Re: Move-ees

1

Synecdoche, New York

We had an argument about this one a while back. I was, correctly, on the side that it was boooring and pointless.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:22 PM
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This seems a relevant moment to reiterate this idea:

NetFlix should let you enter a little note to yourself (e.g., "recommended by Bayleaf, for the soundtrack"), and then they'd include the note with the delivery of the movie. Or, to be more eco-friendly, in an e-mail.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:24 PM
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1: it's like you're in the movie, Kraab!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:27 PM
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Dude, that is so meta.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:30 PM
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Synecdoche is a great movie, but I wouldn't watch it on a TV, at home, or alone, or all three or else I would hate it. So, you missed your chance! Get rid of it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:35 PM
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5: Snort. In a movie theater or nothing?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:54 PM
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Ned's list of unwatchable scenarios for Synecdoche leaves open the possibility of watching it on your iphone on a subway. Well, that's always a possibility given time enough, and.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 3-09 11:58 PM
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I think I have said here that Boleyn Sister was a terrible waste of acting talent. I hated it.

Bad history, too, even when compared to Showtime.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:24 AM
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Yeah, I didn't like the Other Boleyn Girl at all. The cast could have been good but the film wasn't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:27 AM
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6: Yes.

Maybe I just cannot get engrossed in things at home. My TV may be too small.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:32 AM
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I had to look up the Edukators. About a kidnapping? Started it and got about 15 minutes into the movie, and stopped, but I don't remember why or that I wasn't enjoying it. Could be very good, no idea.

I will watch Synecdoche when it comes around. I liked the first three Kaufmanns a lot, but didn't like Eternal Sunshine. Sorry, probably the leads. Y'all probaby hate me now.

Movies?

Here's a review of Soderburgh's Girlfriend Experience from the American Leftist which led me to spend a couple hours searching the web and thinking.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:38 AM
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Synechdoche is the most important movie of last year. Its pleasures are hard-won but worth every long minute. It's also funny in bits. It's about death is all.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the best romantic comedy of the millennium thus far. In my book, also the best movie overall, but I'll be conservative with y'all.

The link in 11 has almost persuaded me to see the movie, but I like Hollywood Soderbergh (Ocean's 11, Erin Brockovich) much better than experimental Soderbergh (Schizopolis, Full Frontal) and I think I'm stickin' to it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:58 AM
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Somebody left you a stink bomb - these are three awful, awful movies. Think of it as a kind of karmic test - either you do the right thing by sending them back or your eyeballs will explode and your brain will boil.


Posted by: Sophomore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:25 AM
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Philippa Gregory, who is the author of the book The Other Boleyn Girl on which the movie is based is a lovely and generous person, so I mean to give the book a try - and the movie too. I can't explain why I know her to be a lovely and generous and wonderful person without going into more personal detail than I'd like: but she did a great kindness to someone I love, and she did it in the most generous way - the kind of "You will be doing me a favor if you accept this from me" way that makes kindness a pleasure to accept.

So I'm buying the book, and on the principle that she'll get royalties from the DVD sales, the movie too.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:39 AM
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||

OT Bleg:

Who was it who said that a program for poor people is a poor program? Bevin, Attlee?

Any links to the quote and to the context would be most appreciated.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:01 AM
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12: But... The Limey is so fucking good!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:15 AM
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Most of what I'm seeing on search refers nebulously to the founders or executives of Social Security (also here), or to Milton Friedman.

Whatever the truth is, it certainly makes sense in the context of reformers trying to make a social safety net politically sustainable over the generations by extending it to the middle class.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:16 AM
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Um, I would look at In Place of Fear, where he talks about means testing and `above/below the salt' -- that would be one place Bevan might have said it if he'd said it.

Also good attacks on charity.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:23 AM
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Thanks Keir for correcting my spelling. I was wondering why I was having trouble finding information about means testing quotations from the foreign secretary.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:43 AM
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Synechdoche is the most important movie of last year.

See, I get that other people enjoyed Synechdoche. Tastes differ, after all. But "important"? How so?

I keep seeing similar claims from the movie's fan base, but have yet to see any real explanation for the judgment that it's "important".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:23 AM
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I loved Synechdoche. Absolutely loved it.

The Other Boleyn Girl was staggeringly awful.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:37 AM
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A guy who works for Buck recently mailed us his Netflix copy of The Weatherman, a movie about Nicolas Cage as a Chicago weatherman with a depressingly fucked up family who finds peace through getting a million dollar job in NY and archery, so that Buck could watch it. I'm really not clear what the intended message here was, but it was a terrible, terrible movie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:48 AM
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22: Yeah, what could possibly go wrong with that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:02 AM
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I vaguely remember that I liked The Edukators well enough when I saw it, mostly because it at least tried to take its politics in an interesting direction. The first 2/3 were not bad. And the scenery was quite lovely, although I was watching it on a big screen, so that probably helped.

I like glimpses of other cultures, too, so the everyday clothing, road signs, etc. in Germany were randomly interesting to me where they might not be to others.

The gender roles were pretty annoyingly predictable, IIRC. Oh look! A radical political group, comprised of two men and a woman. Oh look! The woman is somewhat of a pawn. Bah.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:48 AM
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re: 16

In a better and kinder world, I'd look like Terence Stamp. Stamp is like Newman that way. Great looking when young, great looking when old.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:49 AM
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23: "Referral Denied."

Hey JP, I believe we were downhill from your house yesterday - the Boy Scout camp. Nice spot.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:50 AM
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Weird story. I'm inclined to think Harvard is wrong to bar the student from graduating, if she hasn't been charged with a crime.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:56 AM
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"Referral Denied."

Hit refresh when you get to the page.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:59 AM
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28: Nope, still doesn't work.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:02 AM
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27. Seems wrong even if she had been. Clear case of double jeopardy.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:05 AM
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Nope, still doesn't work.

Copy and pasting the address should work. What I did was not actually refresh, but click in the address bar and hit enter. Your right a straight refresh doesn't work.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:05 AM
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27: I'm inclined to agree. She fulfilled her part of the bargain for earning the degree. She did the work. They may believe she did something wrong, and maybe Harvard has some express term that they won't grant a degree to someone who commits certain wrongs, but as you note she was charged with nothing. There is no indication that Harvard has or intends to provide any hearing to test out claims she did something wrong. Forget innocent until proved guilty -- this is presuming guilt with no opportunity to show otherwise.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:13 AM
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The link in 23 is just a picture of the Weatherman movie poster so it probably isn't worth that much effort. Lets see if this would work better Poster


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:14 AM
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21: Say it ain't so! :-(


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:18 AM
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||

Speaking of, watching Blume's commencement via webcast. They have color commentators along the lines of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, nattering on, with special guests and everything. So weird.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:18 AM
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Synecdoche (and I can't believe that misspelling it all those times hasn't called up the Spirit of Nosflow) is like other Kaufman films - it's a great idea, but it's about half a film's worth. (See also: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation). Not that good.

Trivia: Terence Stamp is the "Terry" in the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:25 AM
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21: Say it ain't so!

Which part? Or both?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:28 AM
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re: 36

Yeah, I thought that was widely known. That and the story that Caine tells of Stamp taking revenge on people who were spreading rumours he and Stamp were gay [when they shared a flat].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:30 AM
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synecdoche is not a great movie, but it is good and I enjoyed it. I agree that the last half hour could profitably have been edited down to 10 minutes.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:30 AM
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I like The Other Boleyn Girl, but that might be due to my Henry the VIII fetish.

Syndecdoche sounds like pretentious art house crap, but enough people are into that sort of thing that I wonder if I'm missing something deep. Previous attempts to connect with PAHC have generally left me with the impression that it's masturbatory and more about being superior to the rubes than it is about saying something interesting, but I'm hesitant to write off the opinions of a large number of smart and interesting people. Still my PAHC experiences have generally left me feeling that the time would have been better spent in actual, rather than mental, masturbation.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:31 AM
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See also: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation

Loved both of those also. Maybe I just have a really high tolerance for art house pretentiousness.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:33 AM
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I wrote 41 before seeing 40.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:34 AM
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41: I sorta liked Adaptation, but it's right at the outer limit of my tolerance for self-absorbed art about art.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:42 AM
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Adaptation was worth it for the banana muffin writing process monologue.

I watched The Other Boleyn Girl on an airplane. The costumes were pretty but the story was weak. I haven't seen the other two, but my taste in movies seems to be directly correlated with how well the movie is paced.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:43 AM
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a really high tolerance for art house pretentiousness

For example, I seem to be the only person on Earth who enjoyed Hal Hartley's Flirt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:46 AM
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27 is an extremely weird story. I'm inclined to think it's an iceberg -- mostly hidden.

There is racism aplent at work, I'm sure, but my best guess is that is a genuine reason to deny her the diploma. Harvard's incentives to grant one are pretty strong, so the fact that they're *not* is notable.

Either way, sad story. Lupus is awful, too.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:53 AM
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45: Not the only person. I loved that movie!

In general, big Hal Hartley fan here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:54 AM
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aplent s/b aplenty

Not sure what happened there.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:54 AM
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Comments like 12 and 40, and discussions of aesthetic preferences in general, always make me think that it's basically impossible to understand the subjective experience of others. If somone likes something I hated, or vice versa, it's hard for me to shake the feeling that the poor bastards are making some sort of mistake.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:57 AM
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Woody Allen has complained that he is misconstrued as a filmmaker with especially strong intellectual pretentions, because he claims he really just wants to make good movies. We could argue about Woody, but Being John Malkovich is funny. The fact that it's also really clever shouldn't be held against it.

Adaptation was also quite good, I thought - though not only is it pretentious art-house crap, it's meta-pretentious art-house crap.

I guess I should see Synecdoche.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:57 AM
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41: Quite enjoyed them both too; but you're still conscious that there's a point about an hour in where the cool idea runs out and he starts trying to stretch it to feature length. He should write one-off TV dramas.

the story that Caine tells of Stamp taking revenge on people who were spreading rumours he and Stamp were gay

??


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:58 AM
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46: I can't see any legitimate reason to deny her the diploma and then fail to give an explicit explanation of their justification. You're probably right about the iceberg, but Harvard doesn't have any legitimate interest in secrecy that I can see.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:58 AM
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52: unless the police asked them not to reveal the information.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:00 AM
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Synecdoche is, however, not funny. Also, it's more like meta-meta-pretentious.

If The Other Boleyn Girl is no good, what about Girl in a Pearl Earring? Is there no way at all I can watch Scarlett Johansson in period costumes without the rest of the experience being boring and awful?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:02 AM
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I thought both Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine were not as good as their premises.

Weird, I'm a big Hal Hartley fan, but Flirt didn't register on me at all. I think I saw it (the movie poster looks familiar), but I remember nothing about it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:02 AM
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51.1 sounds about right.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:03 AM
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53: If they're saying she can't graduate because the police told them something in confidence but they're not prosecuting, that's just wrong. Where do they get off relying on untested accusations like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:04 AM
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||

No more kung fu masturbating to Caine.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:04 AM
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57: it sounds like it's an ongoing investigation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:06 AM
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re: 51.2

Apparently Caine had told Stamp that people were saying they were gay. Stamp said nothing.

Then a little while later he disappeared for a bit. After about a week he turned up, and Caine asked him where he'd been.

"You know those blokes who were saying we were gay?"

"yeah"

"I've just fucked all their girlfriends"

[Whiff of 60s misogyny there, of course. I think I may have read the story in David Bailey's autobiography. If not there, somewhere similar. The story is in several places on-line]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:07 AM
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I remember nothing about it.

Same story told in three different settings (NY, Berlin, Tokyo) with a Greek chorus.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:08 AM
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59: But if it's an ongoing investigation they don't know it's going to turn into anything. If you graduate from Harvard, and then murder a bus full of schoolchildren over the summer, they don't retroactively take away your degree -- in the absence of any stated academic misconduct, why is it so important that she not graduate?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:11 AM
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51.1 is pretty much my opinion of Charlie Kaufman stuff, also. I do enjoy them; they usually involve some cute idea and have whimsical fun with it, but run on too long. But I never know what to say to people who think it's just the most brilliant stuff ever. And it doesn't seem to me that the movies take themselves as seriously as many of their fans do.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:11 AM
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62: I assume they have a code of conduct over and above the one for academic conduct. I have no idea what their process is for deciding somebody should be sanctioned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:12 AM
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53: If they're saying she can't graduate because the police told them something in confidence but they're not prosecuting, that's just wrong. Where do they get off relying on untested accusations like that?

