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be summoned to court to deal with them–although considering that SAE has been disbanded at Cornell and its recognition rescinded by the university, it’s not totally clear who’s going to show on its behalf.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.

Kurt Schneider’s Yale Posse Wreaks Musical Theater Upon Us Once Again

Kurt Schneider, the treacly Yale filmster who brought us last year’s soul-churning “Nothing Left Unsaid,” has returned to his alma mater to slime it with more goo–although perhaps of a different variety this time. The recent graduate appeared on campus this weekend to premiere his latest travesty, a feature film entitled “College Musical” (which he filmed last summer to the undoubted chagrin of the staff members in Bass library). IvyGate was tragically absent at this once-in-a-lifetime event–if we recall correctly, we think we were eating Triscuits with our aged grandmother and watching reruns of Seinfeld–but here are a few points worth knowing about this spectacular work of craftsmanship.

  • There are songs. Quelle surprise.
  • The film began as an erotic fantasy: two years ago Schneider wrote a song called “I Want to Bone My TA.” That song is basically the plot of the movie.
  • It features the usual suspects: Youtube’s 15-minute marvel Sam Tsui, his singalong fag hag Allison Williams (whose news anchor father must be thrilled at her tarty makeup), and the raven-haired Julie Shain, whose hotness and tepid acting skills had a starring turn in “Nothing Left Unsaid.”
  • According to the Yale Daily News, it includes the following stroke of cinematic brilliance: “a student with ‘man-child syndrome’ — a disease the filmmakers invented in which a grown man reverts to the mind and behavior of a child.” This, apparently, is a crucial plot point. Man-child syndrome also figures in audience reception of the flick, as anyone who thrills at the sight of Sam Tsui high-kicking on a seminar table most likely has it.

As of right now, there are no plans to distribute the movie, so we can just embrace it as evidence that High School Musical has turned our institutions of higher education into Jello forts. But perhaps we presume too much. Behold, for your edification, a clip:

Dartmouth Exchange Student Charges $10,000 to Someone Else’s Daddy’s Plastic

Dartmouth students seem kind of sinister sometimes. They lurk in the shadowy income tax haven that is New Hampshire, occasionally emerging from the murk to terrorize innocent people with their Sun God rituals. And when they do make news, it’s generally because they’ve done something felonious, like ship drugs to a campus mailbox or–in this case–charge $10,000 to someone else’s credit card.

Isabella Mezzatesta, an undergraduate exchange student from Wheaton College, was nabbed last week by the Hanover police for making fraudulent charges using another student’s credit card number. According to the charges, she has an affinity for Helmut Lang, Thai food, and whatever happens to be served at a restaurant called Everything But Anchovies (presumably everything but anchovies).

Mezzatesta was initially arrested on a misdemeanor charge, but now faces felony charges, which may include seven or more years of jail time. As of two days ago, she was reportedly still “in good standing” at Wheaton, whence she is still scheduled to return when her exchange is up. Wheaton happens to be a Christian college, but evidently no amount of Bible study can protect against the depravity of the Ivy League. Dartmouth 1, Ten Commandments 0.

Harvard Students, Meet World

Graduation is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing: a massive upsurge in Ivy League freakouts, mostly due to the stunning realization that Ivy League students have zero common sense and no life skills beyond constructing bongs out of toilet paper rolls and laundry filters. Thank God we have someone like Crimson columnist Brian J. Bolduc to deliver us from our own abundance of thumbs and left feet.

Bolduc, a member of Harvard’s Class of 2010, temporarily emerged from his über-gritty, über-real life in New York yesterday to write an article called “The Harvardian’s Guide to the Real World.” We love it when Harvard students pretend to understand the real world, and we especially love it when they try to give each other advice about how to live in it. So naturally we thought Bolduc’s article was worth a quick reality fact-check. Shall we?

First—unlike in class—at work, requirements are mandatory.

WHAT? You must be joking. When will there be time for the rowing machine and the twice-a-day trips to Whole Foods?

Second, work has unavoidable unpleasantries—namely, your coworkers. At one point, you may find yourself sitting across from a guy who went to Yale.

(2a) Do  not use the word “unpleasantries” at the water cooler unless you are working for Roget’s Thesaurus or BlackRock. Otherwise people will think you’re a tool. (2b) Do not gape and point when you see your Yale coworkers, because chances are you’ve been recruited by the same financey folks that hire Ivy League students every year in bushels. (Otherwise, how could you possibly be living in New York, like our fine friend Mr. Bolduc? Keep in mind that none of Bolduc’s proferred recommendations apply if you’re shacking with your parents.)

