Cornell Evicts TKE for 3 Years

Movin' on out!Bulletin! Cornell frat TKE has been officially disavowed by the university until at least 2015, reports the Daily Sun. Was anyone expecting otherwise? No. Nobody was expecting otherwise.

Interesting tidbit: In the last 12 years, TKE has turned up in just three Sun headlines:

After this rather steep dramatic arc comes a masterstroke of p.r. from TKE national (bolding ours):

Tom McAninch, TKE’s national spokesperson, said that the TKE brothers were not to blame for the hospitalization. McAninch said the freshman arrived at the event intoxicated and “was immediately escorted away from the function when [the TKE brothers] noticed he was intoxicated.”

“If anything, they should be commended for their actions,” McAninch said. “There’s no connection between [TKE] and the individual going to the hospital. Aside from him showing up at a recruitment event, there’s no connection there.”

Yes, TKE didn’t have anything to do with a hammered freshman going to the hospital. That’s exactly what Cornell says is the whole problem! From the Sun:

The board believes the members of TKE had an obligation to seek medical assistance for the freshman student, and while [the TKE brothers] claim he was ‘handed off’ to his roommate, it was insufficient action considering the risk to his health at that time,” the memo states.

It’s pretty breathtaking that the inaction of TKE (D.B.A. a wholly owned subsidiary of SAE) obliges a professional flack to praise a total lack of concern for others as some kind of virtue. Outside of Greektown, that’s just called being a jerk.

“The TKEover has begun”: Did Cornell Frat Market Its Coolness After the Death of a Brother?

Last March, Cornell revoked its recognition of Sigma Alpha Epsilon after the alcohol-related hospitalization and death of SAE brother George Desdunes ’13. Of the 22 pledge brothers in that year’s pledge class — whose reverse-hazing contributed to Desdunes’ death — six left Cornell for good. All of the remaining 16, meanwhile, flocked to Tau Kappa Epsilon. But did TKE take them in — or did SAE take them over?

It’s getting clearer: TKE now faces losing university recognition, after another alcohol-related hospitalization of another pledge a freshman (who thankfully survived). This follows TKE’s hosting planning to host, last September, the White Party, a bash traditionally thrown by SAE, and other signs that the killed-off frat had reanimated in TKE’s body.

Now, thanks to a tipster, we have a better idea of how this all came about.

First, background: Publicly, SAE/TKE brothers have basically stuck to the position that their union was immaculately conceived. One pledge told the Cornell Daily Sun last April that “It’s hard to say where the idea [of TKE taking SAE’s pledges] first came about, but a bunch of guys in SAE and TKE know each other, so it just seemed logical.” And Ryan Yeh ’13, incumbent president of TKE, gave the Sun the same impression: “Like all great ideas, it’s hard to say who came up with it first . . . The two fraternities had quite a few brothers that were mutual friends outside of the house.”

TFM, right?

Not quite. A well-placed tipster tells IvyGate that SAE made the rounds with a sales pitch of sorts (bolding ours): Read the rest of this entry »

Genius Princetonians Will Reform Wall Street by Working for Wall Street

No matter how many famous novelists in its employ, Princeton University is firstly a grooming school for bankers. With that in mind, the student-led Occupy Princeton has, for about a month now, protested (i.e., TERRORIZED) several recruitment events hosted by human rights organizations such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Which has struck many of the group’s betters as kind of . . . bizarre, yeah? Don’t these people want . . . money? And a summer property in an equatorial country? What else are we here for??

Fortunately, chipper Prince contributor Elise Backman ’15 and Prince columnist Aaron Applbaum ’14 have offered a time-tested solution to appeasing Occupy Princeton: Just work for Wall Street! Easy! You’ll fit right in!

Applbaum, from January 9:

It is true that the Princeton students of today traditionally become the Goldman partners of tomorrow, but chanting at them repetitively only serves to alienate them, not to change their minds.