The standard for kicking someone out of school or not letting them graduate isn't criminal. Kids get ad boarded at Harvard for a variety of things that don't have to do with academics and don't rise to the level of criminal offenses.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:17 AM
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52: I can think of a half-dozen examples off the top of my head where somebody in a position like Harvard's would be unwilling or actually legally unable to reveal why they were doing what they were doing. They may be protecting another student's privacy, they may be acting in response to an entirely separate incident (weirder things have happened), law enforcement may have informally asked them to do this to try to get her to cooperate as a witness....there are plenty of scenarios.

Also, I'm not at all convinced that the student and her lawyer don't know the reason. It hasn't been publicly revealed, but that doesn't mean they haven't been told.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:17 AM
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The standard for kicking someone out of school or not letting them graduate isn't criminal.

Right. And I'm fully prepared to believe that she's the victim of selective enforcement here, but IMO the solution to that is stronger enforcement against others.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:19 AM
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But she hasn't, as far as I can tell, been 'ad boarded'. There's a process which hasn't been followed, and Harvard's stake in making sure she doesn't graduate if she's engaged in some non-academic misconduct seems too low to justify doing it without process.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:20 AM
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Then there are the Boston Globe articles, which seem to have this subtext of "can you believe someone from Brooklyn came to Harvard with drugs! Drugs at Harvard! Unthinkable!" (A subtext that is much more explicit, and explicitly racist, in the comments sections.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:21 AM
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68: but who knows if the process has been followed. Maybe it's been followed but they kept the details secret? Maybe they're delaying her graduation pending learning more information?

I dunno, I don't think we have remotely enough information to understand what's going on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:22 AM
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Harvard could use more drugs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:22 AM
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Bed-Stuy, do or die!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:23 AM
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I'm contractually obligated to chirp that out in my most honkatacular voice whenever my neighborhood is mentioned.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:24 AM
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but who knows if the process has been followed. Maybe it's been followed but they kept the details secret?

Where's Charley? He can tell us all about how reasonable it is to rely on secret process.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:26 AM
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68: I dunno, I don't think we have remotely enough information to understand what's going on.

Eh, that's true. I'm mostly reacting to 'she finished the coursework and is academically qualified to graduate and she can't?' I can see throwing someone out of college for non-academic misconduct because you don't want them on campus. If they've completed everything they need to do for a degree, and the degree is being withheld as punishment for misconduct rather than simply because the college won't allow them to complete the requirements, that seems wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:27 AM
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75: but again, who knows what the deal really is. As far as I can tell, the only source of information we have on the subject is her and her lawyer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:29 AM
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source(s)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:29 AM
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are


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:30 AM
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As far as I can tell, the only source of information we have on the subject is her and her lawyer.

Sure, which means so far that information is unrebutted.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:34 AM
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I thought The Edukators had its moments, especially in the initial 10 or 15 minutes, but overall it seemed like a cop-out. I much preferred Die Stille nach dem Schuss (The Legend of Rita) (Volker Schlöndorff, 2000), despite the fact that it too had some problems. Going out on a limb, I think it is a very rare US audience that will be able to fully apprehend German movies about the left-insurrectionary tradition in Germany. I do not include myself in such an audience. There's just so much historical context you need before a film like that is anything more than a fairy tale.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:34 AM
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I can't imagine that Harvard would feel itself privileged to do whatever it thought was best, and ignore the opinions of others. Obviously we're not competent to judge such an institution, they're beyond our understanding.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:35 AM
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79: right, and there's all kinds of reasons why that could be the case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:36 AM
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Well, if there were some academic issue keeping her from graduating, I really, really can't see Harvard's reasoning for keeping it under wraps. From the story, I'm pretty comfortable assuming that the issue is non-academic misconduct. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't bet that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:37 AM
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I have no interest at all in defending Harvard. For all I know they're not letting her graduate because they hate black people and do everything Rush Limbaugh tells them to, but drawing conclusions about what's going on based on that article seems pretty silly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:38 AM
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rawing conclusions about what's going on based on that article seems pretty silly.

I'm pretty comfortable concluding that
- Harvard has done something that very greatly damages the reputation and prospects of a student
- Harvard hasn't explained what she did to deserve this, or given her a chance to refute whatever the allegations may be.

That looks pretty bad to me. In the absence of explanatino, I'm going to conclude it's Harvard's sense of privilege and entitlement gone amok.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:44 AM
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there's all kinds of reasons why that could be the case.

I haven't seen one yet that persuades me. They don't want to reveal details about an ongoing investigation? Okay, but that doesn't prevent them from saying, "We have not unilaterally barred her from graduating. We have simply informed her that we will be conducting an investigation and holding a hearing in light of certain very serious information that has come to our attention."

That is, I can see no good reason for them to keep silent about the apparent lack of process if that's not actually the case.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:45 AM
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85: see, that seems pretty much unwarranted to me; it's a murder investigation. Parties in murder investigations get asked not to talk to the press all the time.

But eh, whatever. Hate on Harvard all you want. Even if this isn't a good reason there are certainly plenty of others.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:47 AM
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David Carradine is dead. I loved Kung Fu.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:48 AM
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Even if this isn't a good reason there are certainly plenty of others.

Such as...?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:49 AM
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Whatever, they're Harvard. It's tough to describe if you didn't grow up in Boston.

This still strikes me as a particularly stupid (or at least, particularly likely to be proved hasty) reason to hate on them, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:51 AM
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In re the Harvard student -- I read an earlier article on the matter, and the cops and university are saying that she gave her swipe card to the fellow charged with murder. She says she didn't and was taking a final at the time. This is very odd, since of course at this point both cops and university know who was swiping what, where, and when. Of course, even if her card was used, it doesn't mean she gave it to him.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:52 AM
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Oh, plenty of other reasons to hate on Harvard. Gotcha. I thought you meant plenty of other good reasons for Harvard staying mum.

Still, a list of good reasons to hate on Harvard would prove useful those half dozen times a year my mom brings up how heartbroken she is that I refused to even apply!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:53 AM
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And even if she gave him her card, it doesn't mean she knew he was going over there to kill a guy. I'd be surprised if kids weren't letting friends borrow their swipe cards all the time.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:54 AM
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91: Huh. Campbell insists that her card was not used -- tout court. The cops and university know if this is true or not. Weird.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:56 AM
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Loaning your dorm access card to a non-affiliate seems like a fairly seriously violation of the rules, no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:57 AM
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I mean, even if it didn't end up facilitating a murder.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:58 AM
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Like, seriously.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:58 AM
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32: If they thought that she brought either of those two people on to campus--even just let them in the door, they could have been expelling her for endangering the students at Kirkland House.

Still, it's totally scuzzy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:58 AM
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95: Really? I'm sure when non-affiliated friends came to visit me, I wouldn't have thought twice about giving them the key to go back to my dorm while I went to class or something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:00 AM
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It's one of those 'no big deal unless you get busted' things, probably.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:01 AM
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99: yeah, I think they're a lot more hardcore about that kind of stuff than they used to be, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:01 AM
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87: 85: see, that seems pretty much unwarranted to me; it's a murder investigation. Parties in murder investigations get asked not to talk to the press all the time.

see 86. Saying 'everything is on hold pending an investigation and hearing' is the obvious thing to do.

But eh, whatever. Hate on Harvard all you want. Even if this isn't a good reason there are certainly plenty of others.

There you go again, turning a simple question of proper action into a question of character. It's not about me, it's not about my hating, it's not about whether Harvard is hate-worthy. It's about whether they acted properly towards this student in this instance.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:02 AM
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95/99: I think it is something both that everyone does and that is written up in the handbook as a major no-no.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:02 AM
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101: Yeah, I suppose. I still tend to leave my house unlocked most of the time, so I'm probably not real in tune to the mainstream thinking on security issues.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:02 AM
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But it doesn't at all seem like an instant expulsion offense, though, particularly where, as here, not letting her graduate would be more about punishment than about not letting her live on campus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:02 AM
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see 86. Saying 'everything is on hold pending an investigation and hearing' is the obvious thing to do.

To be fair to Harvard, this does seem to be what she said was in the letter. Or at least 'due to an ongoing investigation'. This looks so draconian partially because it hit right before graduation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:03 AM
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102.last: right, which there's not enough information to judge, from what I can tell reading the article.

Nice one with the "there you go again". Did you do debate in high school?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:04 AM
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I'm wondering if I should head out to the Harvard Alumni Association meeting to hear Steve Chu give the Commencement address. The alumni parade was fun when I did it at my reunion.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:04 AM
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100: "No big deal unless you get busted when someone else was killed." I have a hard time believing they'd expel someone for lending a card to a roommate who had lost their ID, or for a visiting little brother to use while big brother was off at class.

I'm not sure why they're keeping her from graduating in the absence of charges, but I suspect it's not racism as much as it is university image-management gone into over-drive. Harvard had four suicides this year.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:09 AM
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I love seeing the sheriff of Middlesex County in formal day wear adjourn the meeting. Good thing that the grey day came for Matt Lauer, because uhh, I can't stand him. What a lame class day speaker.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:10 AM
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Man, MIT must be feeling threatened for the 'most suicides in Cambridge' title. The joke was that the school colors, red and gray, stood for blood on concrete.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:10 AM
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This looks so draconian partially because it hit right before graduation.

Perhaps the best way to preserve everyone's rights would have been for Harvard to say to her "we'll let you go through the graduation ceremony on the understanding that it's purely ceremonial, and that the actual conferring of your degree depends on the results of investigation and hearing." That'd preserve her repuation, etc., and still allow Harvard to refuse to grant the degree.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:11 AM
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I suppose I should say student deaths. But the rumor is that they were all suicides.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:12 AM
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You bastards made me go look this up. Withholding a degree seems to be standard ad board procedure until a disciplinary issue is resolved:

"Degree status. A student cannot receive a degree before a pending disciplinary case is resolved, or before his or her status in the College is restored to good standing, and ordinarily may not participate in commencement or related activities or exercises."

Ad Board Student Guide


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:13 AM
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I'm wondering if I should head out to the Harvard Alumni Association meeting to hear Steve Chu give the Commencement address. The alumni parade was fun when I did it at my reunion.

You should go rile up an angry mob demanding that they let this woman graduate.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:16 AM
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I'm not sure that having a formal, written rule that says "punishment first, then trial" really makes everything better.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:18 AM
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David Carradine is dead.

Suicide, apparently.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:19 AM
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That's not what the rule says.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:19 AM
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Harvard should definitely have made an exception to their policy in this case, because the offense she's implicated in is so heinous.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:20 AM
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Didn't know about the suicicides. They really haven't ramped up the quality of mental health care much.

I knew a guy who got in trouble after Freshman year for smoking pot in a van owned by the Philips Brooks House, a van which was used to transport kids in summer progrrams. There might have been a late teen with him at the time, but I don't remember.

In order to dismiss somebody you need to get all of the faculty to vote, so the Ad Board--which always was pretty secretive---made him withdraw fro two years. I think that their hope was that he would just move on, but he stayed in the area rather than go back to the reservation in Nebraska, worked and got re-admitted in a year and a half. Since she's done all the work they don't have that kind of stick.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:21 AM
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"offense she's allegedly implicated in", I guess, what with this being a thread full of lawyers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:21 AM
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Just because something sucks, like not being able to walk in graduation, does not mean that it's punishment. Just like if the police legitimately but mistakenly hold you overnight for a crime, and you miss prom, you didn't get punished, you got bad luck.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:22 AM
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122 to 116.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:23 AM
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121 may give the incorrect impression that I think "allegedly" is namby-pamby lawyerese, when in fact I don't have any idea if she's actually involved or not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:23 AM
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That's not what the rule says.

Being deprived of the opportunity to participate in commencement activities is a punishment. The rule says that can happen before resolution of any accusations.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:24 AM
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"No big deal unless you get busted when someone else was killed."

Word.

And god is the bullshit already thick on this. No knowledge of what happened? Jesus. Yeah, the guy who sells weed in your dorm magically got capped by someone who just happens to be dating a friend of yours. And the police say the shooter got into the dorm with your card, which you deny. Maybe the police are guessing, it's not like those cards leave any kind of electronic record or anything.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:26 AM
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101: We had a classmate who lived in one of the Quad houses. He frequently came over to do Greek homework our sophomore year and if it was late he crashed on our study room floor, so much so that we made him a key to the main entrance to the house. The next year he transferred.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:26 AM
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122: But the cops should totally have to pay for your dress and your updo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:26 AM
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125: It's like rain on your wedding day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:26 AM
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to our House which wound up having like a quarter of all the Classics concentrators.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:27 AM
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But being denied the chance to participate in commencement is not 'legitimate but mistaken.' With the police there are countervailing reasons - public safety, flight risk, etc. - that can make detention legitimate. As LB keeps pointing out, Harvard doesn't have a lot at stake in preventing her from participating in the rituals.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:27 AM
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127: yeah, he went to harvard, though. Different when it's a non-affiliate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:28 AM
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Oh, and let's not forget that the guy who got shot was a great guy and a homebody.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:29 AM
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Well maybe it's just shitty P.R. people, but if this is all part of the standard ad board procedure, then Harvard that would have been a better statement from Harvard then that they are taking "appropriate steps."