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A Camel Partied with Penn Frat Boys Last Week

It seems that Penn students’ penchant for heavy petting isn’t limited to members of the human race. The boys of Zeta Psi–artisans of culture that they are–raised a few eyebrows last week when they brought a camel to Spring Fling. The five-year-old camel, which apparently answers to the name of “Khan” or “What the Fuck, a Fucking Camel,” was the star of Zeta Psi’s annual petting zoo–an event that coincided with the school’s campus-wide slop-a-lot singalong, and that accordingly got a little drunk-funky.

According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Khan the camel was spotted lolling around on the ground outside the frat house, no doubt as trashed as the Penn students themselves. One of their sources reported that “Zeta Psi ‘was packed full of people, all around the camel’ and ‘girls were groping it and they were drunk.'” It speaks volumes about Zeta Psi that their most popular member has four hairy legs and a hump and smells like goat pellets. It also speaks volumes about Penn girls that their beer goggles turn them into animal lovers. But anyway.

The only person to take issue with this situation–everyone else was clearly having barrels of fun rolling in the hay with the camel and his friends, the wallaby, the rabbit and the sheep–was a postdoctoral fellow named George Leslie, who spotted the petting zoo orgy and immediately cried foul to several media outlets. Leslie’s primary complaint was that petting zoos and loud music shouldn’t mix, although anyone who’s ever been to Miami Beach might say otherwise. An investigation by the Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life has since absolved Zeta of any wrongdoing, since apparently using a camel as a lounge chair is totally within the dictates of Natty Light Law. Looks like Khan and Co. can still return next year to smoke a few more doobies and get their asses stroked by Penn freshmen. Living the high life!

Apparently Emma Watson Left Brown Because She Was A Total Freakshow

Now that Emma Watson is on hiatus from Brown, you might think we no longer have any reason to talk about her. Wrong! That scarlet letter “B” is forever. And in true Emma Watson fashion, she’s giving the presses plenty of postmortem fodder about her failed attempts at Ivy League “normalcy.”

The New York Daily News reports, inexplicably, that Watson is still hung up on the whole “I just want to be an ordinary zillionaire with Gwyneth Paltrow’s haircut from the nineties” schtick. Things that apparently encouraged her to leave Brown, apart from her thriving career as the face of Harry Potter Land:

1) She got heckled in class for participating, mostly by people who liked to yell “Three points for Gryffindor!” whenever she correctly identified a bezoar commented on geopolitics in Burkina Faso. This, according to the NYDN, is evidence of the “sophisticated wit and cinematic expertise of her Ivy League peers.” We’d actually venture that it’s evidence of a few too many nights spent on the futon smoking dope and listening to Jim Dale on tape–but hey, what do we know?

2) She and her orange-vested security unit had a hard time fitting in with the regular folks. And her freshman-year roommate was kind of weird about the whole “strict confidentiality agreement” thing. (We know the feeling–not being allowed to sell the contents of your celebrity roommate’s shower caddy on Ebay is, like, the pits.)

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: Emma’s chances of being a “normal girl” aren’t going to get any better if she keeps popping up in gossip rags. Perhaps acting in a movie that doesn’t involve wizard robes would help to staunch the spate of Hermione jokes. Or maybe she should talk to James Franco about how to be a normal person, since he’s clearly got it down.

Tiger Mom’s Kid Will Be Blogging All The Way to the Bank, And Probably Harvard

The four people left on earth who aren’t totally sick of hearing about Amy Chua will be thrilled to learn that her daughter, the eighteen-year-old Sophia Chua-Rubenfield, has started a blog. Apparently practicing piano for eighty-five hours a week under the eagle eye of a tyrannical MILF is sufficient grounds for digital masturbation. (Eh, blogs have been started for worse reasons. A certain IvyGate managing editor remembers her eighth-grade LiveJournal and weeps.)

The blog currently features just a handful of posts, but it’s already got plenty of readers, most of them law students. Which is not at all creepy. And just in case anyone still harbors any illusions about Ms. Chua-Rubenfield’s aspirations–i.e., in case anyone still thinks she’d deign to go to Dartmouth–the Tiger Cub clears up the mystery of her college ambitions in her very first post:

To set the record straight, I applied to three schools last fall: Yale, Harvard, and University of Virginia. I was accepted to Yale under Early Action in December. I withdrew my application from UVA, and I was accepted to Harvard this Wednesday. I was shocked and thrilled to receive both acceptances, and I’m seriously considering both Yale and Harvard. Ashley’s or J.P. Licks…Toad’s or The T…tough call (although I am a huge fan of subways). I’ll keep you posted.