Traditionally? Unless that awful Henry Moore sculpture is in fact a secret wormhole to Lower Manhattan, working for Goldman Sachs is about money, not one’s ride on the Long Orange Line.

Becoming more politically engaged and discussing fiscal policy, I believe, is the way to shift the dialogue and create the change sought after by the Occupy contingency. I see this as a way to alter, and break through our [in]famous complacency. This is not to say that Washington is exclusively at fault for New York’s behavior — both financiers and policy makers are to blame for their actions — but the two are inextricably tied and an opening for change right now lies in the political arena.

This is the counter-argument to the Occupy movement’s rather explicit charge that money has corrupted American politics? Unless Alan Greenspan recently rewrote several founding documents, no, “financiers” and politicians are not “inextricably tied.” Well, they are, of course. But that’s the problem, not an a priori truth.

And here’s Prince contributor Elise Backman, from January 11:

When I have tried to discuss Occupy Princeton with my friends affiliated and unaffiliated with the movement, at the first sign of a critique I am met more often than not with, “Oh, of course, you just want to go make money on Wall Street,” “Don’t you care about the economy at all?” or my favorite: “You’re so politically apathetic — how Princeton of you.” Are we all suddenly politically apathetic if we don’t support Occupy Princeton?

Oh yes, the very reasonable “friends” argument: my friends said something, so everyone thinks it. QED! But wait: Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard Faculty Immature, Harvard Professor Dramatic, The Sun Goes Up, The Sun Goes Down

In the Mean Girls sequel that is Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences, people saying stupid things out loud, contriving secret meetings wherein others conspire to get rid of people they don’t like, and calling each other names (like “Ariel Sharon”), all form the everyday lives of mature, reasonable, career scholars of obvious purpose and resolve, because they teach at Harvard, and not the Extension School.
So, it’s no wonder that, after Harvard economics professor Subramanian Swamy wrote a strange, inflammatory article for an Indian newspaper in which, according to the Boston Globe, Swamy advocates that non-Hindus vote only “if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors are Hindus” and for “a national law prohibiting conversion from Hindu religion to any other religion,” a coterie of Harvard professors conspired to get rid of Swamy, in some way!
Rather than, you know, talk to him about it, or write an unnecessarily long article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the rest of Harvard’s professoriate secretly canceled his summer classes, thereby removing him from the faculty’s cool-kid treehouse. Because that’s how grown-ups operate: in a clandestine bunker beneath Massachusetts Hall, furtively deleting certain classes from the course catalog. And this was after 40 of them called for his dismissal anyway, and after Harvard invited him back for next summer. Swamy found out he was fired via, yup, a Google News alert on his own name. (Haven’t we all, though?) Following which, Swamy took to Twitter, where he called his former colleagues “leftists”:
The people who cut me out are leftists who have nothing to do with economics. There’s no allegation that in my class I said anything offensive. There’s no allegation that it has affected my research. It’s almost like the Spanish Inquisition – they didn’t give me a chance.’’
Harvard’s Faculty: Almost Like the Spanish Inquisition. To his credit, Swamy offered to The Globe what is surely the saddest thing said about Harvard, or any Ivy League school, ever:
For his part, Swamy has moved on. He has no plans to sue Harvard. Actually, he said, he loves the school, where he has studied and taught on and off since 1962. He will not be seeking an academic position elsewhere: ‘It’s Harvard or nothing.’

Angry Emailer Sara Ackerman: I am the Lawrence Summers of NYU

Columbia University recently bested its chief rival in everything, NYU, by coming up with a slightly more complicated version of the Occupy Wall Street “course” NYU now offers. But NYU has won the much more entertaining prize of which is more pointlessly dramatic, after a senior there compared herself to Harvard’s former president, Lawrence Summers, for some reason.