And sorry, Michael, I think heebie's right. It's not punishment to prohibit her from going through commencement pending the investigation. Presumably, if she were acquitted they'd let her go through a different commencement when she does receive her degree.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:30 AM
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131: I can't figure out if you're arguing that Harvard's disciplinary policy is wrong or if they should make a special exception in this case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:30 AM
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I think it's pretty pro forma not to let someone walk if they're not being conferred a diploma on that day. We had a big to-do last year about writing in an exception for students who were travelling abroad over the summer, and needed that summer credit to graduate but it was somehow an extension of their spring semester, and whether they should be allowed to walk at spring commencement or not.

So if you're deferring the degree pending investigation, they don't get to walk. It's like ten thousand forks when all you need is a spoon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:30 AM
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And the police say the shooter got into the dorm with your card

Has this been straightforwardly said, rather than speculated? If it were true, she has some explaining to do. Also, knowing the guy isn't wrongdoing. I knew a pot dealer at MIT, and was friends with his sister. Didn't mean I had any particular involvement in his activities.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:31 AM
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The Ad Board rules only say so much. For example, there were no provisions for what would happen if you missed an exam without an excuse. Yet it was common knowledge that you could miss one with no reason and make it up midway through the next semester.

(I knew someone who did this on purpose, because she was so busy studying for other exams. The makeup was somewhat easier and she got an A. She now works for McKinsey fir what it's worth--or did as of 2007.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:32 AM
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It's like ten thousand forks when all you need is a spoon.

More like this, really.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:33 AM
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Yeah, the guy who sells weed in your dorm magically got capped by someone who just happens to be dating a friend of yours. And the police say the shooter got into the dorm with your card, which you deny.

Ah, swift, the profession is corrupting you. Guilt by association is not a valid legal theory. Really not even enough for probable cause, which would be the more immediate concern for you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:34 AM
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132: Sure, but now it's swipe keys, and we probably couldn't have done it. They had swipe keys in the Yard and in Apley Court when I was a Junior. The Yard was different, because not all dorms had laundry facilities so there were reasons for other classmates to get in, but only people who lived in Apley Court could swipe their way in there. I think that we would have gotten into trouble for what we did then now.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:34 AM
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Has this been straightforwardly said, rather than speculated?

That's my impression from articles, and that she seems to be making a point of denying it.

Of course, it all might be nothing. But I doubt it.

http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2009/05/26/student_says_harvard_is_wrongly_linking_her_to_campus_murder/

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=528279


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:35 AM
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140: I imagine he's talking pragmatically, not legally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:35 AM
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Presumably, if she were acquitted they'd let her go through a different commencement when she does receive her degree.

Eh, they might say we'll give you your degree if you don't make a fuss about not going through commencement.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:36 AM
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144 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:36 AM
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It's not punishment to prohibit her from going through commencement pending the investigation.

Fair enough, but I think it's a major hit to her reputation. I'm sure that even if she goes through a later ceremony there will be many people who, if asked, could only remember "yeah, there was something against her so they didn't let her graduate." Not to mention all her friends, relatives, etc who will be (for a time, anyway) thinking that there's something wrong with her.

I'm saying it's a bad policy. It's not the ritual that's effective in conferring the degree - or it shouldn't be. The ritual is ritual. If there's an uncertainty, let people participate, because it's less damage to let someone walk the walk and then not get the degree, than to be publicly humiliated and then get a second-class make-up ritual.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:37 AM
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I think it's pretty pro forma not to let someone walk if they're not being conferred a diploma on that day.

It varies by school (my sister just "graduated" from Pitt), but not being permitted to walk if you haven't met the requirements whatever they are (here, remaining in good standing) isn't all that surprising. The question is whether what she's thought to have done is good grounds for not being in good standing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:37 AM
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143: Guilt by association is not valid legally for pragmatic reasons.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:38 AM
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So, as far as I can tell, the only reason we know about this woman's being denied the opportunity to participate in commencement is that she went to the press. Is that wrong?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:38 AM
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I want to hasten to add that I did NOT write 145.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:38 AM
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148: yes, but the oppositional legal process, as manifested in the work of the police and the courts, isn't the same as a random conversation on the internet. Even if you're talking to lawyers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:39 AM
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Here, they don't let you walk unless you will be conferred the degree and return all of your library books and pay all of your fines.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:39 AM
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Rumor has it that they found the murder weapon in someone's room on campus.


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:39 AM
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150: Oh yes you did.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:39 AM
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143: But it doesn't make much sense pragmatically either. Shady people know a whole lot of people who aren't necessarily implicated. Like me!

142: What I see in that story is that authorities said the killer used someone's card, and Chanequa said it wasn't hers. That seems like a reasonable denial if it wasn't, in fact, hers. Doesn't mean that it couldn't have been hers, but I don't think there's an affirmative statement from someone in a position to know that it was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:39 AM
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155.1: I don't necessarily disagree, I was just pointing out that he wasn't using the same standard you would in a courtroom or when making the decision to arrest somebody. Maybe "pragmatically" was the wrong word.

152: but the terrible hit to your reputation!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:43 AM
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The question is whether what she's thought to have done is good grounds for not being in good standing.

The question is, which is to be master—that's all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:43 AM
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Ah, swift, the profession is corrupting you. Guilt by association is not a valid legal theory. Really not even enough for probable cause, which would be the more immediate concern for you.

Heh. Seeing this stuff from the other side has been an eye opener for sure.

Like Sifu said, maybe not enough to get prosecuted. But there's an excellent chance that a boatload of stuff came out of the investigation that was grounds for Harvard get tell her to take a hike.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:44 AM
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Harvard isn't saying anything at all at this point, with good reason.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:44 AM
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A few years back, a convicted sex offender just happened to be dating a friend of mine. Does that make me somehow implicit in whatever it was he did or does in the future?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:47 AM
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Shady people know a whole lot of people who aren't necessarily implicated. Like me!

And it is entirely possible that yes, this poor girl just knows the wrong people.

But I'm guessing that there's a hell of a lot more to this than "she just happened to be an acquaintance".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:48 AM
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er, implicit s/b complicit...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:48 AM
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Heh. Seeing this stuff from the other side has been an eye opener for sure.

Resist, resist, resist! Pragmatism is a wonderful thing, but maintaining the separation between "X is a shady person who knows shady people" and "There's sufficient reason to think X did some specific thing wrong" is key.

(I'll be quiet now and stop being a civil liberties nag. Obviously, you know that, and I don't mean to suggest you don't.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:50 AM
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I will just say that I don't think Harvard's silence is only for the reason that there's an ongoing criminal investigation. They would really almost never talk to the press about their internal disciplinary decisions about individual students, for reasons that are, I think, good overall. People keep trying to import a criminal model onto this process, but it's just not that.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:50 AM
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Heh. Seeing this stuff from the other side has been an eye opener for sure.

Of course this leads to the traditional pitfall; because the obvious answer so often is the case (no, really, the guy holding the bat saying he got beat up by the guy who's bleeding is lying), it's easy to get to a place where your belief in the obvious answer is overdetermined, and rules of thumb lead you to assume guilt in situations where it may not exist. But then luckily there's Di to lawyer you to death!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:50 AM
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Here, they don't let you walk unless you will be conferred the degree and return all of your library books and pay all of your fines.

They won't give you your diploma if you don't do that. I had a classmate who had failed a class and was going to take it over the summer who dressed up and was given an empty folder.

People who take a semester off and are going to graduate in January often choose to walk with their original class before they actually graduate rather than 6 months later.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:50 AM
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165 cont'd: and LB!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:50 AM
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It's too bad that the two girls being denied their diplomas didn't know anyone else on campus, because then Harvard's indiscriminate "guilt-by-association" policy would have been truly exposed.


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:51 AM
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But then luckily there's Di to lawyer you to death!

[/dropping lawyer bat] It was self-defense, honest!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:52 AM
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No, but no one's making that claim that simply knowing someone is sufficient.

She mentions the card, and I will be absolutely unsurprised if the problem is a) how the killer got access to the dorm b) the system says her card was used and c) she was really off taking the final and didn't know about it, or was lending her card to the boyfriend of a friend as anyone would do, and doesn't have anything to do with the crime.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:52 AM
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168: The guilt by association was not in reference to Harvard, but to gswift. Who was invoking guilt by association

Further to 165: I really wanted to protest that I'm not trying to speak as a lawyer here. But this is one of those sad moments when I again recognize that I am no longer capable of thinking like a normal person.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:54 AM
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170: which would certainly present a dilemma for her, if that was the situation; by going to the press, she basically ensured that she would take a reputation hit, but she may well have had reason to believe (from upbringing, among other things) that if she didn't raise a stink Harvard would do their best to make this go away quietly, and her chance of graduating would be lessened.

But, you know, who knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:56 AM
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170: This seems like a reasonable possibility -- I'd also, to be clear, be unsurprised if she turned out to have committed significant misconduct. (Well, maybe a little surprised. I'm having a hard time thinking of what I'd think of as significant misconduct in relation to a murder that wouldn't involve her getting arrested. If she did turn out to have done something wronger than lending a card, presumably there'll be some explanation for why she doesn't seem to be being prosecuted.)

168: Well, the worry (not at all conclusively established, or even a presumption at this point, just a worry) is that it's precisely not an indiscriminate guilt-by-association policy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:57 AM
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"upbringing" isn't the right word. History? Experience? Circumstances?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:58 AM
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She says she didn't lend anyone her card and that it could not be her card. Her lawyer (who, golly, I see here says he has never had a client so "articulate") probably will keep her from saying much else, now that she has one.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:59 AM
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Articulate is a good word, dammit, to describe an ability to use language effortlessly and well. Does this word really have to be off-limits?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:02 AM
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175: Yeah. But that's revealing, in a way; it means the question of the card is on the table, and I would be surprised if Harvard's swipe system isn't tied to the individual. My big question is why this wasn't then resolvable by looking at the logs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:03 AM
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177: presumably it was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:04 AM
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I'm not surprised by everyone judging, but where's the empathy?

The library books and fine thing is a bad analogy because, I presume, one is informed beforehand about the fines and the books and has an opportunity to answer the charges. Although I do vaguely recall a story from SEK about some screw up in the various record keeping systems that caused problems. But those were screw ups, not deliberate policies.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:05 AM
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It wasn't meant to be an analogy. It was meant to show that policies about attending graduation ceremonies and getting one's diploma often have restrictions that have nothing to do with academics. As I said, the question here is whether there's good reason to think she shouldn't be in good standing, and I don't think we have enough evidence to say one way or another.

Except that university cops are often jerks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:09 AM
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177/78: I think it was resolvable by looking at the logs and I think the investigators already know whose card was used. That was probably the second thing they checked after the victim's pulse. I wouldn't be surprised if that is "the information" referred to in the NYT article: "the letter referred to information the Harvard University Police Department said it had obtained about wrongdoing committed by Ms. Campbell in connection with the events of May 18."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:10 AM
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I'm having a hard time thinking of what I'd think of as significant misconduct in relation to a murder that wouldn't involve her getting arrested.

Maybe a bunch of lower level stuff that's not directly related to the murder. All kinds of dirt comes to light when a bunch of detectives start combing through everyone's electronic communications and talking to a bunch of skeevy people.

And maybe not even things that would normally be that egregious. But a dead body has a way of bringing out consequences.

What also might be at play here, and we're not hearing about, is the history with Harvard and the police this girl has, or doesn't have.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:11 AM
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It was meant to show that policies about attending graduation ceremonies and getting one's diploma often have restrictions that have nothing to do with academics. As I said, the question here is whether there's good reason to think she shouldn't be in good standing, and I don't think we have enough evidence to say one way or another.

I went off a little half-cocked at the beginning of this -- it is fair to say that we don't know what's going on, and that holding off on letting her graduate pending an investigation might very well be perfectly reasonable.

But there's a real distinction from library books. The point of not letting someone graduate while they've got books out is that you're trying to compel them to bring themselves into compliance; they're not in good standing, and you want them to be back in good standing before you'll let them walk. This thing, as far as we can tell, is all in the past. Whatever she did, it's done and she's not going to fix it now. So not letting her graduation would be punishment rather than an incentive to comply with requirements going forward.

