Penn Community Reacts to Recent Deaths

When University of Pennsylvania Elvis Hatcher, P’16 passed away on February 4th, students did not receive an email from the university announcing his death. They did not receive an email announcing the death of Madison Holleran, P’17 over winter break or for the nine other Penn students who have lost their lives in the past three years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Penn: Need Friends? There’s An App For That

Hate to burst your bubble...

If you’ve heard of Grouper, you already know what’s coming. Inspired by the online matchmaking service, Penn now has its very own social start-up to link like-minded students, and its name is just as punny as you would expect. With the tagline “Expand your circles,” it seems that rather than acting as a dating site, GrouPenn just wants you to make new friends. Think that sounds peculiar/desperate/pathetic? Remember the last time you made a new friend, then get back to us.

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Princeton Alum Fired From Penn For Making Fun Of Applicant Essays

Woman Laughing at Comp.jpgShocker: Of the 31,127 students who applied to the University of Pennsylvania last year, some were not “Penn material.” And thanks to one brave Princetonian, we now know who wasn’t up to par.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that former admissions officer Nadirah Foley, Princeton Class of 2011, was fired by the university late last year after she was discovered mocking applicants’ essays on Facebook. According to The DP, Foley also shared these essays over College Confidential, prompting responses such as “This loses my respect for UPenn and for the general admissions process SOOO much.” Everyone in the admissions department must be devestated.

Here are some of the students who proved worthy of Foley’s scorn:

  • A student who had ”long and deep” connections to Penn because he had been circumcised at the school’s Hillel.
  • A student who overcame his fear of going to the bathroom in the great outdoors.
  • A student who thought Penn was near the beach.

Oh God: ‘Gangnam Style’ Arrives at Penn

Institutional Ethics: That Mostly Irrelevant U.S. News Thing

Summer’s slow death is a bittersweet time: we’re getting older, and the bellwethers of fall are here yet again—temperatures are dropping, slowly but ever so surely; the leaves haven’t yet changed, but there’s an acute sense of autumn’s potentiality in every branch; and U.S. News & World Report has published its tragically flawed list of “best colleges” once more.

Since 1983, the mostly-defunct print magazine has been forcing schools to comply with its idiotic ranking system ranking what it sees as the best colleges in the United States. Though I’m reasonably sure that its rankings were initially envisioned as a way to help harried students and parents navigate the murky waters of higher ed, the whole endeavor has slowly degenerated—nowadays, it’s almost as if U.S. News dictates the priorities of our nation’s educational complex as a whole. (They’ve got lists for everything: Best high schools, best graduate schools, best hospitals, best children’s hospitals, best health plans, best mutual funds, best places to retire, etcad infinitum. Everyone loves a list!)

The bottom line? If your school doesn’t make it onto the list or drops too many places, be prepared to lose applicants, donations, and interest—a price that many schools can’t afford to pay. It’s a terrifyingly Procrustean bargain.

…Which is why it shouldn’t surprise you that even elite institutions are feeling the pinch. This January, the New York Times reported that Claremont McKenna—one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation—had been cheating the USN&WR rankings by inflating SAT scores since 2005. How has this affected their ranking this year, you ask? They’re 10th—a single spot lower than before.

I think that it’s insane that senior officials at one of the best institutions in the nation feel as though they’ve got to cheat to get ahead; it’s even crazier that their deception didn’t really affect their ranking at all. Even college admissions counselors—that is, those saints  people whose job it is to know more about universities than anyone else—are skeptical of the usefulness of USN&WR’s ratings.

So why do we have an annual bout of hysteria over The List? Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Pennsylvanian Kicks Harvard When They’re Down, Uses Cheating Scandal To Make Penn Feel Good

The recent Harvard University cheating scandal seems to be everywhere these days, and lest we forget, it’s not just affecting students in Cambridge: Its influence touches everyone in the Ivy League. An article today in The Daily Pennsylvanian takes the actions of the 125 Harvard students as an excuse to moralize about the superior virtue and integrity present in the student body of the University of Pennsylvania. As the article’s subheadline reads, “Some cite ‘cultural difference’ between the two universities.” Cultural differences between Penn and Harvard you say… Oh please, go on.

The piece is riddled with Harvard bashing from administrators and students alike, but, as noted above, the best part of it all is that they don’t just take their fellow Ivy down; they use the scandal as a way to idealize their own (eighth place) university. As one student says:

“There was a culture at Harvard where it was acceptable to collaborate on take-homes … That’s not allowed here. Students know a take-home is an exam that should be their own work.”

Yes, while Harvard students may have thought they were allowed to work with their classmates, no one needs to tell a Penn man or woman that such behavior is simply unacceptable. Collaboration? That’s not allowed at the University of Pennsylvania, everyone knows that.

A fellow student echoed the point:

“I understand the cutthroat nature of an Ivy League institution, but I’ve never felt the necessity to go beyond the realm of what is accepted.”

