Ranking the Haze: These are the Haziest Members of the Ivy League

Last week we ranked the laziest of the Ivy League: those schools at which hazing is non-existent (or, possibly, so underground as to avoid detection). Yes, you may have been wondering, but who are the haziest Ivy Leaguers? So here they are, beginning with the laziest of the haziest: Princeton.

One thing to remember about these rankings—and, to a degree, about all of the Ivy League—is that hazing (both the phenomena and the perpetual scandal) is more or less the outcome of combining two very different populations: the world’s future overlords and the anxious, striving individuals who will form tomorrow’s press corps.

It makes a ton of sense, anyway, why the Ivy League is almost always awash in one hazing scandal or another. What else would you expect? The Ivy League attracts students who willfully submit themselves to the judgment of schools which constantly market, and profit from, their exclusive reputation. They bring together people who, for whatever reason, need to constantly distinguish themselves in as many ways as possible, no matter how illogical or arbitrary or pointless those ways are. Add to that a well-funded press corps with a taste for scandal, and voilà! Hazing controversy!

To get rid of hazing in the Ivy League, you’d have to stop admitting the very people who applied to any of its schools. You’d have to start admitting people who don’t care about reputation, or status, or prestige; about feeling (and, yes, being) better than others. But then the Ivy League wouldn’t be the Ivy League, would it?

Anyway! Here are the haziest members of the Ivy League: Read the rest of this entry »

NYPD Spied on Muslim Clubs at Yale, Columbia, and Penn in Outlandish Search for Terrorists

In the wake of IvyGate’s Hell Week, you probably thought that any non-violent Ivy student group that didn’t encourage its members to hurl folding chairs at law enforcement personnel would be safe from police department hit lists. Not so! Today, the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD has been monitoring Muslim Student Associations at 16 college campuses in the (very broadly defined) New York area, including Yale, Columbia, and Penn.

According to an internal memo obtained by AP reporters—one of the NYPD’s “Weekly MSA Reports”—NYPD Cyber-Intelligence officers conducted a “daily routine” inspection of various MSA blogs and forums and recorded which students were advertising educational conferences, among other terrorism-related activities.

But their monitoring efforts went even further: an undercover cop went on a whitewater rafting trip with Muslim students from the City College of New York in 2008 and reportedly had a student informant at Syracuse University. Yes, whitewater rafting. Because that’s where you pall around with terrorists: in a raging river! Everybody knows that. (And seriously, a student informant? That kid who you thought just showed up to the meetings for the free food was actually coming under the orders of a police force 250 miles away?)

Though the Ivy chapters were certainly on the NYPD’s watch list, it’s not clear that any of them were subject to a special amount of scrutiny. None of the more egregious (and sillier) methods of surveillance cited in the article were employed at Ivy League schools. A source from the Penn MSA told IvyGate that Penn officials have contacted the NYPD, who stated that no Penn students were being monitored. Good to know that you can just call them up and ask!  Read the rest of this entry »

This Exists: The Hazing Death Map

This interactive hazing death map is the work of Hank Nuwer, a Franklin College professor who has diligently recorded every hazing-related death in the United States since the middle of the 19th century. This is IvyGate, however, so you’re probably most concerned with the Ivy League. That’s where it gets interesting.

Only four Ivies—Brown, Cornell, Penn, and Yale—have recorded instances of students dying from hazing. (Nuwer’s list is imperfect, to be sure—we’ve excluded both a bystander’s death at Cornell and an auto accident involving Yale students; Brown’s sole death is also iffy.) Per Nuwer’s list, the Ivy League has experienced six hazing-related deaths in total. Half of them occurred at Cornell.

In fact, Cornell was the among the first schools in America to witness a hazing-related death, in 1873, in which a student fell into one of Cornell’s gorges, allegedly while blindfolded. Cornell is also among the most recent schools (Ivy or otherwise) to witness another hazing death, in 2011, of George Desdunes. According to ABC News, Desdunes was allegedly blindfolded, too.

