Cornell Senior Arrested, Charged With First Degree Rape

After an “extensive investigation,” police have arrested Cornell senior Peter Mesko, a member of the school’s wrestling team, The Cornell Daily Sun reports. Mesko was arrested in response to an unnamed female’s complaint that a man entered her room at 5 a.m. on Saturday and raped her. According to The Sun,

 “The woman told police that an unfamiliar individual entered her bedroom and engaged in sexual intercourse with her ‘without her knowledge or consent, as she was soundly sleeping at the time.’”

In New York State, first degree rape is defined as sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion or [with someone] incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless.” First degree rape is a class B felony in New York, and if found guilty, Mesko could face 25 years in prison.

Cornell Business Frat Implicated in Election Fraud

Joining a business fraternity can be a good way to get on Wall Street. But it looks like the initiates of one Cornell chapter took their valuable connections too far. In doing so, they’ve continued a cherished Wall Street tradition: undermining democracy.

Two members (including a senior officer) and a freshman pledge of Cornell’s Delta Sigma Pi, a “professional business fraternity” which hosts events like “So You Want to Work on Wall Street”, appear to have significantly compromised the integrity of the university’s Student Assembly election process, according to a report published in The Cornell Daily Sun. Reporter Jeff Stein obtained internal SA correspondence indicating that University Assembly representative Melissa Lukasi­ewicz ’14 gave freshman SA representative E.J. Yeterian ’15 several sheets of signatures endorsing Lukasiewicz, which Yeterian then forged so that the signatures appeared to endorse herself.

Apparently Yeterian hadn’t collected enough signatures for her own run by the SA’s deadline, so she accepted Lukasiewicz’s signature sheets, crossed out Lukasiewicz’s name at the top of each, and wrote in her own. According to several Sun commenters, Yeterian is currently pledging Delta Sigma Pi, which would explain why Lukasiewicz, an active member of DSP, was comfortable providing Yeterian with the signatures. (Over the weekend we emailed Yeterian, along with the entire executive committee, to verify her pledge status. We’ll update if/when we hear back.)

The Student Assembly’s “Campaign Ethics” says that no candidate may “pressure or force other students to vote or campaign for them under any circumstances.”

Yeterian’s brazenness (did she just really cross Lukasiewicz’s name out?) suggests that she didn’t understand the fraudulence of using attempting to use signatures intended to endorse someone else. Lukasiewicz’s participation, however, is pretty surprising. As the chair of the University Assembly’s Executive Committee, she probably undoubtedly knew that you don’t just give away your signatures to someone who doesn’t have enough. Even if Especially if that person happens to be pledging your Wall Street-feeding fraternity.

Indeed, DSP’s executive committee comprises employees and interns of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, UBS (New York and Tokyo), JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (really), and Barclays Capital.

The person who makes this foolish incident approach Twilight Zone-esque levels of absurdity is Adam Raveret ’12 , the Student Assembly’s Director of Elections and DSP’s VP of Community Service, who has allowed Yeterian to continue in the election:

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A Cornell Sun Exclusive: People Peeing in Public

Dear Cornell Sun: A public urination article? We’re really going to do this? … Fine, then. But let me take a quick Purell shower before we get started, OK?

Cornell University Police reported 13 incidents of exposures of a person and two incidents of public urination on campus last weekend. Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner said that more incidents were reported likely due to increased Cornell Police surveillance on campus, not an increase in illegal activity among students and community members.

“It’s actually not that strange a number,” Zoner said. “It comes with the territory of people drinking and not paying attention to what their physical needs are and thinking public peeing is the way to handle it.”

Yes, it’s actually not that strange a number at all. In fact, Cornell students should be working tirelessly to increase their number of public urination incidents. How else will they move up through the ranks on Newsweek’s (completely inaccurate) list of the Best Party Schools in America?

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Facebook is Turning Us All Into Post-Postmodern Monsters

Good writing is just as noteworthy as bad writing — moreso even! — so it’s worth singling out every once in a while. And, since we spent the better part of Friday shitting on a Cornell Sun columnist, we figured now was as good a time as ever to highlight another writer from the same paper.