For the lawyers, I'm thinking about the difference between civil and criminal contempt. A judge can do pretty much whatever they like to you in order to compel you to obey their orders; that's civil contempt, and it's (largely) a matter of judicial whim. If they're going to punish you for what you already did in terms of disobeying them, though, you get a full criminal trial with burdens of proof and innocent until proven guilty -- the whole nine yards.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:16 AM
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As I said, the question here is whether there's good reason to think she shouldn't be in good standing,

I'm concerned with four questions:

1. Would whatever she's accused of justify denying her a degree?
2. Did she do what she's accused of?
3. What's the proper way to answer question 2?
4. Pending an answer, what's the fair way to proceed?

I had a classmate who had failed a class and was going to take it over the summer who dressed up and was given an empty folder.

Thta strikes me as a fair approach to 4 pending resolution of the other questions.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:16 AM
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I think LB made the right point a long time ago, though, in 75: if she's already completed the degree requirements, the university has no good reason to take disciplinary action. Let the police do that, if she committed a crime. She's finished with her classwork and leaving campus, with a degree or without one, so whatever safety issues the disciplinary procedure is meant to resolve for students in the middle of their degree program don't apply. The university has no reasonable motivation that I can see to strip her of her degree (except protecting their reputation, which can surely withstand such a blow).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:16 AM
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as usual, LB in 183 said what I would have said if I were smart and quick and articulate. I am, however, clean: I just showered and did laundry


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:19 AM
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185: The university has no reasonable motivation that I can see

Unless you consider following their own disciplinary policies motivation enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:19 AM
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185 to, among others, 170 and 182. If she did let the guy use her key card, or if other things (what? drug possession? drug dealing?) emerged from the police investigation, I don't see what it has to do with Harvard's decision to let her graduate or not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:19 AM
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The university has no reasonable motivation that I can see to strip her of her degree (except protecting their reputation, which can surely withstand such a blow).

They don't take the degree to be just an academic credential. If she violated community norms or codes of conduct, the University doesn't think she deserves to be rewarded with the degree.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:22 AM
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187 cont'd: I mean, if you're arguing that Harvard's disciplinary policies are unfair or wrong, okay, but that has zip to do with this specific case, unless you can show that they don't apply those disciplinary policies in other situations. Arguing that they should make a special exception for this woman because she raised a stink seems patently weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:23 AM
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Sifu has turned into quite the apologist for The Man.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:25 AM
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182: There's also the possibility that evidence came to light that would be inadmissible in a criminal trial but could be considered in a disciplinary hearing at Harvard.

183: Some of us aren't as familiar with being held in contempt....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:25 AM
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Whatever she did, it's done and she's not going to fix it now. So not letting her graduation would be punishment rather than an incentive to comply with requirements going forward.

As I said earlier, this struck me as university image management more than anything else, but I'm not sure this is right. One usually has to be in good standing in order to continue studies or to graduate, and it's not unusual for conduct to be part of that. And you don't have to go to court over it, either. People can get kicked off campus for any number of reasons that don't go to court.

What's unfortunate here is the timing of the investigation. And I do wonder what's really going on. It's not like Harvard doesn't want its honors students to graduate.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:25 AM
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191: believe me, I don't relish it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:25 AM
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192.2: I could tell you stories about a guy I used to work for... Actually, they'd be identifiable. But they were both contempt-related and epic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:27 AM
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I'm missing something here. If she's got the grades she should get the degree, even if there's film of her killing babies and eating them. End of story. The two issues should not be related. If she's convicted of something, she should go to prison, fine, but having a bachelor's degree which she qualified for while she wasn't maturing her (hypothetical) felonious little plans won't stop that. It's not like she gets Benefit of Clergy by graduating.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:27 AM
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I remember that 10 or 11 years ago there was an Oxford student who was expelled for cheating on her exams. I guess that she'd gotten permission to use a laptop, and she was cutting and pasting whole sections of notes and prewritten paragraphs.

She was quite properly expelled, but it didn't seem to hurt her that much. She already had a job offer at Marks and Spencer's in some management area, and they did not rescind it.

This girl might have trouble with her future employment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:30 AM
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The issue that I think people are missing is that Harvard, like a lot of elite private schools, has all kinds of conduct rules which don't have anything in particular to do with academics, and which can and do affect people's ability to graduate from those institutions. You can argue that these kind of rules are silly and retrograde and do nothing but make the universities look bad, and I'd mostly agree with you. But you're arguing for an overall change in the way that the university operates, rather than anything to do with this case in particular.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:31 AM
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believe me, I don't relish it.

You know what's even more disconcerting? Actually being The Man.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:32 AM
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If she's got the grades she should get the degree, even if there's film of her killing babies and eating them. End of story.

Universities have to leverage withholding of degrees for all kinds of things related to trying to keep the community running smoothly. This isn't unusual.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:33 AM
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Seriously.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:33 AM
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Darn. Stupid slacker, Kobe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:33 AM
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One usually has to be in good standing in order to continue studies or to graduate, and it's not unusual for conduct to be part of that.

The civil/criminal contempt thing I was thinking about is partially related to a distinction between the sort of conduct that makes you (in Harvard's eyes) unworthy of a Harvard degree, and conduct that they'll use the degree as leverage to make you cure. Having library books out doesn't make you a moral leper -- if Harvard had a policy that "Despite the fact that you've paid the fines for all the books you've lost, there are just too many. We can't in good conscience set you loose on the world with a Harvard degree" I'd think they were maniacs. Withholding the degree until you got right with the library is perfectly reasonable, withholding it as punishment for too many late or lost books would be bizarre and awful.

I don't know what they think this woman did exactly, but for it to be reasonable for Harvard to withhold her degree at this point, they'd really have to think she did something not just against the rules, but actually bad. If it comes down to lending her card out without knowing what the consequences were likely to be, that sounds more like a library fine to me. If it's more serious misconduct, punishment could be appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:34 AM
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Universities have to leverage withholding of degrees for all kinds of things related to trying to keep the community running smoothly

Why do universities, but not other organizations, need extrajudicial threats to keep people from breaking the law?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:35 AM
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What 198 said. Beyond that, what's really disconcerting is reading comments on this at the papers. Seriously, do most Bostonians go around hating minorities but squelching it down and just waiting for an appropriate choice to erupt, like a zit?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:35 AM
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198: Well, we don't really know yet what conduct has led the university to withhold her diploma. I dunno, I don't think we have remotely enough information to understand what's going on.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:35 AM
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To follow the line of Sifu's argument, there's a policy, even if it's a stupid policy, that says that students can't be awarded their diploma while disciplinary investigations are open. We'd be livid if, like, Georginia Bloomberg were pressuring people to ignore the rules and let her graduate, right?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:36 AM
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Why do universities, but not other organizations, need extrajudicial threats to keep people from breaking the law?

Huh?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:36 AM
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203.2: and from what I understand -- and which point I think you've conceded, although please correct me if I'm wrong -- it sounds like they haven't made a determination one way or the other, so they're postponing the degree awarding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:37 AM
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203 to 198 and 200. Compliance and punishment are two very separable goals, and what's reasonable toward one end isn't necessarily reasonable toward the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:38 AM
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205: Cala, Google on Joseph Rakes.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:38 AM
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200. No. They can sling out a student for good reason at any time with my goodwill, but I don't see why they should refuse a qualification to someone who's already finished the course.

If you get banged up for illegal downloading next week your alma mater can't rescind your degree - it would be crazy after this time. So what's the difference?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:38 AM
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205: The comments in the NYPost are equally evil and insane.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:40 AM
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209: I have agreed that we don't know what's going on at all yet, so we don't know if Harvard's being unreasonable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:40 AM
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it sounds like they haven't made a determination one way or the other, so they're postponing the degree awarding.

I think they've made an initial determination: she has to withdraw and will not be awarded a degree (that's what the letter conveyed). Now, she has certain pathways she can follow for appealing their decision.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:40 AM
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212: Because they write policies with the goal of keeping the peace among a community of students living on campus, and alumni misbehavior doesn't affect that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:41 AM
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205: most? No. Plenty, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:41 AM
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205: My impression of Boston is not one of racial progressivism, though I'll admit that it's a mostly underinformed impression.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:42 AM
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215: I didn't get that impression -- I thought everything was on hold. But I may have misunderstood a story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:43 AM
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I mean, if you're arguing that Harvard's disciplinary policies are unfair or wrong, okay, but that has zip to do with this specific case, unless you can show that they don't apply those disciplinary policies in other situations.

But you're arguing for an overall change in the way that the university operates, rather than anything to do with this case in particular.

I'm arguing for an overall change, that the policies are unfair and wrong, and that the change should start in this instance. I pick this instance because, well, here it is in front of us. Is this a crazy approach?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:43 AM
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I don't think Boston is particularly worse than any other older northeastern city with a large white working class. Which is to say sure, it's pretty terrible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:43 AM
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216 see 204. If my company judges me guilty of misconduct they can fire me. They can't strip me of my accrued pension rights.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:44 AM
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212: Like I said, I think this is unfortunate timing. The murder happened May 18. She's still a student at that point, in the middle of finals. I don't know what their policy spells out specifically (and I'm not looking it up given that we have no clue what was in the letter that Harvard sent), but I'm not convinced that this is all that crazy. If she had been a junior, would she not be able to be expelled, even if classes were done?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:45 AM
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If it comes down to lending her card out without knowing what the consequences were likely to be, that sounds more like a library fine to me. If it's more serious misconduct, punishment could be appropriate.

This is a moral luck situation, though: it's like the difference between between speeding and speeding that leads to a traffic accident that leads to a death.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:45 AM
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If she had been a junior, would she not be able to be expelled, even if classes were done?

Expelled, yes. Expelled with no credit for the term's academic work, I'd have a problem with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:46 AM
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I'm thinking about this in monetary terms -- if she's lost her Harvard academic record, that's a several hundred thousand dollar fine. That's a hell of a penalty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:47 AM
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I don't think they stripped her of her credits. They just haven't conferred the degree, and I don't know enough about their policy to say whether this is exceptional. (Surely there have to be some Harvard students who have ended up in trouble during senior week or the equivalent before.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:48 AM
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26: 23: "Referral Denied."

Yes, per CJB it was just the poster with Cage in a suit carrying archery gear. Use his link in 33 if you want to see it. Fixing work fuck-ups got in the way of fixing that fuck-up.

Hey JP, I believe we were downhill from your house yesterday - the Boy Scout camp. Nice spot.

Yes, did you get up to the little waterfall? There is a parth down to it from a street near me. When the street got developed there was a narrow right-of-way marked out to permit access to the park that went between two new houses. I made a point of using it every once in a while to keep it from going over to them via adverse possession. (I suspect no one else even knows that it exists.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:50 AM
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222: graduation = credits + compliance w/ handbook. she gets to keep credits.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:50 AM
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So in practice she'd be looking for a school that would take mercy on her and let her transfer four years of Harvard credits, maybe bless them with another semester of work at the new school and then let her graduate from there? So only a ten thousand dollar fine or so, maybe down to five. Still pretty rough.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:53 AM
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219: I'm going from the NY Times article:

"Ms. Campbell, who said she had no part in the shooting, was not charged with any crime, but five days later, she said, a school official gave her a letter telling her that she had to move off campus and would not receive her diploma on Thursday. "


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:55 AM
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230: and a degree from a different institution.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:56 AM
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But: "on Thursday. "


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:57 AM
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If my company judges me guilty of misconduct they can fire me. They can't strip me of my accrued pension rights.

That may depend on the particular contract. I've read cases that dealt with government employees being stripped of accrued pension rights based on malfeasance.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:58 AM
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No, in practice, if this comes to nothing, Harvard confers the degree later this summer. (If it comes to something, then I'm not sure what will happen, but I suspect that would depend on the details, which we don't have.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:58 AM
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Right. That makes the monetary effects much more complicated to figure out -- the more prestigious the merciful school, the more expensive the semester. So she'd be trading off what she can afford in terms of one more semester for whatever the hit to lifetime earnings from a lower-status degree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 10:58 AM
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Or the lifetime hit from the vague recollection in the community that there's something wrong with her, Harvard didn't let her graduate, she musta done something wrong


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:02 AM
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Another movie which can only be seen in a theater: Playtime.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:05 AM
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Or I guess Play Time.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:06 AM
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237: Which, it should be pointed out, wasn't initiated by Harvard. And my sympathies here depend entirely on the details. If it's just the ID (which she says it's not, so what's up, Harvard), then I am very sympathetic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:10 AM
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Which, it should be pointed out, wasn't initiated by Harvard.

Well, failure to award a Harvard degree, if that's how it shakes out in the end, will have been initiated by Harvard. If Harvard gives her the degree in the end, any reputational hit from this having been in the papers is, admittedly, all on her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:12 AM
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I suppose you don't actually need the theater to watch Play Time. You could do it at home with a projector and a blank wall or screen. But you need the large screen, definitely. It should be illegal to watch it any other way.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:13 AM
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If Harvard gives her the degree in the end, any reputational hit from this having been in the papers is, admittedly, all on her.

