Dear Yale: Do Not Wash Your Genitals In The Sink, And Please, No Chamber Pots

It seems there have been some confusion among the Yale graduate student community as to what exactly a bathroom should be used for. A tipster recently forwarded us an email detailing the debauchery rampant in Helen Hadley Hall, a grad student dorm that houses mainly international students. According to the email, sent from Yale’s Graduate Housing Office to the residents of HHH, the dorm has experienced feces smeared across walls, non-Western hygienic habits, and even, gasp, chamber pots.

It’s all a big misunderstanding though, because most of the students are foreign and, you know, different. As the email states:

“Because we have some many students and so many cultures represented in HHH, it is often necessary to clarify what is acceptable use for the bathroom facilities … Regardless of the many cultures represented in HHH, I need all students to follow the standard US/western culture for restroom use.”

Thankfully, the good ol’ GHO is here to lay out some basic ground rules for proper Yale bathroom etiquette. We’ve adapted some of them here for easy reading:

  • Rather than digging a hole outside or using the tub, poop and pee should only go in the toilet.
  • If you absolutely need to use a chamber pot due to your non-Western cultural upbringing, it must be emptied into a toilet, not the kitchen sink.
  • Do not wash your feet or your genitals in the bathroom sinks. In America there are showers for that.
  • There will be no bidets. Stop asking.

Click through for the full email: Read the rest of this entry »

Harold Bloom is a “Super-Sized Moron” and a “Donkey,” According to Yale’s Angriest Grad Student

In January, a Yale graduate student named Margherita Viggiano published the absolutely insane correspondence between her and Edward Barnaby, the Yale dean who had removed her from Alexander Nemerov’s famous art history course after she complained about a fellow grad student’s gay boyfriend, threw several tantrums about being Catholic, and distributed an elaborate conspiracy theory linking Yale University to “Satanic Freemasonry,” a “pact with the devil,” and a “New England sea-monster.”

“Viggiano may now go down in Yale history,” the Yale Daily News wrote thereafter, “as the grad student who objected to discussion about the Virgin Mary’s ‘boobs’ and told a dean that he should ‘see how [God] reacts’ to him, curtly wishing him good luck directly afterwards.”

And now this: Over the past few days, Viggiano has published several rambling, strangely-formatted blog posts in which she calls Yale professor and famous literary critic Harold Bloom a “super-sized moron,” a “super-sized fraud,”  a “madman,” an “idiot,” and a “donkey.”

Viggiano’s reaction stems from Bloom’s The Book of J, a combination of Biblical criticism and translation published in 2004. In it Bloom theorizes (in Viggiano’s words) that “an adulterous and divorced Hittite woman” authored the first five books of the Bible. “How,” Viggiano wonders, “did this garbage survive peer-review, exactly?”

Yes! She’s BACK! In the same posts, Viggiano mentions “correcting students’ papers,” and she remains listed in Yale’s directory, so we think she’s still employed—but if you know anything else, drop us a line.

There’s so much more, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Craigslist of the Young and Restless:
Penn Grad Student Will Trade Sex 4 Tix

Craigslist - Phillie sexSusan Finkelstein, a 43-old University of Pennsylvania grad student, posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex for money. Well, not exactly money. World Series tickets. They’re as good as money.

According to FoxSports, the ad read:

DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX (Philadelphia) Diehard Phillies fan–gorgeous tall buxom blonde– in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable— I’m the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!

Well, the ad is certainly suggestive. (Who doesn’t have a “gorgeous tall buxom blonde” friend, of “the creative type,” “help” them out every once in a while?) But an undercover officer who replied to the ad claims that after meeting Finkelstein at a bar and having a few beers, she offered to perform explicit sexual acts. He slapped the cuffs on her, threw her in his car, and, err, took her to the big house for some punishment.

So is this an innocent he-said-”Will you…”-she-said-”If you…” situation? The Daily Pennsylvanian can explain the defense with two quotes:

“She was willing to — if she could afford it — pay money or work some type of deal to get tickets, but we completely dispute and deny that there was an offer a trade of sex for tickets,” [Finkelstein's lawyer] told KYW.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, so I’m not embarrassed about my actions,” Finkelstein told the Associated Press.

After the jump, the full on explanation (in photos) of why this lady is awesome either way.

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Ivy Academia Makes Celibacy an Attractive Option

Lecturer Frank McLellan...Professors in the Ivy League apparently are somewhat aware of the problems facing academia. You usually don’t see them doing anything about it other than whining at conferences and writing editorial columns in the New York Times. Tenure is a great thing, sort of like being emperor of Rome while it burns down. No one’s gonna stop your fiddling (or publishing).

Francis McLellan, a Brown Ph.D. and Princeton’s former head Russian language instructor, evidently had a different experience as a senior lecturer than the professors did. Lecturers are to Princeton what migrant laborers are to, well, Princeton. And it seems as if four years of teaching elementary language made giving up women, possessions, and meat an attractive option for McLellan. In January he was tonsured Iosaf, a hieromonk in the Russian Orthodox Church. Now he’s archimandrite of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, a city just slightly less dangerous than Cambridge. Sexy monk results after the jump.
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Columbia Prof. Breaks Rank, Cites Problems With Academia

lifeambitionIn the Op-ed section of yesterday’s Times, Mark Taylor – chair of Columbia’s Religion Department – broke from the rank-and-file optimism of Ivy League academics on academia by asserting that “Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning.” (For those who have been living under a rock for the past fifty years, in 2008, Forbes gave Detroit – a city saddled with crime and unemployment – the dubious distinction of being America’s most miserable city).

We’re guessing that this Benedict Arnold of a professor has tenure because his ideas, which include retrenching both doctoral-level education and academia as a whole, are unlikely to popular to many colleagues and administrators at Columbia, a place dredged in the virtues of a classical education. (Columbia College, as one example, continues to yoke its students to a stringent core curriculum).

The problem, Taylor explains, stretches back to Kant, who wrote in the late 18th century that to “handle the entire content of learning” professors should teach different subjects. This, he argues,

has led to separation where there ought to be collaboration and to ever-increasing specialization. In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.

More after the jump.

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Penn Grad Student Enjoys Particle Physics, Game Theory, Touching Boys

Grad students are, pretty much by default, creepy. Not undergrads, not yet professors, they’re caught in the murky gray zone that’s home to both legitimate career academics and social misfits with no job prospects.

Oh, and child molesters. A couple weeks ago, Penn discovered that Kurt Mitman, a first-year economics grad student, lived off-campus. In fact, he’d been commuting to school all year. From prison. Mitman was convicted in March 2005 for molesting a 14-year-old boy, and was attending classes as part of a daytime academic release program. Penn had no reason to suspect (unless, of course, they’d bothered Googling him): Mitman graduated from UVA with a dual degree in 2004, before going on to study econo-physics at Oxford as a Marshall scholar. It wasn’t until Mitman’s mother discovered on a sex offender database that her son was enrolled — six months after he’d started taking classes — that corrections officials told the university about Mitman’s history.

Other than Mitman’s little slip-up at genius camp — the boy was a camper, he was a counselor — his record is totally clean. That said, there was some ominous foreshadowing in an old UVA puff piece titled, “Curiosity drives Mitman’s pursuits.”

No word yet on whether he’ll get to continue his studies at Penn. But if he does, you won’t want him as a TA: Bucks County prison is a schlep, even for office hours.