Cornell shares some uncomfortable company: it is one of six schools in the United States to have three or more hazing-related deaths in its history. The others are MIT and the Universities of Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, and Texas—at the last of which, in 1928, a fraternity pledge “died from the electric shock when he had to crawl through mattresses charged with electric current.”

After the jump, we’ve collected a list of every Ivy League hazing-related death since 1873:

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 »

With Revived Harvard and Princeton EA Programs, Fewer Early Applicants at Yale, Columbia, Penn

Harvard and Princeton reinstated their early admission programs for this year’s admissions cycle. According to this nifty chart put together by Jeremy Bleeke of the Columbia Spectator, ED/EA applications remained constant or increased slightly at Brown, Cornell, and Dartmouth, while dipping slightly at Penn, decreasing more at Columbia, and dropping significantly for Yale. It is unclear just how much of this has been because of Harvard and Princeton’s programs, but we’re willing to wager that it’s more than a little.

The New York Times has a more detailed discussion here, complete with stats.

When it Comes to Healthy Sex, Most Ivies Get on Top

Earlier this month, Trojan released its 2011 Sexual Health Report Card, which ranks colleges based on factors like how many free condoms you can pilfer from campus health services without getting noticed. While some Ivy Leaguers are not known for, let’s say, getting laid, our schools have made sure that we will be very safe in the circumstance that sex does happen to us.

Let’s take a look at the results:

  • According to Trojan, Columbia, where students can Ask Alice how to get rid of hickeys and where to pump breast milk on campus, is the #1 most sexually healthy campus in the nation for the second year running.
  • Brown, the birthplace of naked parties, comes in 4th, up one from 5th last year.
  • Princeton, eager to get behind last year’s “gentlemen’s sex competition“, has improved its ranking from 8th to 3rd, sending a signal to students that any subsequent stately sexcapades shall be seriously safe.
  • Harvard fell from 16th to 30th.
  • Yale and Cornell held pretty steady, at 14th and 17th respectively.
  • Penn fell, from 38th to 42nd.
  • After falling sixty-one spots in 2010, from 19th to 80th, Dartmouth is up slightly to a pretty unimpressive 67th.

View the official press release with the complete rankings here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this post incorrectly published rankings from 2010. Our bad.

Occupy the Ivies: An Overview

Here’s a rundown of the Occupy Wall Street movement around the Ivy League campuses, ranked in order of excitement:

Columbia – Hundreds (thousands?) of Columbia students have been to the protest at some point over the last few weeks; the catchphrase around campus is “have you gone yet?” A large walkout took place last Wednesday. Some students arrested earlier. University President and over 300 professors declare support for Occupy Wall Street; Jeffrey Sachs leads a pack of  students downtown to join protests and avoid watching the football team get ransacked by Penn at Homecoming.

Harvard – Scores of Harvard students join Occupy Bostonfive arrested. Harvard doesn’t get much appreciation, though: a Boston Herald op-ed slams student protestors for their $50,000 tuitions and lovely, neo-Georgean dorms with – gasp – private bathrooms! Also, labor unions protest Harvard as a ‘tool of corporations’.

Brown – Econ, history, poli sci, and sociology professors hold an Occupy Providence Teach-In inside a lecture hall packed with “several hundred people.” Meanwhile, Occupy College Hill begins meeting 3x a week on Brown’s Main Green, and even has their own wiki page. Not so disorganized, after all!

Yale – Students will Occupy New Haven this weekend; counter-protest group led by the Yale College Republicans announces it will “Occupy Occupy New Haven“.  Awww snap!

Cornell – Some Cornellians trek to New York City and join protests, others Occupy Cornell on Friday (minutes from the protest here). One op-ed’er tells protesters to “stop protesting and study for LSATs.” Not sure how that one’s gonna work out.