I disagree. She's not going to be at the ceremony and I assume her name won't be listed in the program. That's the time when people will look around and think "where is she? Why isn't she graduating?" If anyone asks her, she'll have to say "Harvard won't let me graduate now." That's when some of the damage is done, and it is wholly and totally unnecessary.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:16 AM
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Sure. But I know a handful of students who didn't graduate with their class (they were in my summer classes pretending they were just taking extra courses after graduation), and a later conferral isn't a death sentence.

And if she doesn't get the degree, like I said, my sympathies will depend on the reasons. Which we really don't have. I knew two guys at school who were expelled, both for reasons of conduct, and neither of them were in any legal trouble, and in neither of those cases do I think the hardship of having to transfer credits constitutes a significant complaint.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:18 AM
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Nah, that's minimal -- there are all sorts of reasons you could graduate at a funny time, and very little chance that it would be perceived as evidence of wrongdoing. It could, for example, be library fines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:18 AM
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245 to 243.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:19 AM
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True, not a death sentence, and not necessarily indicative of wrongdoing. But I'm suggesting we balance the damage to her from being denied the opportunity to participate and then getting the degree, against the damage to Harvard from allowing her to participate (empty evelope) and then denying the degree. The first seems to me a lot worse than the second, but I do see room for differences of opinion.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:25 AM
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243, 245: But as Sifu acknowledged above, she may justifiably believe that speaking up improves her chances of the degree eventually being conferred. Patient silence makes it easier for Harvard to quietly sweep it, and her, under the rug.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:25 AM
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205
Seriously, do most Bostonians go around hating minorities but squelching it down and just waiting for an appropriate choice to erupt, like a zit?

Newspaper comment sections suck. I've never seen one that didn't. Picture an Insta-lanche to Obsidian Wings on a week when all the front-page posters and the top five regular commenters are mysteriously unavailable. Bland, inoffensive material about controversial topics, without any hierarchy or community norms to keep things honest, let alone civil. That's how good newspaper stories start out.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:26 AM
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The issue that I think people are missing is that Harvard, like a lot of elite private schools, has all kinds of conduct rules which don't have anything in particular to do with academics, and which can and do affect people's ability to graduate from those institutions.

They don't even have to be elite (unless basketball counts). My alma mater has a system called the Honor Court that prosecutes alleged violations of the Honor Code and an agreement to abide by that is signed by every student upon enrollment. The Honor Code has grown over time to include off-campus, extra-curricular behaviors in addition to things like academic cheating. In the '90s a friend of mine was falsely accused of a serious crime and went on trial for it in both the real-world legal system and the Honor Court legal system. The real-world jury acquitted him after minutes - minutes - of deliberation.

Too late for his academic career, though, because the Honor Court had already ordered him expelled after a demonization campaign on the part of the student paper. The Honor Court is staffed entirely by students and the university has bound itself to enforcing their decisions. His reputation was sufficiently destroyed that he moved across the country and then, eventually, across the ocean to get somewhere no one would have any chance of having heard about it already. There was no appeals process and no recourse. He had, IIRC, a B+ or A- average and had taken Honors courses and all that was cut out from under him. He started over with no class credits because his transcripts listed his expulsion for a crime he had demonstrated in court that he did not commit.

I don't know what Harvard's disciplinary system is like at all, and I don't tell this to comment on Harvard. I tell this to agree with Sifu in that universities can have some arcane-ass disciplinary proceedings and may be bound by rules that are or seem arbitrary or unfair and it doesn't matter because (a) they can and (b) the student signed something during freshman orientation stating they would abide by whatever system is in place.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:28 AM
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Yeah. I couldn't walk in the graduation ceremony for my ag engineering masters because I wasn't eligible to graduate until I had passed the EIT (a standardized test not under the control of my school) and the EIT results didn't come out until August. I didn't care in the least.

(It is not standard to have your master's degree dependent on the EIT, but it was the deal we worked out because I didn't have an engineering undergrad degree.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:28 AM
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Seriously, do most Bostonians Americans go around hating minorities but squelching it down and just waiting for an appropriate choice to erupt, like a zit?

Sometimes it seems that way from commenters in newspapers/radio basically everywhere.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:30 AM
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The comments in the SacBee are vile. I don't understand how these are the same people that I see walking around every day.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:31 AM
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250: Wow. That's crazy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:31 AM
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Yeah. I suppose it's not that different than any other article in the NYT, but it still surprised me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:33 AM
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253: Remember that there don't need to be many of them at all; if one in a thousand people in Boston/Sacramento/Wherever feels that way, that's plenty to poison newspaper comments sections.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:35 AM
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250: Man that's awful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:36 AM
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256: there has to be some selection bias to people who are wound up enough (one way or another) to actually write in.

on thing (some) blogs have done is lower the required effort to almost nothing, with predictable results.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:39 AM
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The story I knew from undergrad was like 250, except the guy was guilty and his name wasn't run through the papers. So not much like 250, except for the internal review leading to expulsion. Sometimes the internal boards are useful. In this case, it was a date rape. The woman elected not to prosecute him legally (she had showered and delayed reporting it, and I don't blame her for not wanting to bother), but was willing to testify in university proceedings, where he admitted that she said no, but he thought she didn't mean it. He was expelled, and I don't know whether his credits transferred but I don't think he'd have a good argument that he should have continued because his grades were good (if they were good.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:39 AM
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Hell, many of the comments in the Crimson are super vile.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:43 AM
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252,253:People can say and think horrible thoughts.

Doesn't necessarily, or even usually, mean they will do horrible things.

And people who express beautiful sentiments can bomb Pakistani villages and sell out workers to investment bankers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:44 AM
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It was both crazy and awful and when I read the story linked in 27 my first thought was, Oh, they must have something like the Honor Court and now she's getting fucked over for the crime of knowing Bad People.

The question of the swipe card is most interesting. Those cards, on almost any campus (and most any office) that uses them or similar technologies such as ID badges, are unique to each user. This makes it in theory much easier to track student movements and control access to sensitive locations (such as dorms) but it also creates a new class of asset that can be a tempting target for theft or counterfeiting. My personal guess, were I to make one, would be that the swipe card data shows something damaging to her story and the university can't talk about it yet or that the swipe card system and/or its records are somehow boned or badly designed/implemented such that any information is ambiguous.

If the Harvard swipe cards can be used for any sort of financial transaction then they have unique identification information.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:44 AM
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The problem with 259 is that an 'honor court' run by undergraduates at any institution I can think of probably isn't capable of maintaining the standards of evidence one would like in a difficult case, and could probably be effective turned into a weapon in a dispute if someone were clever about it. Hell, an actual court full of actual professional judges and lawyers doesn't always cut it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:50 AM
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Our I think was administrators and such. And

Universities are really strange animals, because of the emphasis on community.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:52 AM
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He started over with no class credits because his transcripts listed his expulsion for a crime he had demonstrated in court that he did not commit.

At the risk of lawyering you to death, and disavowing any attorney client relationship with all the usual caveats about relying on internet legal advice... But if he was acquitted, I would think publishing on his transcripts that he committed the offense exposes that school to a significant risk of liability for defamation. Statutes of limitations have probably run by now, but that seems a singularly stupid course for the university to take.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:52 AM
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263: Right -- the idea that a bunch of undergrads could expel you from college is horrifying. Having professional grownups do it is no guarantee of justice, but it has to improve the odds.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:53 AM
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The concept of Honour Courts run by students is both totally insane and quite amazingly American.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:54 AM
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265: I was going down that route. But guessing about the facts, the transcript probably doesn't say 'expelled for molesting chickens'. It probably says something more like 'expelled for misconduct', which is true, so not defamatory, and then the nature of the misconduct accused is trivially easy to discover with a little research. There'd be a defamation claim to be had somewhere, but probably not against the university, so not one that was much use.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:56 AM
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268: I'd sue someone anyway.

(No, not really. Trial courts frighten me.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:57 AM
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Cloning a magnetic swipe card is absolutely trivial if you have the right skills and equipment. If there aren't at least a hundred people, if not a thousand, associated with Harvard who could clone a swipe card within minutes, I'll be astonished. Bear in mind that the swipe card technology used for access control is usually less sophisticated than the security technology used for driver's licenses. Any reason a large population of people just under the drinking age might want to be able to clone a driver's license? Any reason to believe a concentration of some of the smartest people in the world wouldn't have cracked this problem so thoroughly it's trivial?

A key takes more expensive and specialized equipment to copy than a swipe card does, especially if it's one of the more sophisticated keys.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:57 AM
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265: I wholeheartedly agree! These aren't systems that are meant to have a clean interface with off-campus life, though. These are systems that are meant to be used purely internally. Honestly, applied well, I think they're a net good. The guy Cala describes should be removed from campus, period. If it's easier for a victim to make an accusation in that setting than in a police station because they feel they have more privacy then I want that available to them. However, in the cases in which I've seen them at work, they were much more opaque and much easier to manipulate. More relevant to the Harvard case, they're much harder for anyone outside the relationship of student-university-"community" to fully understand. There's a wall there of binding codes and agreements that don't apply to the rest of us.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 11:59 AM
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267: It's even pretty bizarre without the undergrad aspect. Given a) the morass of typical academic politics and b) the almost complete lack of faculty or staff with actual qualifications to do such work, holding that such a court would be objective and fair is to me a sick joke.

I know someone who was almost denied tenure due to what can only be described as a coordinated campaign against their candidacy, not for anything they themselves had done nor had not done, but for their research association with another faculty member (in a different department) who was both very unpopular with the people involved (long history there) and as a chaired full professor, essentially untouchable. This action was taking from outside the department involved, on multiple fronts, and very nearly effective.

Now imagine how effectively an undergrad could defend themselves from such attention.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:01 PM
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267. Bravely said, ttaM, and quite true.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:02 PM
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FWIW, I don't know if it's changed since, but for a long time the main complaint about the Ad Board at Harvard was that it didn't have any student representation on it, which kept the nature of its deliberations completely mysterious to the uninitiated.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:02 PM
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I'd be really disturbed by a student-run disciplinary system without appeal to adults working for the college. I can see it as "Absolutely no more panty raids, Delta Phi, unless you want to lose party privileges, and if you appeal to the administration they'll do something worse to you", but with no appeal process or in a serious case, it makes chills go up my spine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:02 PM
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for a long time the main complaint about the Ad Board at Harvard was that it didn't have any student representation on it, which kept the nature of its deliberations completely mysterious to the uninitiated.

Yeah, that was why we had students on various boards like this, too. Not having any student representation was thought to make it unfair. I don't whether there's a good alternative to the system of boards. They're not perfect, but they seem better than systems with no recourse.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:06 PM
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I should have been more explicit in 272 that I certainly don't believe that these boards/courts are typically mendacious or anything. Quite the contrary. I'm certain that most people who serve on them are honestly trying to do the right thing, and that most cases they see are quite straightforward.

That being said though, I don't for a minute believe that a typical one, or even the best examples, cannot be gamed or abused at times, or that fundamentally they have the resources to avoid this. Which is what is troubling about it if they have a final say without practical recourse.

Having some student involvement is a good thing, to maintain some transparency. Having primarily student involvement is probably a bad idea.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:08 PM
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What this thread seems to be pointing up is that we have a legal system for evaluating and potentially punishing malfeasance, and a set of social controls. They're two (or more) different yardsticks, and to my mind, they should be.

We SHOULD have a high bar for charging people with crimes, and a high one for conviction. But we also should have plenty of other ways to censure or revoke privileges of people that do not rise to the level of legal charges.

Of course, both of these systems are fully capable of repeating and magnifying society's existing inequities.

In this specific case, I go back to my "iceberg" comment to say that we don't have nearly enough to go on to figure out whether this is a social control that is way overreacting to something that the legal system has already properly decided not to file charges about, or a social control that is properly reacting to a genuine misdeed, regardless of whether that misdeed rises to the level of legal charges.

If a white-collar professional is generally considered to have murdered his wife, but the police never bring charges, I'm comfortable with his friends or acquaintances deciding they don't buy his explanations and withdrawing their friendship. Social censure and community support or lack thereof does matter.*

*Although the fact that it falls disproportionately on marginalized people is a big problem that I don't know how to solve.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:09 PM
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272 gets it exactly right.

In general, I'm with OFE in 196. Universities give out degrees for academic work; a degree doesn't and shouldn't carry any imprimatur of morality or good citizenship. Academics are pompous enough without thinking they should be the arbiters of community and morality.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:10 PM
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Having primarily student involvement is probably a bad idea.

Solely on the basis that student decisionmakers don't have any real skin in the game -- they insulate the college from the consequences of screwed-up decisions, but aren't worth suing themselves. If people working for the college are screwing stuff up, OTOH, there's recourse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:10 PM
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If a white-collar professional is generally considered to have murdered his wife, but the police never bring charges, I'm comfortable with his friends or acquaintances deciding they don't buy his explanations and withdrawing their friendship.