Nathan Tailleur wrote an enjoyable (if heavy-handed) deconstruction of social relations in the Facebook era for yesterday’s edition of the Sun. The takeaway, if I’m interpreting correctly, is that the more navel-gazing and passive interacting we do on social media sites, the more we’re actually punching ourselves in the metaphysical face, or something. Maybe?

As soon as we question the authenticity of experiences we were comfortable having, we expose ourselves to apparently different, but essentially identical issues — only this time they’re about the authenticity of our worries about authenticity. We’re running from context. The reader-author relationship of this very article is a recursive example of this phenomenon — as your eyes pass from word to word in this article, you lay down another layer. You’re waiting for a misstep. You’re looking for truth. You’re constructing and devouring me and I’m constructing and devouring you and down is up and we want to throw a punch but we’re worried we’re going to hit ourselves and we’re all so fucking tangled in the complexity of it all that even if we could stand on two solid legs and stop punching ourselves in the fists there’s no guarantee that the post-postmodern drain hole in the corner of the room will liberate us and we’re all just sooo goddamn tired.

I think this is also what happens to people when they try to read “Finnegans Wake?”

(h/t MetaEzra)

Introducing The Facepalm Hall of Heroes:

Inductee #1: On the Hilarity of the Term “Forcible Touching”

Ivy League students are an opinionated breed. But that doesn’t mean their opinions are always good. Indeed, sometimes they are very, very bad. 

IvyGate is introducing this new, semi-regular column to highlight those Ivory Tower aficionados whose flirtations with written argument end up veering into nonsense, self-parody or full-tilt offensiveness (intentional or otherwise). We’ll choose the best/worst of the bunch, and feature them here. 

Welcome, friends, to the Facepalm Hall of Heroes!

First up, we pay homage to Ms. Sam Dean of the Cornell Daily Sun, who chuckles through an account of Cornell’s recent “forcible touching” troubles. The piece is titled “Why I’m Going to Hell,” but she should have called it “Being Funny About Sex Offense: Probably a Losing Proposition.”

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Four Cornell Frat Boys Indicted for Crimes Tied to Their Brother’s Death

The death of Cornell student George Desdunes at the alleged hands of his frat brothers is now officially a matter of law. Four individuals–three of them known to be former Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledges, and a 19-year-old whose court records are sealed due to his age–were indicted yesterday for charges associated with Desdunes’ demise. The defendants, who pleaded not guilty, have been pegged with the misdemeanor crimes of first-degree hazing and first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. SAE faces the same charges, and representatives of the frat will be summoned to court to deal with them–although considering that SAE has been disbanded at Cornell and its recognition rescinded by the university, it’s not totally clear who’s going to show on its behalf.

The four former frat brothers, among them Max Haskin, Benn Mann, and Edward Williams,  have been released without bail and are now roaming free–although not on Cornell’s campus, since (according to a press release from the county DA) none are enrolled in the school any longer. Presumably they’re counting their lucky stars that they haven’t been charged with anything as serious as manslaughter. Still, the Sun reports that the attorneys plan to “vigorously contest” the allegations, and that the brothers don’t believe they’ve committed any crime.

Details of Desdunes’ death, an event that’s been shrouded in gossipy mystery for weeks, are also beginning to emerge. It’s already common knowledge that he died from alcohol poisoning, but authorities have since asserted that his blood alcohol level was 0.35 percent–more than four times the state’s legal limit. The Wall Street Journal has unearthed more information on the circumstances of this intoxication:

In the early morning hours before his death, Desdunes had consented to a mock kidnapping — a fraternity ritual in which pledges quiz brothers on fraternity lore. Desdunes and another brother had their hands and feet tied with zip ties and duct tape. When they answered questions incorrectly, the pair did exercises or were given drinks like flavored syrup or vodka. Pledges dropped him off at the Ivy League fraternity house after 5 a.m., according to court documents.