PennOccupy Philly receives statement of support from 87 faculty. Penn students travel to protests in Philidelphia (includes a glorious quote by a Wharton sophomore who supports the movement anonymously, saying his sentiments are “not consistent with the general sentiments of Wharton”).”Occupy Wharton” Facebook group is a dud.

Dartmouth – Protesters standing around on a patch of grass apparently want to cure AIDS, stop climate change, and elect Ron Paul.

Princeton – Little online evidence that anybody at Princeton gives a damn, other than one student op-ed calling protesters throwing his support behind the movement after being pleasantly impressed by the  “jobless potheads” and “banjo-strumming hippies”.

If you have any tips or links we should know about, please email us at tips@ivygateblog.com!

RagTime: Conundrum Edition

Would you rather: Join the Penn Quidditch team? Sit through a Billy Joel concert? Or join Cannon Club for the low, low price of $850? Don’t worry, “none of the above” is a viable option. Here are your Tuesday headlines:

  • Brown: Columnist urges us to embrace the present, by arguing that “there are few Jewish men who know how to truly satisfy, or at least that is what my friends say.” Wait … what? [Daily Herald]
  • Columbia: GS student, an openly gay Air Force vet, reflects on the end of DADT. [Spec]
  • Cornell: Gaudy bear statues? Bad. [Daily Sun]
  • Cornell: Jaywalking crackdown? Worse. [Daily Sun]
  • Cornell: Billy Joel concert? Absolutely the WORST. [Daily Sun]
  • Dartmouth: Seniors drop resumes, while Andrew Lohse sits in a dark corner somewhere, feverishly typing an op-ed. [The Dartmouth]
  • Penn: Quidditch jokes write themselves. Why even bother? [The DP]
  • Princeton: Eating club begs for new members. [The Prince]

Plagiarism Enthusiast Defends Plagiarism by Plagiarizing

“Fight the Power” Friday (Part 2)

Kenneth Goldsmith, a English professor at Penn, has a unique take on authorship, that being: Plagiarism ain’t so bad, necessarily!

Goldsmith’s argument (we think) has something to do with authorship being pretentious and paternalistic, especially in our hyper-connected day and age, when information is cycled and recycled millions of times every day, at the speed of an electron. (Maybe?) To that end, he teaches a class each year called “Uncreative Writing,” in which students are actively encouraged to rip-off their classwork from other writers. Seriously.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

Students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering, and stealing.

Aaaanyway: Crimson columnist Isabel E. Kaplan wrote a pointed critique of Goldsmith’s philosophy earlier this week, which basically amounted to, “This is bullshit.” And we were interested in the good professor’s response. So we shot over an email asking what he thought of the criticisms. In his reply, Goldsmith referred to the column as “stupidity,” then threw the question to some former students, at which point things got a little bit weird.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Facepalm Hall of Heroes:

Inductee #2: Penn Student Sends Email, Shames Penn

When we first conceived the Hall of Heroes, our intent was simply to single out Ivy students whose opinions deserved a gentle bit of mocking. But then we happened upon the following story, which doesn’t precisely fit this column’s mission, but certainly produced the same end result: FACEPALM.

Most college seniors are probably sending out a veritable avalanche of cover letters these days. The economy is getting worse, and nobody has a job, so it’s time to pitch your skills like a common whore, at the street corner of every I-bank in lower Manhattan. Pretty standard.

But one unidentified Penn senior, in his job-seeking gusto, accidentally sent out one mass-email to every single person on Wall Street. Wall Street then proceeded to mock him vigorously.

Here is the offending correspondence:

Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 $;31 PM
Subject: University of Pennsylvania Senior interested in Analyst Position upon graduation


My name is <redacted> and I will be graduating from the University of Pennsylvania this may. I am very interested in pursuing a career in investment banking upon graduation and I wanted to know if your firm would be hiring analysts this coming summer. I know you are busy and would appreciate any time you could give me. Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon. My rsum [sic] is attached.

Best regards,


And, behold, an unbelievable screen-grab of the actual email, right after the jump!  Read the rest of this entry »