The Blog Days of Summer: Introducing your June Guest Editors

Ladies and gents: Mix the mojitos, break out the tanning oil, and commandeer your Daddy’s schooner. IvyGate Summer Session is finally upon us. Even as we flee our beloved campuses for sunnier shores, the news and gossip train chugs on. The days are getting longer and the nights shorter, but equally debauchery-filled. Even while saving whales in Antigua, starving children in Senegal, and derivatives on Wall Street, Ivy Leaguers still find the time to act ridiculously. Ivy absurdity doesn’t take a vacation, and neither do we. So as you slave away at your unpaid internship, rack up mandatory Science credits, get wasted at your BS “language study” abroad, enjoy a free “cultural” beach vacay on your school’s travel grants, and suck up to your parents for spending money, you can still count on IvyGate for perennial distraction/chuckles.

But of course, fresh air calls for fresh blood, and so, in the time-honored guest editor tradition, IvyGate’s shaking up its editorial leadership for the summer, giving some new folks a chance to test their muckraking mettle. Your irresponsible EICs, Alex Klein and Dan D’Addario, are taking a break–hopefully to produce stories of wrongdoing of their own for others to write about. Freed from the day-to-day slog of the site’s trenches, we’ll be providing guidance and checking out applications for July’s guest editor positions (if you’ve emailed us already: don’t worry, we’re compiling the list and getting back to you all with application info ASAP).

Stepping into the breach for the month of June are two phenomenally talented writers and editors, both IvyGate contributors, who we think will rock your Argyle socks. They’ll be taking the good and leaving the bad with a very short learning curve, pushing out 5-10 posts a week and fielding your tips, love-songs, and hate-rants.

So give a warm welcome to your June guest editors, the dastardly duo of Miranda Lewis — also Editor-in-Chief of Yale’s Bullblog — and Gabe DeLeon — actor, humorist, man-about-town. Look forward to their introductory post tomorrow, and to phenomenal stuff from these time-tested satirists and blogstars in the weeks to come.

Creative Dartmouth Fratboys Snort Coke off of Their Brothers’ Photographed Faces, Urinate on Their Socks, Destroy Their Tables; Police Confused

As generations of uptown yuppies, downtown hipsters, Austrian supermodels, and Ivy society types have discovered, cocaine is one versatile and fashionable narcotic. Stylish as it is already, snorting it through rolled-up Ben Franklins makes it even classier. Or off of a mirror: super 80s chic. You can slice it and dice it every which way: really, it’s an outlet for creativity.

So, how to amp up the cool-quotient of your high, while adding that special Ivy League flavor? Well, turns out the DartCoke bros and an unknown number of their SAE cohorts have found a way: snorting the drug off of the grinning visages of their fellow brothers, immortalized on alumni photo composites. Combine that with Jim Beam shots, unrequited lust, post-Tabard fun, and the venerable SAE “Pool Room” (all chronicled in Sarah Koo’s arrest affidavit, great bedtime reading) and you’ve got real Hunter S. Thompson fodder. And apparently, past partakers in the common-room antics that got the “SAE 3″ — Andrew Lohse ’12, Brian Shea ’10 (for snorting) and Clark Warthen ’10 (for witness tampering) — pinned with felony charges and kicked out of SAE have left traces all over their frat, confounding the cops.

The basic story: eyewitnesses told police that they had seen some of the foolhardy fratboys snorting off of composites– picture frames with head-shots of every brother in a certain year, usually festooning frat walls and trophy closets. The dutiful police went in to test the pictures for cocaine residue, CSI-HPo style.

But here’s the rub: According to an insider source, the crusading popo picked up the wrong composite for testing, one that Shea and Lohse had never used. The guys thought they were in the clear, and probably headed off to go dance to house music and clench their jaws. One problem though: the other composite also had cocaine residue on it, allowing the cops to bust the unlucky trio. Catch 22, we guess. They can’t really say, “no, test the other one!”, can they?

You could definitely see headshot-snorting as a profound gesture of brotherhood, though one sort of nullified by the fact that it was a fellow brother, Phil Aubart, that called security on the drug trio. Seems as if the frat has a double problem: a snake in the grass and coke in the composites. A bro civil war is afoot! That said, does Aubart really deserve the destruction of his pet brotherhood project, an apparently-cool table, as well as people peeing on his socks?