Hmm. Impotent football team or impotent football team? Red bumper sticker or blue bumper sticker? Douchebags wearing blazers and smoking cigars on bridges in Cambridge, or douchebags wearing boat shoes and smoking Parliaments on their dirty New Haven fire escapes? This will be the toughest decision of your life, young Chua padawan. Frankly, we’re a little surprised that the baby tiger had no interest in Princeton. (Except, if we think about it for 0.4 seconds, we’re actually not.)

You Would Never Have Gotten Into Harvard in 1899

If you thought getting accepted to an Ivy League school was tough  today, you should count your blessings that you weren’t born in the 1880s. In addition to having diphtheria and bad teeth and a pompadour like a mangy cat, you’d also be forced to take a comically rigid entrance exam and speak ancient Greek.

The New York Times recently unearthed a Harvard entrance exam from 1899, and man, is it ugly. The text spans three major disciplines–classical languages, history and math–and requires its victims to jump through flaming hoops in topics like Greek Composition, Random-Ass Geography, and Hard Numbers. Take, for instance:

[in Logarithms and Trigonometry] 9. Find by logarithms, using arithmetical complements, the value of the following:

[(0.02183)2 x (7)2/5]/[√(0.0046) x 23.309]

Remember, folks, there were no calculators in 1899. Nor, apparently, was there mercy.

[In History and Geography] VI. Leonidas, Pausanias, Lysander.

Evidently this is a question, not just a list of people you’ve never heard of. Oh, wait, we’ve heard of Leonidas–but that’s only because we’ve seen 300, which someone living in the 1800s would most likely not have seen. Wonder if you’d get partial credit for identifying Lysander as “that dude in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

[In Greek Composition] [Insert ancient cryptic mumbo-jumbo here]

Hey, it’s all ελληνικά to us. Can you imagine if this were on the SAT?

Speaking of the SAT, it’s hard to tell whether the replacement of questions like “bound the basin of the Po” with ones like “find the noun in this sentence” has been a good or bad thing. A good thing for us, certainly, because if we’d been forced to draw the route of the Ten Thousand on a map in order to get into college, we’d have been working at the 1899 equivalent of a Chick-Fil-A faster than you can say “Gay Nineties.” But perhaps not such a good thing for the overall intelligence quotient of our nation’s youth, which would unquestionably have been strengthened by the knowledge of “Pharsalia, Philippi and Actium.” All of which, by the way, sound like sleep medications.

In an interesting final coup, Columbia Spectrum columnist Thomas Rhiel has noted that the 1899 Harvard entrance exam pales in comparison to that of Columbia, which apparently required knowledge of French, German, and the following works:

Milton’s Paradise Lost, Books I and II; Pope’s Iliad, Books I and XXII; the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers in The Spectator; Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, Southey’s Life of Nelson, Carlyle’s Essay on Burns, Lowell’s Vision of Sir Launfal, Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, […] Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Burke’s Speech on Conciliation with America, De Quincey’s The Flight of a Tartar Tribe, [and] Tennyson’s The Princess.

Times sure have changed, haven’t they? Back then you actually had to read all these books in order to get anywhere in life. Now all you have to do is Google the ending and lie. Yeah, sorry we’re not sorry.

Third Eye Blind and Designer Drugs to Join Lupe Fiasco for Yale’s Spring Fling

Yale’s Spring Fling lineup is slowly congealing into being, despite a minor April-Fool hangup in the form of Michelle Branch. Joining Lupe Fiasco on April 28 will be Designer Drugs and Third Eye Blind, according to the Yale Daily News.

We have nothing particularly snarky to say about Designer Drugs, mostly because electro-house music tends to give us seizures that impair our ability to judge its musical value. Especially when it’s performed by hipsters from Pennsylvania. But we haven’t forgotten Third Eye Blind, that staple of the last ten minutes of every eighth grade dance on the planet. We want something else to get us through this life, baby, because a 1990s fad band with only one song that everyone knows and no one particularly likes might make us step up to that ledge, my friend. But hey, maybe they’ll also hand out Tamagotchis and snap bracelets.

Columbia Votes to Bring Back ROTC

Rejoice, muscular patriot types, for this is not an April Fool’s joke: as of today, Columbia is one step closer to restoring ROTC to campus. After months of deliberation, the University Senate has voted 51-17 to approve a resolution to invite the training program back. According to the Spec, the only thing now standing between hipsters and hot people in uniform is the military, which still has to agree to start a program at Columbia. But our hopes are high, because frankly, we think those drug fiends and grouchy antisocial ex-smokers could use a little boot camp.