So am I. But I'm the opposite of comfortable with the HR department calling him in and telling him that they don't like the rumours they're hearing so you're fired, punk.

I know of a similar case IRL, but I'm not going to discuss it because I don't want any risk of it being identified.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:14 PM
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OTOH for Honor Courts: At the University of Minnesota, there is not only a student tribunal, but a University-run police force (which is chartered by the state somehow, and works in concert with the Mpls/St. Paul police forces). However, I've often observed this to work in students' favor. E.g. Leftwing students get busted for a sit-in at a Regent's meeting, University cops arrest them, the regular legal system refrains from getting involved, and the students make their case to a sympathetic student tribunal, which acquits them. Kind of a pressure release valve on the whole system. Now, admittedly, there are some drawbacks there, but it's seemed to work pretty well for keeping campus mellow. After the recent hockey riots though, it was announced that students would be brought up on charges for anything riot-related that happened anywhere -- at the HHH Metrodome, in Madison, etc.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:17 PM
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This thing sounds a lot like the drugs-at-a-fancy-college incident in (the terrible) Fortress of Solitude. Harvard is protecting its own, and its own do not include kids from Bed-Stuy.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:17 PM
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279: I would disagree that degrees do carry imprimaturs of being a good person, or that that's what's going in this specific case. But aside from that, the problem is that universities, especially elite private ones, are also residential communities, which means some of the rules and regulations are going to have to govern daily interactions that aren't directly related to the classroom. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that only legally actionable infractions are the appropriate area of concern.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:17 PM
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If I'm correct in my understanding/recall, as of a few years after the incident in 250 there was a single appeals court added to the process that had on it two faculty members, two students and the designee of a vice chancellor. However, barring unusual circumstances, the first court to hear and decide on any case was entirely staffed by students.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:19 PM
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This thing sounds a lot like the drugs-at-a-fancy-college incident in (the terrible) Fortress of Solitude. Harvard is protecting its own, and its own do not include kids from Bed-Stuy.

Seriously, why does it sound like that to you? Reread what CB posted in 114; this is an example of Harvard doing what its own rules say should be done. If this was, say, some douchebaggy Dubai zillionaire being accused of date rape or a similarly serious offense immediately before graduation, I'd expect them to follow the rules for him, too. I'm sorry there's not a white heiress being accused of complicity in a shooting for a control case here.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:21 PM
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But I'm the opposite of comfortable with the HR department calling him in and telling him that they don't like the rumours they're hearing so you're fired, punk.

How about if people stop patronizing his small business?

(Full disclosure: That's what I did, in real life.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:22 PM
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I could be wrong about this (and the Minnesota example suggests that I am) but I thought student-run "honor codes" and the like were primarily a Southern thing, tied to notions about chivalry among the elite, etc.

My Northern college sentenced me to a few days of community service after I decided to shoot a fire extinguisher at a particularly humorless RA. It wasn't so bad.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:27 PM
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I'm kind of touched and amazed that so many schools apparently have a mechanism set up to enforce their honor codes. Back when I was a militantly self-righteous teenager, one of the things that made me angriest was the fact that people did not seem ashamed or acknowledge any potential consequences of violating the honor code that was printed on all of our blue books. Probably just as well that I wasn't aware of any way to turn them in (other than to the professor).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:30 PM
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288: My best friend from high school went to Wellesley and after a visit from me (and CA and helpy-chalk and like 5 others) she got a month's worth of Bells (sort of dorm community service) from a student disciplinary body. (She allowed men to move vertically!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:30 PM
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my sister just "graduated" from Pitt

Why the quotation marks?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:30 PM
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She allowed men to move vertically!

Wait, what?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:32 PM
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291: I think Cala was pointing out that she was allowed to march in the ceremony, but not yet awarded her diploma.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:32 PM
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I'm uncomfortable with the idea that only legally actionable infractions are the appropriate area of concern.

As am I. If a student threatens another but waits until they're both off-campus to do so, I think the university should be able to do something. If a student steals another's work but waits until the work has been carried in a backpack to the victim's off-campus apartment, that's still a University concern. My main beef is that systems like this have the potential to enjoy a lot of mission creep and have little/no oversight or recourse available.

I agree with togolosh that swipe cards are trivial to reproduce for those who are interested in doing so. I don't know anything like enough about the situation in 27 to know whether anyone involved would have gained anything by having a fake swipe card (and thus she could have not lent the card to anyone and have had "her" card used on the door) but they are definitely not the toughest nut to crack, especially if the goal is simply to copy an existing one.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:33 PM
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292: Men were allowed to move horizontally in dorms (ie, stay on one floor), but not vertically (go to another floor). The problem was the unisex bathroom was one floor up.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:34 PM
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287. Depends how sure you were of your ground. Small businesses are more vulnerable to pitchforks and rough music than corporations with HR departments. There ain't no justice. But that doesn't justify the corporation making the situation worse.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:34 PM
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I'm sorry there's not a white heiress being accused of complicity in a shooting for a control case here.

Part of what's bothering me is that I'm having a hard time visualizing 'complicity' in a shooting that would both be culpable but wouldn't be prosecutable. It's not impossible, but most of the stories I can come up with fall either into the "We have evidence that makes us believe she intentionally facilitated the killer's attack attack on the victim, knowing at least that something criminal was intended," box, in which case I don't know why she's not being arrested, or the "We have evidence that she broke some rule, but not of intentional involvement in the attack" box. In the first case, I'd expect her to have been arrested, in the second case, keeping her from graduating seems overly harsh.

This may just be a failure of imagination -- something like the situation Cala described, with a crime victim who wouldn't press charges in the legal system but would through the university makes sense, but I can't figure it out here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:36 PM
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292: Men were allowed to move horizontally in dorms (ie, stay on one floor), but not vertically (go to another floor).

It boggles my mind that a rule like this could have existed anytime in recent memory.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:36 PM
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because the obvious answer so often is the case (no, really, the guy holding the bat saying he got beat up by the guy who's bleeding is lying), it's easy to get to a place where your belief in the obvious answer is overdetermined, and rules of thumb lead you to assume guilt in situations where it may not exist. But then luckily there's Di to lawyer you to death "Law & Order" to teach you that it's always the guy holding the bat who's the victim.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:36 PM
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The whole idea of signed "morality codes" is fraught with deeper problems. Particularly the ones involving abstinence from actions not only legal, but largely accepted in the society at large and by the peer group involved.

So not only do you have the issue essear brings up, that it is perhaps inept to view the university as a judge of morality and good citizenship, but you have a real problem of abuse of this system.

You simply cannot build a community with rules, you have to actually build the community. And if that community views a rule a antiquated or `not serious', they just won't follow it. We know this, it happens everywhere. So if you have all of your freshmen, during orientation week, sign an agreement including a clause not to ever consume alcohol [or pick your favorite violation of the rules] if they later find out that half the student body goes to bars on the weekend, odds are good many of them will break this 'rule' with the implicit approval of the community.

Since nobody takes it seriously, no harm, right? But if you've got the signed statement, the rule on the books and further more a process of handling violations internal board with the power to expel students, they have a perfect mechanism to get rid of any student they don't like for other reasons. Particularly reasons that do not have real grounds for expulsion (e.g. she's a troublemaker, he's been agitating for a TA union, etc.)

I'd probably argue that all such signed agreements are mostly bullshit anyway, and the social norms you will actually get adherence to are only ever going to be the ones emergent from the community (good or bad). You can try and foster and direct these, but you can rarely create them by decree. To the degree that university communities really are different (and some are, much more than others) this is because most people involved has signed on, not because of threats or rules.

Even if you don't buy that though, for any possibility of just treatment, there must be availability of realistic and practical recourse for a student (or faculty member, or whatever) --- in extreme cases even outside of the local system itself. Anything else will allow people to be railroaded.

It's perfectly reasonable for universities to have and follow a code of academic conduct. It's more problematic to try and control non-academic behavior, but as Cala points out particularly in the case of residential students, you can't avoid being involved to some degree and the may well be actions that are not criminally prosecutable but quite reasonably demand academic action, even to the point of expulsion.

The really sticky point there, though, is how such actions are handled. If it isn't fairly transparent, if it doesn't allow the person under question some input to the process (i.e. requesting the replacement of a particular board member for reasons of personal history) and most fundamentally, if there isn't practical and fair recourse for those who believe their case has been mishandled, well then you have the potential of all sorts of abuse in a system that already typically has a large imbalance of power.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:37 PM
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I think Cala was pointing out that she was allowed to march in the ceremony, but not yet awarded her diploma.

Yup. I teased her about it as much as possible, largely because the ceremony was three hours long. (She has two more classes to take for her master's which will be done at the end of the month.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:38 PM
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298: Oh lord, then you didn't know anyone who went to Wellesley. Stuff like that was thick upon the ground. I wish I could remember the instructions for Bells . . . it was like something from The Group.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:38 PM
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Part of what's bothering me is that I'm having a hard time visualizing 'complicity' in a shooting that would both be culpable but wouldn't be prosecutable.

Right, this is the bizarre part. Particularly anything that would be reasonably actionable by refusing to grant a degree. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it doesn't seem particularly likely.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:41 PM
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My main beef is that systems like this have the potential to enjoy a lot of mission creep and have little/no oversight or recourse available.

Exactly. So much more succinct than my blather above.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:42 PM
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297: Speculation #1. The police don't care if she let the guy into the building by lending her ID if she had no knowledge of the impending crime. The university cares because of some other policy that says don't let townies in the building. This counts as a pending disciplinary procedure which is enough to bar her from grad. Speculation #2. She's clear regarding the shooting itself and the ID, but in the process of the investigation something else against university policy came up.

If it's the first case, this strikes me as university over-reaction but they tend to panic around dead bodies.

300 is excellent.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:44 PM
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303: IANAL, so I'm roundly ignorant of this stuff, but hypothetically, what if:

1. A person sees nothing wrong with lending her swipe card (in general).

2. A friend says "My boyfriend's coming up and he needs a quiet place to conduct his transactions."

3. The person leaves her swipe card with the friend, who passes it on to the boyfriend, who rather than completing his drug sales and going home, gets into a physical altercation with one of his customers [or whatever].

That doesn't fit the facts of this specific case AFAICT (I only skimmed one article). But to me it's a situation in which somebody is "culpable" even if quite likely never to be legally charged. Again, IANAL. Probably there are all kinds of holes in this.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:45 PM
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God, those women's colleges are weird (for the non-Lesbians, at least). I spent a fair amount of time going to see friends at Smith, and it was a bizarro combination of the 1950s and the most hardcore 1990s feminism.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:46 PM
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297. I will join you in exactly that imaginative failure (if such it be). I'm not remotely denigrating Cala's example, but that refers to a much more difficult offense to go public with than what is suggested here. If it comes down to somebody copping a plea on the basis that their tracks are covered, then I find that no more acceptable than any of the other excuses that have been proposed.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:46 PM
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Oh, we don't know the facts and there are all sorts of possibilities (and I could see barring her from graduation this month while even a minor disciplinary matter was resolved). But if the rule-breaking was lending out her card, that's not complicity in a shooting (in the sense Snark suggested) and I'd think keeping her from graduating over it would be irrationally harsh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:50 PM
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I'm taken aback by Sifu & especially Witt's position in this discussion. I suspect dsquared is using their commenting swipe cards while they're occupied elsewhere.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:50 PM
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297, 303: But the whole point of the Ad Board rule listed in 114 is that she can't graduate until the disciplinary case is resolved. If the investigation concludes that she did something criminal (or, as in 305, non-criminal but a major violation of University rules, like letting her non-student friends into the building, where they shot a dude), then presumably they'll do one thing; if it concludes she didn't do anything, or anything actionable, they'll do another. The whole point of the Ad Board rule strikes me as a way for them to treat a pending investigation as not being settled without it seeming like a presumption of guilt. Obviously this makes more sense in an issue of academic integrity than something like this, but that's not how the rules are written. I guarantee you that saying "we should make a special exemption to the rules because of the amazing sympathetic story of this woman's life" will almost instantly morph into "we should make a special exemption to the rules because this student's father will buy us a biology lab in Somerville."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:52 PM
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300 is frighteningly sensible.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:53 PM
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but a major violation of University rules, like letting her non-student friends into the building, where they shot a dude

Again, treating this as a major, rather than a minor violation of University rules appears unjustified to me. Moral luck is all very well, but there's a limit.