Sara Ackerman (pictured), a student in NYU professor Caitlin Zaloom’s senior research seminar, recently turned the class into a strange theatrical production involving a 3,000-word script of craaaaazy emails to her professor and NYU administrators, in which she refuses, against Zaloom’s instructions, to visit Zuccotti Park, in the day time, because people there are rude and gross. Oh, and the drama. Bribery! Danger! Nepotism! Drama drama drama. To quote:

I have no history of mental health issues, I have never been written up by an NYU security guard, I have no criminal record, I have an above average GPA, impressive extracurricular activities, an amazing resume with great recommendations/references, 3 post-graduation job offers, and I have sustained wonderful relationships with many of my previous employers, and NYU professors, over the years.

And:

Now would be a good time to step in—unless of course, you still think that I am bluffing about going to the press–remember, I know people–close family friends, in fact–who work for:

1. WSJ
2. The NY Observer
3. NYT
4. The Washington Post

I have already written the op-ed, and a draft has been approved by one of the reputable newspapers listed above.

And!

I have over 1,000 friends on facebook, and if Professor Zaloom does not resign, or is not fired by 9 am tomorrow morning, I will publish every single email exchange we have had, on my facebook account.

Ackerman eventually email-bombed the listserv of NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, at 3:30 AM, to ask them whether they’d heard of Harvard (and something about Cornel West):

On a side-note have you ever heard of that mega-university in Cambridge, Mass. called Harvard?Long story short, they had a few disputes between a tenured professor, and a big man on campus, and look what happened in the end:
They swapped him:
For him:
And got a PR nightmare—does anyone see the parallels? Or do I have to continue tospell it out for you, as I have been for over 2 months?
Look, neither Summers nor West is perfect, but why don’t you do a little research to see who was more deserving of a prominent position at Harvard?
Sara Ackerman: The Lawrence Summers of NYU. Really, though: read the whole thing.
(In less absurd, Columbia-related news, Christopher Coles, male lead of last year’s Operation Ivy Leaguecould get parole for selling pot to an undercover officer, if he finishes a year-long residency in rehab. Beat that, Ackerman!)

Mitt Romney’s Bain Colleague Berates Dartmouth for Not Bain-ing Everyone

The Bain Brothers. It’s a pun.

 In 1983, Mitt Romney was an employee at the consulting firm Bain & Company. So was IvyGate icon, New Hampshire celebrity, and Dartmouth alum Joseph Asch ’79! By 1985, Romney had departed for the offshoot Bain Capital, where he submitted to Christian-themed pictures of he and his colleagues cavorting with paper currency, and firing lots of people. Meanwhile, Asch had decamped for Paris, where he peddled medical supplies. Fifteen years later, in spring 2010, while Romney was ramping up his campaign for the Republican nomination, Asch’s much more important political ambition—a seat on Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees—was thwarted by two other Dartmouth alumni. Since then, guided by personal bitterness over his defeat and a consequent desire to douse Dartmouth College with Bain’s holy water, Asch now spends much of his energy harassing his alma mater’s administration for not buying his “solution” of massive cuts to benefits and wages, particularly those of the school’s lowliest laborers. On a blog. Meanwhile, he parries inquiries into his personal business practices. Sound familiar?

The last time we heard from Joe Asch, the cranky Dartblogger had completely lost his dark horse bid for Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, soon after which he vowed to never blog again, citing the “unceasing negativity”  and “rampant dishonesty” that allegedly determines the membership of Dartmouth’s Board. The honorable Asch was probably referring to The Dartmouth’s discovery of and investigation into Asch’s medical supply business, the very name of which Asch deliberately refused to discuss. (Apparently, it’s because Asch didn’t want others to find out how wildly profitable the health care industry is—which is, of course, a huge secret.) As it turns out, Asch forgot to pay $8,000 in taxes to French tax authorities, in 2004. No biggie, though, right? Well! Asch did not appreciate the paper’s attempt to “discredit” his very successful company, thank you! Which meant Asch missed the whole point: his own bizarre refusal to discuss in detail the business experience on which he based his Trustee campaign.

Following his defeat and subsequent promise to never blog again, and after pretending that he never said that, Asch turned the ostensibly undergraduate Dartblog.com into an elaborate LiveJournal on which he continues to investigate a shadowy cabal of administrators who are LYING TO DARTMOUTH.