“[Aubart] cared a lot about that table.”

Never come between a boy and his furniture. According to Phil, quoted Warthen’s arrest affidavit, it gets worse, with plans for

“pissing on all my stuff”

and statements like

“a number of guys want to kill you.”

Witness-tamperer Warthen, former Vice President of SAE, showed off some impressive, Solomon-like leadership by issuing an open fratwa against Phil. (For reference, here he is in The Dartmouth defending the display of the Confederate flag and chastising an offended black woman for her ignorance.) He had this to say about Benedict Aubart, in an angry email to his pals, planning vengeance:

guys,

can you seriuously [sic] smash-bros the shit out of phil’s table? it would really mean a lot to Brian, and would be a great signal to Phil that it’s not just a small contingent of people in the house that despise him, it’s truly a widespread sentiment that he’s the most abhorrent thing ever happen to this house and this campus.

And Smash Bros they did (Falcon Punch; none of that lame-ass Kirby nonsense). The table was shattered and immolated, post haste. Andrew Lohse just spit on Phil, while others poured beer on his door and put their bladders to work on his clothes. “They stand together“: fraternity and camaraderie, obviously bonds everlasting. At the very least, the sad, gonzo story of shattered brotherly love and squandered opportunities has left us with this tidbit, probably the best thing ever written in a Hanover Police arrest warrant:

I asked Mr. Shea about his relationship with Bernadette Reyes [accused snitch]. He stated that she is a girl that wants to “hook up” with him. He denied that he has any interest in her and attributed the attraction to being primarily one way. I told him that I had some further work to do with Bernadette Reyes and that I did not want him to communicate with her until it was completed. He agreed not to be in contact with Miss Reyes.

And of course, making the rounds from an anonymous source:

I asked an SAE what happened. He said, “I’d love to Phil you in, but can’t Shea anything other than doing drugs is not Warth it because you could Lohse everything you’ve worked for. I told him that’s Koo but it will be Hart not to Reyes the question later.”

We Leave You This Memorial Day Wisdom With the Sad Wisdom That Some Schools Get Lisa Kudrow to Speak at Graduation

Check out Jezebel’s mash-up of college graduation speeches, which makes a single unitary piece of rhetoric out of Michelle Obama, Glenn Beck (who sobs while talking about the Bible), and The Comeback legend Lisa Kudrow. It’s a nice reminder that literally nothing a speaker can say, from grasps at contemporary resonance to “wisdom” and advice will surprise his or her audience, ever!

Famous People Sleep, Just as Worthless Clumps of Carbon Like You or I Do

The New York Times‘s City Room blog takes a look at famous dorm-room denizens at “metropolitan colleges” (which include Princeton and Yale but, for whatever snobbish reason of snobbery, not Columbia). Oh man, you guys, did you know that Princeton had famous people? I mean, not Emma Watson famous — but if you get lucky, you might smoke pot out of the same dorm-room windows as did Adlai Stevenson!

The four freshmen living in Stevenson’s old digs have it festooned in Mardi Gras beads and posters for “The Notebook” and “Death Cab for Cutie.” They said they did not know who Stevenson was but were impressed when told he ran for president in 1952 and 1956.

“I just love how at Princeton, there’s just famous people in every place,’’ said Sabina Hlavaty of Rockville, Md.

“I wonder if one of us will be famous one day,’’ Marjie Lam, her roommate from Stow, Mass., wondered aloud.

Don’t be silly, girls, you’re famous now. For being Princeton students who don’t know one of the major twentieth-century political figures, but still! The quotes from students trend along the lines of “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” Says a student living in Elena Kagan’s old digs:

“I had no idea that I was in any way connected,” said David Mendelsohn, a sophomore from Rockville Centre, N.Y.

But now you know, and it feels so symbolic, right? Right? We can reduce this article to one sentence, the substance of which we already knew: journalistic institutions are impressed by H-Y-P and celebrities. Ah, the gaping maw of the internet. Will no amount of Princeton gossip sate thee?

Princeton Reunions are Bacchanalian Hellscapes, Says GQ Writer

I guess there’s a reason Michelle Obama is skipping out on her Princeton reunion this year: Troy Patterson reports in GQ from the front lines of last year’s festivities. Hey, remember reading I am Charlotte Simmons? Well, you will in a second!