Generally, though, I'd agree that if the policy is to keep students from graduating during a pending disciplinary case, that's reasonable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:56 PM
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311: and "we'll make an exception to the rules in a case where it was a non-Harvard student that was killed" is really, really not good for town-gown relations.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:57 PM
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312: Of course is it -- soup's a Royal subject Canadian.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 12:59 PM
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If she's being kept from graduating temporarily, pending an investigation, that's one thing. But forcing her to move out of the dorm on pain of a trespassing charge sounds much harsher and more final. And yeah, maybe she's complicit in some non-criminal way that still breaks Harvard rules in a serious manner (contributing to an unsafe environment for other students, for example). Most of the details aren't public. But I'm with LB in 297, and the whole thing just smells fishy to me. My gut suspicion is that Harvard is acting in a manner consistent with its rules and procedures that nevertheless involves a racial/class element in the judgment calls that have been made.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:00 PM
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is it s/b it is


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:00 PM
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re: 315

Ah, of course. Nearly one us.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:01 PM
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It boggles my mind that a rule like this could have existed anytime in recent memory.

When I was a sophomore (early '90s) UNC finally got around to reexamining their old restrictions on "room visits" which formally banned people from being in the room of someone of the opposite gender past some ridiculous hour like 9pm. The rules didn't take into account the contemporary facts on the ground, such as that I lived on a mixed-sex floor and had a female RA and thus technically she was banned from entering my room to police other banned behaviors if I did them late enough at night. It was precisely the sort of stupid, unobserved, outdated rule as described in 300 and it was used as a bludgeon precisely as described in 300. When the University started to think about just maybe kinda talking about the possibility that onedayeventually it would go away, there was outcry from the usual conservative suspects (aged alumni, conservative parents, etc.). The rule was so widely unobserved (and my own dating life so unconcerned with it) that I don't even remember whether or not they lifted it.

I am going to print 304 and carry it around with me because if I live to be a hundred years old it will likely be the only time anyone ever calls me succinct.

I'll note that the circumstances described so well in 300 are exactly the context in which sodomy laws applied and were used prior to Lawrence. They were used highly selectively and more popular as a tool to be used against "lifestyles" than against sex acts.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:02 PM
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Men were allowed to move horizontally in dorms (ie, stay on one floor), but not vertically (go to another floor). The problem was the unisex bathroom was one floor up.

Also, I kept jumping up and down.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:02 PM
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Generally, though, I'd agree that if the policy is to keep students from graduating during a pending disciplinary case, that's reasonable.

That's true, although the sensible thing there would seem to be allowing them to walk, but conferring the actual degree, or not, later.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:03 PM
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315/318 both, actually.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:04 PM
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As far as I can tell, there are so few public facts about this case that it's absolutely impossible to tell what's going on, even to the point of fruitful speculation. The main point of the NY Times story seemed to be that the Harvard student in question enjoys going to Italy (imagine that . . . black and from Bed-Stuy, and she loves Italy!).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:06 PM
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But forcing her to move out of the dorm on pain of a trespassing charge sounds much harsher and more final.

Yes, this is a problematic part. If you are being held back from graduating pending review, that's one thing. If you're being summarily tossed out and denied the degree you have otherwise already earned, it demands a rather higher standard of evidence and offence to be reasonable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:07 PM
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I'm taken aback by Sifu & especially Witt's position in this discussion.

Which part?

(If it's re: 287, years later I still feel morally queasy about it, but I honestly could not force myself to go back after I talked to him.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:07 PM
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319: I have fond memories of E. Howard Hunt writing an angry letter to my alumni magazine after seeing a picture of male and female students sharing a room in one of the campus co-ops.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:08 PM
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forcing her to move out of the dorm

And this seems as though a preliminary determination has been made that she's dangerous, which seems unlikely in context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:10 PM
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Or that whatever determination there was just put her in violation of housing rules.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:11 PM
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Possibly they have some indication that she had some involvement in dealing of the sort that happens on every campus and generally isn't a problem until it is, and when somebody gets killed, it is in a big way. Still moral luck, but a bigger deal than just the swipe card. But who knows? Universities don't and shouldn't talk much publicly about student discipline.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:14 PM
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As far as we can tell, no final determination has been made, right? Telling her to move out in advance of a final determination would seem to me to make sense only if there were good reason to think that she was a danger or a nuisance to other students.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:14 PM
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329: Yeah, I'd speculated along those lines, but felt weird bringing it up in the absence of anything specific in the story to support it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:15 PM
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|| OT bleg

If you send a cashier's check using your own bank does your account information appear on it? A cashier's check is better than a money order, right?

I have to deal with this collections' agency which told me that they won't rehabilitate the loan, but the University said that they recommended that the loan be rehabilitated and that if I run into trouble I can have them call the University person directly. Yay!

I still don't want them getting their grubby hands on my checking account numbers and plan to send all payments by certified mail.

|>

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:17 PM
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330: No idea how their disciplinary rules work. It's also the end of the semester. Here non-graduating students have 24 hours following finals to leave student housing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:18 PM
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When we paid for something using a bank draft, the only information on it was the bank's. We paid the bank, so to speal, and the bank wrote their check.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:19 PM
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329/331: but this is again very tenuous. What standard of evidence allows you to decide on of your students has been "involved in dealing" but doesn't provide enough for criminal charges along the same route. The word of other students (right after this shooting? really?). I would think the police would be plenty interested in prosecuting a "drug ring responsible for the shooting at Harvard" if there was any sense in it.

But as you say, there really isn't much information. What we do have smells fishy, is all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:20 PM
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No, your response in 287 is more than fine by my lights (and a truly terrible situation). Social ostracization by an individual has a much lower threshhold than institutional action.

I'm surprised that you seem willing to assume that the unseen evidence is likely on Harvard's side, substantially and procedurally. You're usually much more skeptical of those in power.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:20 PM
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336 to 325.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:20 PM
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330: But if she was done with finals already, there's not a whole lot of harm there. I agree that the story as presented is very weird, and schools are skittish enough about dead people in their dorms that it's plausible that Harvard overreacted, but it's not that hard to come up with a plausible scenario in which Harvard's actions would look like a sensible blend of risk mitigation and policy compliance.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:21 PM
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I should note that part of why I still care about all this Honor Court business and how it is applied is that it is possible that at some point my job could involve referring students to the Honor Court or offering information/opinions related to such cases. I know I would do so fairly (and it's unlikely I would ever have to, anyway for boring reasons) but I'm an engineer so I reflexively worry about everyone else being a moron.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:21 PM
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I know I would do so fairly

Still, I think you should bring each case before the Mineshaft to be sure.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:23 PM
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335: Agreed.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:24 PM
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339: Things I've learned in almost 20 years of lawyering: determined morons can defeat any procedural safeguards.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:26 PM
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One other thing -- if I understand the story correctly, the case involves someone who was murdered inside a Harvard dorm. That's got to be an huge freak-out moment for the University and its administrators (how often has this happened? can't be very often) so it seems plausible to me that the University administrators are overreaching and overreacting. For the same reason that particularly horrible crimes often see breaches in police procedure or people getting railroaded.

But since there's no real information on what's going on, who's to say?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:26 PM
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If she's being kept from graduating temporarily, pending an investigation, that's one thing. But forcing her to move out of the dorm on pain of a trespassing charge sounds much harsher and more final.

Harvard sucks about stuff like that. They did that to a student in the 90's who went to UHS after-hours depressed and suicidal. They sent him to a local hospital, because the psychiatrist on call was unwilling to come in.

Because he went in an ambulance, that triggered a whole bunhc of things even though he admitted himself voluntarily. UHS wouldn't let him walk over or take a cab.

He had arranged to stay in student housing to cover Commencement for one of the newspapers, but they kicked him out. His off-campus advisor offered to let him stay at his place, but the University said that he couldn't do that and threatened his employment, so this gay kid had to go back home to a homophic town depressed.

Now if the kid had been rich with good private insurance and deep family pockets he would have been wise to go to a private hospital directly. Then the University wouldn't have had to know and he could have stayed in a hotel.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:26 PM
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Things I've learned in almost 20 years of lawyering: determined morons can defeat any procedural safeguards.

That sounds entirely plausible.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:28 PM
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|| Further to 332

I still plan to report their asses to the various attorneys general once I no longer have to deal with them.

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Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:29 PM
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332, 346: But yay! it sounds as if you've got it under control.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:32 PM
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336: Ah, I see. Yeah, my perspective is probably colored by having been on the other [i.e., Harvard] side of the fence a couple of times recently, and my gut sense that Harvard values the appearance of its liberal reputation enough that they wouldn't do something like this completely cavalierly.

My comments above about the disproportionate impact on marginalized people still stand, though.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:32 PM
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Further to 343: The Jeanne Cleary Act is a weird factor here, because by all accounts it was only thanks to the extremely, extremely, even heroically tenacious efforts of her family that it even got passed, since colleges reeeaaaalllllly didn't want to be forced to report crime rates on campus, and in fact still often do everything they can to avoid classifying things as crimes.

And yet, having passed, and having this data out there and the whole issue of campus crime a bit more standardized as part of public discussion, does force universities into a strange realm of risk-mitigation. E.g., parents could hypothetically sue the school for not having through a potentially dangerous student off campus.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:37 PM
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||
Another high point reached in American talk radio (huffpo)
|>


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:37 PM
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hmmm. well that link didn't work. Try this one


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:38 PM
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349: The litigation risk is there with or without the Clery Act, and administrative types do really really hate even the thought of getting sued. Plus working in student affairs seems to create a general sense of beleaguerment, IM(L)E.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:45 PM
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351: I'm sure B will be along any minute to explain that they were just joking.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:47 PM
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352: Also relevant is 114. Harvard doesn't seem to need, by their own policy, to have to substantiate much more than a *pending* investigation to have the unfortunate effect of delaying her graduation. I have to think the investigation has to be nearly automatic following a murder on campus. (And this was only two weeks ago.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:53 PM
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B blogged that last week, I think.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:54 PM
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Re: Murder at Harvard. In 1995 right before the end of spring finals an Ethiopian student murdered her Vietnamese-American roommate in Dunster House and then killed herself.

That was really messed up, and there were serious mental health issues involved. The head of psychiatry at UHS said that like many Harvard students the woman had probably been embrassed to seek help.

The only thing is that she had sought help, had been given no medication for her disorder and several times begged for the frequency of her visits to be increased.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:58 PM
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A student of mine recently ran in to problem very similar to the one BG described. She basically told university heath services that she was thinking about harming herself and others and was told immediately that she had to voluntarily commit herself or they would try to commit her. She was then told that she had to go to the psych ward by ambulance or they would kick her out of housing. She complied with all of it, albeit angrily. There was then some talk that if she tried to check herself out after 72 hrs, even though it was a voluntary commitment, they would kick her out of housing. That turned out not to be the case and she did check herself out. She was furious with the school, but I don't really see what else they could have done, especially since we have a pretty high suicide rate and the administration is hell bent on fixing that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:04 PM
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Harvard doesn't seem to need, by their own policy, to have to substantiate much more than a *pending* investigation to have the unfortunate effect of delaying her graduation.

True. They adopted such a policy, presumably after careful and deliberate consideration. The unfortunate effect wasn't the result of panic after this tragedy, but of a long-held policy. There were people here making choices. I'm not saying it necessarily went down like this, but as long as we're allowing ourselves to "come up with a plausible scenario", here's a really tendentious and polemically overwrought one:

First Administrator: maybe we shouldn't deny people the chance to participate in the ceremony before there's a finding of wrong.

Second administrator: But there'll be pictures. What if there is guilt? There'll be pictures of this terrible, terrible wrongdoer in a Harvard graduation ceremony. Think how that will embarrass us.

First administrator: You're right. The embarrassment to Harvard far, far outweighs the embarrassment to the student. Students don't feel things as deeply as we do.

I remember hearing about the case mentioned in 356. It's another example, for me, of the embarrassment to Harvard from admitting that the place sometimes derives students crazy outweighing the possible damage to students.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:10 PM
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Speaking of movies, can anyone recommend stuff that I should add to my Netflix cue? Slumdog Millionaires is en route, and here's the rest of my list

Blue
White
Red

Billy Elliot
I've Loved You So Long

Cars
Fool's Gold

I've already seen the Three Colors trilogy, but I'm making my BF watch it. I need a few compromise semi-escapist movies. He found Rachel Getting Married hard to watch, and we had to do it in stages, but he did like light entertainment in the Form of Marley and Me which I found really dumb. I don't hate all mainstream stuff--and I don't always want to be serious--but I refuse to watch teh Da Vinci code.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:12 PM
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I'm responsible for 359.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:14 PM
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Going out on a limb, I think it is a very rare US audience that will be able to fully apprehend German movies about the left-insurrectionary tradition in Germany. I do not include myself in such an audience. There's just so much historical context you need before a film like that is anything more than a fairy tale.