One of Asch’s more recent posts dissects what he suggests is Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim’s egomania. Really, yes: have you seen Kim’s CV? Criminal. Among Kim’s profusion of shortcomings, according to the same entry: contriving to appropriate the . . . aesthetic . . . of . . . socialist realism . . .  to mask . . . male-pattern balding. Okay, Asch. That sort of insinuation makes you look totally sane and super-fit to make decisions.

What really bothers Asch, though, are the non-shitty wages and benefits Dartmouth pays its workers. Asch’s preferred solution to this manifest injustice should be familiar to anyone fortunate enough to have been affected by the business practices of Mitt Romney’s Mormon charity, Bain Capital: slashing workers’ wages, health benefits, and pensions.

Despite his professed distaste for the public assessment of personal financial matters, Asch has taken (again) to Dartblog.com to repeatedly and publicly mock the wages and benefits Dartmouth pays its workers. As it turns out, Dartmouth demonstrates an uncommon commitment not to swindle their workers. The College pays them a decent salary, contributes to a defined-benefit pension, subsidizes non-crappy health coverage, and assents to union representation. In other words: Dartmouth declines to exploit the working class of rural New Hampshire. Those with even the smallest acquaintance of the ruling class’s antecedent regard for labor might, you know, consider this arrangement a good thing.

Alas, not Joe Asch. Read the rest of this entry »

Penn Student’s Annoying Email the Latest in Ivy League’s Obsession with Numbers

A few days before Christmas, some poor Penn student in computer science professor Steve Zdancewic’s “Programming Languages and Techniques” class didn’t like the grade Zdancewic (or, probably, one of his 16 assistants) posted for him, and, yup, immediately dashed off a bothersome email to say so.

Less important than how or why The Daily Pennsylvanian posted this email—the student sent it to the listserv for a class of 200-odd students, duh—is the dark, hilarious content therein. Shall we?

“It’s possible I’ve made a calculation error . . .  but I do not believe so.” Or, YOU ARE WRONG. The two subsequent emails are sort of tedious—Zdancewic tells him what’s what and that’s that, then the student basically calls him incompetent, and that he (the student) is “confused.” And so on. Still, it’s sort of amazing to see this example, in fine detail, of the Ivy League’s historic and rather total obsession with its own quantification. This is a habit seen in the daily newspapers’ endless admissions coverage—e.g., see here, and here, and here, and here, and here—plus, it goes without saying, the U.S. News & World Report rankings and its imitators, which are always world-stoppingly important and intrinsically meaningful.

But take anything the Ivy League likes. Harry Potter, let’s go with. (Bear with me.)  Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Says ‘Merry Christmas, Cornell!’ Like a Suicidal Snowman

Since (at least) 2010, Cornell’s administration has, with varying levels of forethought, distributed a holiday “eCard,” for fun. Last year’s effort, viewable here, appears to have emerged, Samara-like, from a pirated copy of Windows Movie Maker. It is dumb and a waste of your time but basically inoffensive, which, when you think about it, is really the only bar a holiday card has to clear.

Which brings us to this year’s entry, above. It’s an imitation New Yorker cartoon featuring a scarfed snowman that is either a) being impaled by McGraw Tower or b) threatening to jump therefrom. This is perhaps not the wisest image from a school often joked to have a pattern of student suicide. As a horrified tipster puts it, “a snowman teetering on a clock tower is insane.”

Particularly ridiculous (amusing, though) is Cornell’s decision to solicit—and publish!—pathologically unfunny “captions” with which to mock this troubled snowman: “Is this what they mean by ‘Higher Learning’?” “My ‘polarrhoids’ are killing me!” Etc! There are at least five hundred entries of comparable brilliance. Stranger than the actual captions is the obvious exclusion of any which refer to death or killing, the aforementioned “polarrhoids” achievement notwithstanding.

The sure-to-be-great winner will be announced soon.