A Quaker can surely see the faults in others, and understand how such illicit dealings might prove tempting in order to get ahead in life, but partake in these activities? Never. Read the rest of this entry »

Tenured Penn Professor: Let’s Get Rid of the First Amendment

Anthea Butler, a professor of religious studies at Penn, has written an essay calling for the arrest of the man whose YouTube video recently incited violent riots in Libya. Butler had tweeted some tweets to the same effect, and thought it was a good idea to defend them:

My initial tweet about Bacile, the person said to be responsible for the film mocking the prophet Mohammed, was not because I am against the First Amendment. My tweets reflected my exasperation that as a religion professor, it is difficult to teach the facts when movies such as Bacile’s Innocence of Muslims are taken as both truth and propaganda, and used against innocent Americans.

We desperately hope this is a joke. It is, right? Right? PLEASE? Butler continues:

If there is anyone who values free speech, it is a tenured professor!

 Oh my God. It’s not a joke. IT IS NOT A JOKE. THIS IS REAL.

The “free speech” in Bacile’s film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith’s founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers. Even the film’s actors say they were duped.

This has to be a massive ruse—or this professor is admitting that she does not grasp basic logic.  Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. News Releases Numbered List of Some Sort; Penn Falls to 8th Place Behind UChicago, MIT and Stanford

The USN&WR rankings, released today, are refreshingly simple to report: with the exception of Penn, which fell from 5th to 8th, every Ivy held their 2011 spot and Dartmouth, which crept up from 11th to 10th, every Ivy held their 2011 spot. Also, the scav-obsessed hinterland of UChicago zoomed to 4th place, ahead of MIT and Stanford. Reactions so far:

The Daily Pennsylvanian: “BREAKING”!

The paper describes a cold nightmare:

This year, Penn was tied with Duke University for eighth place.

The Cornell Sun: a “significant setback”?

U.S. News and World Report released its annual set of rankings early Wednesday morning, ranking Cornell 15th among the nation’s top universities for the fourth straight year. The Sun reported in September 2011 that the ranking is a significant setback for the University’s administration, which in its 2010-2015 Strategic Plan identified its “overarching aspiration” to make Cornell “widely recognized as a top-ten research university in the world.”

SCHOOL: Ranking in 2011 → Ranking in 2012

BY NAME

Brown: 15th → 15th

Columbia: 4th → 4th

Cornell: 15th → 15th

Dartmouth: 11th → 10th

Harvard: 1st → 1st (tie)

Penn 5th → 8th

Princeton: 1 → 1 (tie)

Yale: 3rd → 3rd Read the rest of this entry »

Wharton-Bound Goat Trainer Failed To Get Her Pet Goat To Perform On National Television

Last night on Late Night with David Letterman, viewers learned a little trick on how to get into the Ivy League: the ol’ “train an unexpected animal to break a Guinness World Record,” unfortunately underutilized by today’s applicants. As Melody Cooke and her skateboarding goat Happie showed Letterman, this won’t just get you into Penn, it’ll take you all the way to the “Wharton Business School in the University of Pennsylvania” (her words, and further proof that Wharton students see themselves as a different species than the rest of Penn).

So naturally, we expected big things from this goat.

Unfortunately, it seems Happie had a little bit of performance anxiety on her first trip to the Big Apple. Although Cooke tried her hardest, Happie just wouldn’t get up on the skateboard, probably picturing the judging eyes of a national television audience.

Or we can just chalk this up to senior slump, as it’s now obvious Happie was just skateboarding to get Cooke into the best possible school for amateur goat trainers. With her work ostensibly done, Happie seems a little pissed to not be traveling to Philadelphia to experience the wonders of Wharton, while her trainer sails in on her goat’s achievements. One could even say that Cooke really got her goat’s goat.

You can check out Cooke and Happie on Letterman here (they come on at 12:30, 27:20, and 30:40). If you want to see Happie in happier times, you can check out her record-breaking skateboard performance below, where she coasts to an astounding 118 feet:

Work for IvyGate: Back to School Edition

It’s that time of year again. While the Ancient Eight are preparing themselves for the quickly upcoming academic year, here at IvyGate, we’re looking for new talented contributors to join our elite ranks. And, as we’ve said before, “Experience is arbitrary.”

Seriously though, we want you! We’re looking for the next crop of newsies to break the big stories, investigate enticing leads, and cover the day-to-day foibles of the Ivy League. We’re looking for columnists to give their opinions on Ivy League sports, ethics, and whatever else you can think of (we’re open). We’re looking for design and multimedia mavens to create images, cut videos, and generally make us look as pretty as possible.

Have your work read by literally thousands of eyes every day, including some of the snarkiest most beautiful and intelligent commenters in the game. Join the entity recently referred to as a “blog” by The Huffington Post, ABC News, and many other equally impressive outfits. And look out, because there’s a website redesign coming soon that’ll knock your socks off.

If anything here appeals to you, or you have something slightly/wildly different in mind, or you have no idea what you’d want to do, hit us up at tips@ivygateblog.com. We look forward to hearing from you.