Who fuckin’ tonight? Who fuckin’ tonight? Who fuckin’ tonight? An older guy—identifiable by the pattern of his orangeand-black blazer as an ’84—wiggled his head to the groove, bald spot mirroring red light. A girl in a white miniskirt rocked out by back-kicking with a bandaged ankle while swinging on crutches. Behind the cage for the sound engineer’s booth, a kid pissed in a cup, tucked himself in, popped his collar, and briefly humped the nearest girl.

This is a reporting coup, or something — Patterson tells a heartbreaking tale of staggering drunkenness, with ambulances rolling up and Shirley Tilghmann in attendance. The story ends with a young man asking our author the time — just after 5am! — and declaring it’s “time to get the party started.” Perhaps all these recent college grads are trying a little too hard to recreate the college experience. Then again, Patterson — Princeton ’96! — was out at 5am too, if only for reporting purposes. Michelle Obama aside, I guess we all have our vices!

Blogger Lambastes Brown U. African-American Groups

“Ms. Education” has taken to her blog to accuse Brown campus black organizations of failing their constituencies due to the influence of Greek life. To take a small part of her screed:

The brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, incorporated arrive for their 7:00PM probate around 7:40PM. As their new pledges (not that they pledge, right?) show off their work, their older brothers pass around a handle of Ron Diaz (Maybe an unofficial symbol I don’t know about?), exclaiming “niggah” this… “niggah” that, on an Ivy League campus, with white students constantly observing and judging black culture as it is (At least they used the “-ah” version instead of “er”. Close call). As they demand respect from those that came to watch, they greet a Latina sorority, who proceeds to do their call. The rolling R, in honor of their language. Two members of the fraternity, laugh, out loud, and one exclaims… “We like that tongue work, baby”. [sic]

The screed alleges that “almost every… single… black group was at risk of failure” [ellipses original] due to dwindling enrollments and a general climate of apathy — and that they may not be worth saving, due to the disrespect and misogyny evinced in the above example.

So far, the blog post has 37 comments, including the angry:

You sound like an interest who just couldn’t make it.

Please don’t go crazy and lash out at organizations you know nothing about because other people were able to attain a goal that you couldn’t.

…the reasoned:

I am not sure how you can claim that Black Greeks have caused the “failure” of Brown’s black organizations…for example, you state that the African Sun, the Brotherhood, the League, etc. have all failed. Out of the list, I would state that only the League can truly be stated as having failed…and this is only due to a lack of interest and not due to Black greek organizations. The African Sun, has not failed. In fact, they produced a wonderful publication this year. Please do not forget that the African Sun was just revived four years ago (after a period of stagnation that had nothing to do with black greek organizations, but once again, due to a lack of student interest).

…and the nonchalant — or at least the proving-her-point:

Wait…. Brown has Black Greek Organizations? Can we ad to the list of flaws bad advertising then? ‘Cause I was looking to pledge but I didn’t find them. Or are they affiliated with other colleges?

Has the Ivy League Learned Anything from the Recession? Apparently Not.

It is nothing less than karmic justice when the schools that educate and promote the economic savants who brought our economic system to its knees also lose hundreds of millions of dollars from their own endowments. Unfortunately, this schadenfreude has to now be tempered somewhat—it turns out these staggering losses have had some tangible  impact outside ivory towers in a little place we like to call “reality.”

As Businessweek reports, because of improper asset management and incredible investment losses, Harvard and Dartmouth (among four other schools in the New England area) have actually exacerbated the recession and have cost the local New England economy $1.35 billion in cutbacks and delays over the next three years. But while Harvard might be the biggest culprit for this economic setback based on its 2009 endowment losses alone, it’s Dartmouth that is drawing the most ire of critics. As it turns out, six members of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees oversaw $100 million in investments at their private firms over the last five years while serving as University board members, thereby compromising their ability to be fair and objective when making investment decisions:

Dartmouth provides the most egregious example of conflicts,” said Joshua Humphreys, lead author of the report and founding director of the Center for Social Philanthropy at Tellus, on a conference call. He lectures at Harvard. “Can you imagine the investment committee meetings at Dartmouth? Basically half the room has to leave including the chairman of the investment committee.