SAE has a history of such “kidnappings,” but no word on whether they also have a history of this kind of sadistically fruity bondage. They’ve claimed in the past that their “hazing” activities involve some level of complicity on the victims’ part, but having experienced flavored syrups firsthand, we find it hard to believe that someone would drink them with any degree of willingness. In all seriousness, though, the events of this case will hopefully shed some much-needed light on a form of fraternity stupidity that goes way beyond keg stands and ice luges.

Cornell Sun Is Riding Pretty Dirrrty

Valentine’s Day is upon us–which is another way of saying that no one is safe from the deluge of co-ed op-eds explaining, with cute euphemisms, how to use a lady condom or style your pubic hair. Least of all the Cornell Daily Sun, which is really kicking the pig as far as sex talk goes.

The Sun ran a couple of lascivious stories today, both of which seem to have been excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Stripper’s Soulless Vajayjay Adventures. First up was the personal essay by Kate C. about sticking needles into your tender bits, poetically entitled “A Piercing Matter”:

…I skipped straight out of my Genetics exam, got not-so-staggeringly drunk, and headed down to the Commons, where dear Dawn at Stiehl’s put a needle through the hood of my clitoris.

For everyone currently fainting into his or her Terrace salad: it really wasn’t that big of a deal. While the clitoris may have 8,000 nerve fibers, the hood is just a thin flap of skin. According to Dawn, who really is remarkably hard to ruffle, the clitoral hood piercing is one of the least painful and fastest healing, a fact to which I can now attest. Sure, it hurt, but only for like a second — and then I felt like a total fucking badass.

It only gets more interesting from there, honestly. The word “Muscliteer” is used. This American Life is evoked, no doubt to the horror of Ira Glass fans everywhere. We salute you, brave crazy girl with redacted last name, for sharing personal details about your vagina! Cornell has officially raised its bad-ass count to one.

In related breaking news, a columnist called–seriously–The Preacher’s Daughter has some inspiring things to say about vaginal haircare. It’s always a treat to watch a sex columnist flailing around for synonyms for “pubes.” (Some of the choicest include “thatch,” “luscious locks below the belt,” “denser forest,” “betty.”)

Not to be crass, but the story’s a bit of a hair-raiser. Mostly because it makes the general assumptions that Cornell students (a) have sex, (b) have sex often enough to care what their pubes are shaped like, and (c) know what a merkin is. Oh, sorry–”twat toupee.” God, we have to go fan ourselves with something.

Cornell Student Trashes Goldman, Whole World Trashes Him

Updated on June 24, 2012:

Oliver Renick, an individual mentioned in this post, recently emailed us with the following:

The author, Eve Binder, misunderstood my spoof blog post that she references, adding that “someone might want to talk to him about the definition of ‘plagiarism.’” As two commenters on your site point out, the post I wrote was purposefully a replica of Manfred’s, and I say this in the original article. Ultimately this isn’t very important, but as a journalist, it’s important that I don’t have assertions of plagiarism—as tongue-in-cheek as they may be—attached to my name.

You don’t have to look much further than the big, fat, festering recession to know that the lackeys of Goldman Sachs–a.k.a. the future rulers of the free, but definitely not free-of-charge, world–are really good at covering their asse(t)s. And really good at passing the buck. And wearing boring ties. And being evil. And oh yeah, did we mention making money? They’re really, really good at making money.

And this, according to Cornell news columnist Tony Manfred, is really, really bad.

Manfred took aim at the Lloyd-Blankfeins-in-training this week, arguing that Cornell should no longer support campus recruitment from “a criminal money factory” like Goldman Sachs. According to him, this is largely because behemoths like Goldman turn innocent, starry-eyed campus Care Bears into rabid, foaming ATMs whose moral compasses point straight into hell. (Yeah, okay, whatever.) Foamed Manfred in response:

We need to move past the idea that employment is unassailable, that jobs are immune to moral- or value-based criticism. We need to come to terms with the fact that people who go to work for a greedy, criminal machine that has been consciously inflating economic bubbles and screwing over the public since the 1920s, are, by definition, greedy criminals. These people are our classmates, our sorority sisters, our best friends, but they are also bad people. To put it bluntly, they are assholes. Huge assholes. Assholes who are aware of the social and economic damage they will soon perpetuate, but don’t care.

