gasp!) Death, too. If someone dressed up as the Grim Reaper, would someone else write an article on how insensitive that is to humans, because most people know someone who has died? Get a sense of humor.

  • insensitive bigot

    As a U.S. citizen, as most students in the Ivy League, including Penn, are, when I think of suicide bombers I think of attacks on U.S. embassies and New York, not Jews. Also, it was a Halloween party. I’m sure people dressed up as serial killers and (gasp!) Death, too. If someone dressed up as the Grim Reaper, would someone else write an article on how insensitive that is to humans, because most people know someone who has died? Get a sense of humor.

  • Hyperbolic Reactions

    Seeking the termination of Guttman’s presidency is not only ridiculous, it is puerile. Granted that Guttman should have taken a good look at the student’s outfit, but all this hoop-la is unwarranted. We should stand with and support our president – besides, anyone who thinks that Guttman is incompetant either because of the poor hallowee pic choice or because she’s a Woman…needs to get some counseling ASAP. The only way you would believe that Guttman endorses terrorism is if you were dropped on your head when you were a child. GO GUTTMAN!!

  • Hyperbolic Reactions

    Seeking the termination of Guttman’s presidency is not only ridiculous, it is puerile. Granted that Guttman should have taken a good look at the student’s outfit, but all this hoop-la is unwarranted. We should stand with and support our president – besides, anyone who thinks that Guttman is incompetant either because of the poor hallowee pic choice or because she’s a Woman…needs to get some counseling ASAP. The only way you would believe that Guttman endorses terrorism is if you were dropped on your head when you were a child. GO GUTTMAN!!

  • Oh My!

    You can’t be too rich, too thin, and now, too photogenic!

  • Oh My!

    You can’t be too rich, too thin, and now, too photogenic!

  • Abe Bird

    As Not-a-US-citizen I’m shocked to see how low reached the level of the ME and Politics departments in some notorious univercities (Wacademia). Univercity’s platforms turned to be a polical and ideological pamplettes of Arab professors for the last 20 years. They don’t teach science but ProPalganda.

    Abe Bird
    abe_bird@yahoo.com

  • Abe Bird

    As Not-a-US-citizen I’m shocked to see how low reached the level of the ME and Politics departments in some notorious univercities (Wacademia). Univercity’s platforms turned to be a polical and ideological pamplettes of Arab professors for the last 20 years. They don’t teach science but ProPalganda.

    Abe Bird
    abe_bird@yahoo.com

  • sharif c

    please stop linking to anti-peace, chicken-hawk, imbeciles like the “democracy project”.

    i suspect they don’t get ALOT of jokes over there, what with them too busy reading “neoconservative.net”, “redstate.com” and “the evangelical outpost”.

  • sharif c

    please stop linking to anti-peace, chicken-hawk, imbeciles like the “democracy project”.

    i suspect they don’t get ALOT of jokes over there, what with them too busy reading “neoconservative.net”, “redstate.com” and “the evangelical outpost”.