That chairman of Dartmouth’s investment committee, Stephen Mandel (who had $10 million of Dartmouth’s endowment in his investment firm), has resigned from his post—in order to become the chairman of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees. Apparently, “conflict of interest” Google translates into “promotion” at Dartmouth. And what about the guy set to take his place?

Other trustees who manage money for Dartmouth include…William Helman, a partner at venture capital company Greylock Partners, the report said. Helman, who will take over the committee’s helm from Mandel, has received $10 million from the endowment, according to Tellus’s research.

That’s right; another guy who has $10 million of Dartmouth’s money invested in his firm will now head Dartmouth’s investment committee. A truly courageous and groundbreaking choice on the part of the trustees. Can this story get any more depressing?

The endowments’ tax-exempt status leaves taxpayers footing the bill. The six schools featured in the report own $10.6 billion in tax-exempt real estate. Without the tax-exempt status they’d owe $235 million in taxes, but they actually pay less than 5 percent of that in payments in lieu of taxes. That tax-exempt status also lets the schools borrow at very low interest rates, and keep most of their endowment cash invested in the risky financial instruments that got them into trouble.

Sigh.

Columbia University Wants Its Graduates To Work At Burger King

If your parents aren’t sure why they’re paying for an Ivy League degree — well, they’re finally right. When this blogger heard (hat tip to friend of IvyGate “Montaignesse“) that Columbia’s website was endorsing for students a “BK Job Fair,” he was like, oh, fun, we can all go to the borough of Brooklyn and join those BroBos everyone’s talking about!

But sometimes “BK” has a more sinister, more flame-broiled meaning. Courtesy of Columbia’s Events Calendar, we find “Casting Calls” for the new “WHOPPER Bar, a new restaurant concept by BURGER KING.” Be sure to talk about how the Core Curriculum inspires you to salt fries extra hard, kids!

The job fair is at a Doubletree hotel, though, which is — “in this economy!”(tm) — the nicest place any college student or graduate will be going for quite some time!

Full advertorial after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Adam Wheeler Delusion: An Ivy Student for the Ages

Self-proclaimed “sententious, crypto-tendentious, slightly pedantic” scamster Adam Wheeler has been described as the shy, quiet type, not one to boast in person about his falsified straight-A’s, book-deals, lecture-invitations, and sexual prowess. After all, he managed to fool a whole parade of supposed smart people at admissions offices and scholarship committees nationwide, outwit Harvard profs and fellow classmates, and successfully beat the shitty, shitty system that is the Ivy “meritocracy.” Allegedly, his high-school classmates liked him and his Cantab buddies thought he was swell: definitely not criminal mastermind material. A humble victor for sure.

But on paper, a different story: Wheeler’s flowery self-aggrandizement is pretty staggering… At least from an SAT Vocab section standpoint, far surpassing non-English-fluent Aleksey Vayner, Wheeler reaches into pure, Shakespearean megalomania. (For the record, despite claiming perfect stores, Wheeler only got a 1220 on his second SAT try). For example, in a letter sent to his fellow Harvard transfers in September 2007, Wheeler’s lexicon-breaking verbal vomit reaches a high pitch. From the Crimson:

My own, brief, assessment of my character is that I am sententious, crypto-tendentious, slightly pedantic with a streak of contrarianism, a fascination with any pedagogical approach to Shakespeare, and a decent sense of humor…[At MIT], I was, to put it poorly, suckled upon the teat of disdain. That being said (fortified by a reflexive snort), I was inspired therby [sic] to apply to Harvard, where the humanities, in short, are not, simpliciter, a source of opprobrium.

Well, there goes the tale of the gutsy populist, breaking into the Ivory Tower. On the contrary, seems as if Wheeler has enough pretension running through his veins to rightfully earn a spot at any Ivy, all trickery aside.