Predictably, everyone who was sitting by the phone waiting for The Call from Goldman Sachs promptly blew a gasket. So did those who would rather be gainfully employed doing something other than saving red pandas from extinction, or selling umbrellas during rainstorms, or some equally Righteous And Benevolent Pursuit. And then a few taxpaying Democrats burst out in defense with their bullet-free Nerf guns blazing. And then New York Magazine got involved. And then, in the pièce de résistance of total freakout, Oliver Renick of the blog Cornell Insider whittled a “spoof” of the piece entitled “Throw Tony Manfred off Campus.”

Renick, who paralleled the structure of Manfred’s column so exactingly that someone might want to talk to him about the definition of “plagiarism,” [Ed.: please see response from Renick above.] had this to say about Manfred:

This must continue. A writer with Manfred’s track record of navel-gazing and mental masturbation has the utmost place on the Stun [sic, like, multiple times] staff.

But he’ll have to do it from elsewhere.  Writers who want to spit on our campus image can enroll, but this campus should not be the setting of their homes….

Yada, yada Tony Manfred says bankers eat babies… We need to come to terms with the fact that people who read the work of a greedy, criminal machine that has been consciously deflating intellectual bubbles and screwing over the public since 2007, are, by definition, probably fine people that just got their day screwed when they turned to Manfred’s article. These people are our classmates, our sorority sisters, our best friends, but they are also just good people. To put it bluntly, they are cool. Really cool. Cool people who are aware of the social and journalistic damage that Tony perpetuates.

Aside from the fact that Renick doesn’t seem to realize that the name of the Cornell newspaper is actually the Sun, not the Stun (either that, or he has some major Freudian slip action going on), this whole “masturbation, navel-gazing” fiasco is just one more instance of the criminally rampant masturbation and navel-gazing that take place at all college campuses at all times. Because, let’s be real here, college kids don’t do much besides masturbate and pick Dorito crumbs out of their bellybuttons.

But that said, we think the whole “journalistic damage” bit is a bit rich. While we can’t rule it out entirely, it’s probably overly ambitious to think that Lloyd Blankfein is going to read Manfred’s article in the Sun, throw his Kung Pao Chicken takeout to the floor in a fit of despair, and run to his bedroom to cuddle with his stuffed puffin and watch Legally Blonde 2, vowing never to open doors for those ungrateful kids for as long as he’s the king of the world.

More likely the “journalistic damage” in question here is the kind that makes Goldman Sachs recruiters think twice before passing out free grin pins to Cornell students. Hey, that’s fair, don’t talk flak about your future employers. But Renick, we can pretty much promise that you don’t need to stand up for the downtrodden, misunderstood heroes at Goldman in order to get a job as a world-class number-cruncher. Don’t worry, baby CEOs, your offshore retirement accounts are safe.

The Website Review with Justine Fields: Cornell Sun Redesigns Website, Saves Journalism. J/K.

Yesterday the Cornell Daily Sun printed this as their front page.

It was all part of a plan to “promote the shit” out of their redesigned website, as Editor-in-Chief Keenan S. Weatherford so eloquently put it in a brief phone interview last night. However, on a more articulate and explanative note, Mr. Weatherford wrote in yesterday’s Sun that “This fall will mark The Sun’s 130th year of informing Cornellians and the Cornell community, and we intend on sticking around for another 130, at least.”

So how does the Sun plan on saving journalism for the next 130 years? Well, the updates to CornellSun.com include a most popular articles list, a live Twitter feed, featured slideshows and an iPhone app available for free on iTunes. Plus, there’s that whole shiny, pretty, new website thing that screams “I <3 NYTimes.com.”

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Cornell Sun Establishes West Coast Bureau, Reports on UC Drug Dealers

A tipster asks: “Is it weird that Cornell is running articles on UCLA in the Daily Sun?” To which we say: Yes! [Except that the article is about drugs, which are needed to make an Ithaca winter bearable.]