But not, as it happens, at The New Republic, to which Wheeler applied for an internship and, unfortunately for his lawyer, sent his resume. Yes, the number of prizes are obviously impossible and the fakery seems really, really obvious, but what really struck us was the resume’s intense, well… Ivy-ness. The Crimson’s done a thorough fact-or-lack-thereof-checking here, but in keeping with the above, see our favorite sections below and note how many of them could have easily appeared in any given reading assignment or boring section discussion. First off, his fake lectures were all carbon copies of those delivered by a real Harvard professor, James R. Russell:

“From Parthia to Robin Hood: The Armenian Version of the Epic of the Blind Man’s Son (Köroghlu)”

“Black Milk and the Stairway to Heaven: Bedros Tourian, Paul Celan, and Anselm Kiefer”

“The Rime of the Book of the Dove: Zoroastrian Cosmology, Armenian Heresiology, and the Russian Novel”

Then there’s his manuscript descriptions, which read like totally normal course-catalogue entries/Anthropology department lecture notes… at least at Yale:

Critical work that has attempted to explain the experience of geographical and textual space in modern writing has focused predominantly on the map as an analytical tool of orientation that makes formal writing structures legible…By restoring the experience of disorientation, I argue that getting lost becomes a radical discourse that reflects back to us how we orient ourselves—what we pay attention to as we move through physical space and how we construe meaning as we move through a text from page to page…

Accordingly, each of the texts that I examine betrays an awareness of writing as a spatial activity and space as a scripted category. The critical topographies that these writers created are maps of ideology, figural territories within which social conflict and political antagonism are put into play.

If anything, this guy has mastered the art of imitation. This is exactly the kind of pseudo-intellectual, effectively contentless, buzzword-laden Humanities bullshit that the Academy thrives upon. Just throw in a couple of “isms,” Derrida references, and journal citations, and you’ve got a doctoral-candidate leading seminar discussion as a successful TA. He just played the part too well.

Yes, the loquacious and devious Adam Wheeler presents us with quite a pickle. He’s learned our language, mastered our ways, and taken the self-promotion and ambition that we’re all groomed for  – yes, all — to its natural conclusion. He’s all of us through a funhouse mirror, all of our most Ivy-tacular characteristics amplified to monstrous proportions.

If it walks like an Ivy student, talks like an Ivy student then it is, without a doubt, an Ivy student. Go home folks, there’s nothing to see here.

Columbia GS Valedictorian Not Comedian, Not Honest, Not Patton Oswalt

Columbia’s rarely news-making school for non-traditional students just capped off its graduation with a little bit of an academic no-no: plagiarism. Nontraditional indeed! The school’s Phi Beta Kappa and resume-heavy valedictorian Brian Corman (recently married, sorry girls) blatantly ripped off comedian Patton Oswalt in his speech. Midway through his dull oration (see 38:40 in the video), Brian regales the crowd with a funny, fondly remembered tale. Apparently, his physics exam had a cute, ‘Star Trek’ referencing acceleration question; someone stood up to make a nerdy correction; hilarity ensued!

Problem is, this never happened to Brian. It’s actually part of a stand-up comedy routine far-better delivered by Patton Oswalt (for example, our valedictorian finishes his “joke” with no citation, before moving onto “finally, diversity” with a smirk.) See videos below for confirmation. Brian and Columbia have both released tail-between-their-legs apologies, but not before misspelling Oswalt’s name, as the comedian noted on his blog. (Then again, Oswalt himself misspelled Brian’s name on twitter: “”Did any of my crafty, diabolical fans “grab” a copy of the Brian Corben video? Something? Please?” Touche.)

While we appreciate the effort to liven up painfully boring valedictorian speeches — yes, our university’s real resource is its students — we can’t help but wonder if douchey joke-thievery could be a sign of worse things to come in this clearly well-positioned valedictorian’s future. After all, his Dad’s a former congressman. That said, as a PoliSci major and aspiring politico, it’s certainly good for him to learn to deal with criticism. Even the Columbia Marching Band has taken a shot at him, posting on their Facebook page:

Dear future GS valedictorians: the next time you plagiarize material from Patton Oswalt, try not to do it during your Class Day speech.

When your own schools tromboners are out to get you, you know you’ve made a mistake. Well, at least he didn’t give a speech to the wrong school.

Vids after the jump:

UPDATE: Columbia School of General Studies sends us this statement: “It has come to our attention that a portion of our Valedictorian’s remarks at this year’s School of General Studies Class Day was taken from a comedy routine by Patton Oswalt.  As an institution of higher learning that places a core value on respect for the works of others, we were surprised and disappointed to have learned of this matter today. Columbia University and the School of General Studies do not condone or permit the use of someone else’s work without proper citation. The student speaker has appropriately issued an apology to his classmates and to Mr. Oswalt for failing to provide such attribution.”