A lot of that movie plays on the kidnapped guy's identity as an Achtundsechsiger (68er), which has very specific associations in Germany that don't map on to American hippies or anti-war protesters.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:20 PM
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oudemia, I got the story from 344 from a book about the Dunster murder/suicide. The thing about the student who wasn't allowed on campus or in his advisor's apartment is that the hospital felt that he was ready to go as long as he had good follow up care in the community (ahem). But they wouldn't let him go unless he had a place to go to, and his summer housing rental was owned by the University, and they wouldn't let him into the apartment,so he had to go back to Kentucky and wasn't allowed back for at least a year. Good outpatient psychiatry seems like it could have done a lot of good here, but Harvard doesn't actually care about the mental health of its students.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:22 PM
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The guy in 344 didn't want to harm others at all, and he may not have been suicidal. He was just in severe distress, and the psychiatrist on call was too lazy to come in to do an evaluation.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:24 PM
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359: Death at a Funeral is very, very funny.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:25 PM
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BG, you should watch Night and the City and Rififi.

Night and the City has an awesome scene with a fat man and a cymbal.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:26 PM
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And Yi Yi.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:27 PM
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i saw the edukators on a genuinely terrible date, but it was still a worthwhile movie. it had some comic bits, i don't know anything about german leftiness so that was interesting, and it was the first time i heard jeff buckley's cover of 'grace', so i would probably remember it fondly regardless of content.


Posted by: juliaf | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:27 PM
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Normally I would hesitate to return to a topic so long discarded, but since it has some bearing on the title of the post, I want to step up for Charlie Kaufman.

20: I get that other people enjoyed Synechdoche. Tastes differ, after all. But "important"? How so?

Important in that it took art and death as its subject, and took them seriously, reductio ad/theater of the absurdum all the way down. I didn't think its heaviness was one of pretension but of real effort. Messy, grody death propels the main character through his gesamtkunstwerk with such fury that it and his life are grandiose failures. But that failure respects the scope of his ambition for the art, and the stakes of just living.

It's not a joyful movie. And I like a little more gaiety -- I can be impatient with depressiveness in art. SK in 1, I was surprised to see your harsh reaction to it; I thought you might respond to it well, because of how you've spoken of anhedonia before.

A lot of this is trying to get at my gut reaction, and I thought the movie deserved a second viewing. Manohla Dargis gets at some of it here.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:29 PM
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358: Maybe, but I suspect the policy was more like this: Q: Does a student need to be in good standing to graduate? A: Yes. Q. What about pending investigations? A: They probably should be concluded before anything is decided.

Or,
Q: How do we keep them from burning the place down during senior week?
A: Make it so that if they have a pending disciplinary investigation, they can't walk.

I don't expect it's a fear of non-graduates being photographed in academic garb, as BG says they permit summer grads to walk.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:31 PM
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Death at a Funeral is very, very funny.

This, however, is just weird.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:32 PM
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Oh, good, we're back on movies anyway!

BG, you guys should go through Preston Sturges' work--my favorite is Sullivan's Travels, and then do all the other great comedies of remarriage: Adam's Rib, The Philadelphia Story, and His Girl Friday for starters. Light of touch, but never mindless.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:32 PM
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The scene with the cymabl starts at 3:25.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:32 PM
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355: B blogged that last week, I think.

Hmmm, I didn't find it. The incident happened on May 28th. But maybe I missed her post and am somehow overlooking it now.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:33 PM
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371: The Awful Truth!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:34 PM
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Ah, different context, same subject.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:36 PM
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Also, AWB is right in 16 that The Limey is excellent. I think that's because Soderbergh is taking apart someone else's script, rather than verbalizing his own wacky ideas which come off as undercooked Pirandello.

The worst of it is when the experimental stuff infects the Hollywood stuff. The "Julia Roberts' character looks like Julia Roberts" scam in Ocean's 12 ruined ruined ruined what was otherwise a fun celebrity romp. I happen to enjoy a good fun celebrity romps, and that gesture was an infantile thumb in the eye to my suspension of disbelief.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:37 PM
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374 is exactly right.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:38 PM
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376: She really should have responded: "And you look just like Matt Damon! This will be an easy scam!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:38 PM
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The "Julia Roberts' character looks like Julia Roberts" scam in Ocean's 12 ruined ruined ruined what was otherwise a fun celebrity romp.

ON THE OTHER HAND, when, in His Girl Friday, Cary Grant's character describes Ralph Bellamy's character as looking "like that fellow in the movies—Ralph Bellamy", it is fantastic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:40 PM
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Researchers have shown that dialogue is 75% funnier if delivered by Cary Grant.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:42 PM
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And 38% less funny when delivered by Julia Roberts. The combined effect is pretty strong.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:43 PM
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I liked The Lady Eve much more than Sullivan's Travels, due to mean Barbaray Stanwyck and hilarious Henry Fonda in the former and too many clever in-jokes in the latter. Concur about The Limey.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:44 PM
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I haven't read past the 50s in this thread but . . .

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the best romantic comedy of the millennium thus far. In my book, also the best movie overall, but I'll be conservative with y'all.

I'm sticking with Ghost World as my favorite movie, and favorite romantic comedy of the millennium.

45: Not the only person. I loved that movie!

I like it, I didn't love it, but I have (cautiously) endorsed Flirt in comments at this very site.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:45 PM
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Holiday!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:45 PM
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I too prefer The Lady Eve to Sullivan's Travels.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:46 PM
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384 is precisely correct. As is 385.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:47 PM
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Why does everyone think that Henry Fonda acting like a doofus is so funny? I love Barbara Stanwyck, but The Lady Eve is well-nigh unbearable.

Sullivan's Travels OTOH, is adorable.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:48 PM
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dialogue is 75% funnier if delivered by Cary Grant

Arsenic and Old Lace cracks me up time and again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:51 PM
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Because Peter Fonda was so great in The Limey, and because the doofus is against the type he played later.

Like that Borges essay where Kafka creates his own predecessors.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:53 PM
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Heh. I've never seen Ocean's 12, but that sounds like the plot of Notting Hill, which I confess I liked. And Vanilla Sky. I always think it's weird when A-list celebrities have leading roles as fictional celebrities indistinguishable from themselves.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:53 PM
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I've liked most of Cameron Crowe's movies. Vanilla Sky, Jerry McGuire, and ALmost Famous were all good movies about celebrity each starring celebrities.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:59 PM
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390: Isn't that ones full title Oceans 12: we made more money than expected remaking a 50s film, so we're having another go ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 2:59 PM
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390: Peter Falk as himself as an angel in Wings of Desire was good.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:01 PM
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In Notting Hill she plays a celebrity and the movie is an explicit comment, of whatever caliber, on celebrity. (It's an adorable movie.)

In Ocean's 12, she plays the wife of Danny Ocean, who is played by George Clooney. The entire operation rests on the wholly imaginary premise that beautiful criminals pal around in lush settings and rip off sleazy people who have it coming. To suddenly stand up and say "I can see your wires, Mary Martin!" deflates the entire thing and mocks the audience for taking pleasure in it. And it's not clever.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:04 PM
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This has surely already been said, but NMM to David Carradine. Sorry, Marian.

Speaking of Marian, you know what's a good and under-watched movie? The Devil and Miss Jones. I think I've mentioned this movie here before.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:05 PM
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I just saw that His Girl Friday is airing on the big screen later this summer. I'm hoping to go see it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:06 PM
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Mary Martin, they don't come any closer than that now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:08 PM
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||

Initial misreading I think I'm just going to go with: "furry" for "furlough."

|>


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:17 PM
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I take two furry days a month, personally.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:20 PM
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You know what was a really wacky movie? Palm Beach Story. Really, wacky!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:22 PM
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We all knew you were a furvert.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:22 PM
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I want to see Brand on the Brain.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:23 PM
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Excuse me. Brand Upon the Brain.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:24 PM
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Excuse me again. Brand upon the Brain.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:25 PM
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This has surely already been said, but NMM to David Carradine.

It has. But what's the ruling if the no-more-masturbating moment came while masturbating?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:33 PM
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369: apo, the English one or the one with Chris Rock?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:34 PM
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Messy, grody death propels the main character through his gesamtkunstwerk with such fury that it and his life are grandiose failures.

You say "gesamtkunstwerk," I say "whatevs." Seriously, I understand that sentence only in the most literal sense; I don't really get it at all, and I honestly don't care.

That may be because I can't relate to such a driving need for self-expression nor to the fear of oblivion. Willy Loman's despair breaks my heart; Caden Cotard's just makes me want to tell him to either get over himself or go live in a cave somewhere.

I'm sure I'm being too literal about the movie, much like someone could be about Godot. ("But why do they keep waiting if he never shows up?") It may be Kaufman's intent that the experience of watching Synechode feels like being muffled under a blanket, but that doesn't make it any less tedious.

I think I'm not the right audience. I wouldn't be surprised if the fan base skewed toward men and artists, though obviously neither is necessary nor sufficient.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:34 PM
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These budget cuts have gone just about fur enough.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:36 PM
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The one with Chris Rock hasn't been released yet, has it? I only learned of that one today, actually.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:37 PM
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Yeah, his gesamtkunstwerk is ridiculous, that's the problem.

Many of the devices used to signal how caught up in his work he's gotten, like his losing track of time and whatnot, functioned for me much more as alienation effects.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:38 PM
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Peter Falk as himself as an angel in Wings of Desire was good.

I would love to see Wings of Desire again on a real screen. So beautiful.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:38 PM
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men and artists, though obviously neither is necessary

Men are too necessary. Opening jars and killing spiders, yo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:39 PM
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The scene at which I think I became completely divested from the film was his meeting with his dying daughter.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:39 PM
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412: Spiders oughtn't to be killed. Mosquito eaters, yo. Jars, I'll give you. (But what if I don't need any jars?)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:41 PM
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Only an animal or a god could live without jars.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:42 PM
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409: Yeah probably, but it already showed up on Netflix.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:42 PM
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Is there a reason I would dislike Synecdoche if I liked 8 1/2, because these sound like the same movie?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:44 PM
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Anyway, yeah, the British one. Lots of fun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:44 PM
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406/09: Chris Rock is an interesting dude. Because of this and because he also remade L'amour l'après-midi, aka Chloe in the Afternoon. Speaking of which, BG, I'd recommend all 6 of Rohmer's Moral Tales. And the 4 Seasons. And almost all Rohmer, really.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:46 PM
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Is there such a thing as a non-ridiculous gesamtkunstwerk?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:48 PM
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The strangest part about the Chris Rock remake is that it's going to be directed by Neil LaBute.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:50 PM
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I'm very good at opening jars myself.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:53 PM
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Yeah, his gesamtkunstwerk is ridiculous, that's the problem.

It is and it isn't. On the one hand, it's little more than "I have a map of the United States, life size". The title even gets itself wrong -- it's not a part standing in for the whole, it's the whole standing in for the whole. (But there's no upstate city called Schimulacrum.) It's the only artwork big enough to contain Caden's tininess.

I can't relate to such a driving need for self-expression nor to the fear of oblivion. Willy Loman's despair breaks my heart; Caden Cotard's just makes me want to tell him to either get over himself or go live in a cave somewhere.

I don't know that I can defend the movie against this charge, but I also think it doesn't undo it for me. I suppose we're riding the gusty bus.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:55 PM
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It's the only artwork big enough to contain Caden's tininess.

Your paradoxical reversal of naïve intuition defeats me!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:58 PM
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425

422: Aw, I still use read's "pook" trick. I like it when I can solve my problems by jabbing knives at them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:58 PM
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426

I'm very good at opening jars myself.

Sure, take away half of apo's purpose in life.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 3:59 PM
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427

I like it when I can solve my problems by jabbing knives at them.

Hypothesis: essentially all of lifes problems are either solved or escalated by jabbing knives at them vigorously.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:00 PM
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428

424: To be fair, you're easily defeated.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:03 PM
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429

I'm still pondering 415. That's wonderful, neb.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:05 PM
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430

Rififi is great, but Bob le Flambeur is better so nyah to Nosflow.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:08 PM
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431

That's not even true. I'm just ashamed of not having his insight about jars, so I'm lashing out.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:09 PM
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432

I've never seen this Bob le Flambeur movie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:10 PM
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433

If we are talking French gangster movies, then I propose Touchez pas au grisbi.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:12 PM
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434

As re 379, there's a meta-meta bit in the film version of Arsenic and Old Lace, in which Jonathan gets angry when told he looks like Boris Karloff. The film's Jonathan is played by Raymond Massey (so of course he would get angry!), whereas the part was originated on stage and written for Boris Karloff (so of course he would get angry!).

In other news, I think it's utterly fantastic that Boris Karloff just made up his name and then it was stolen by H. Rider Haggard.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:12 PM
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435

432 - Any Melville? Le Circle rouge or Le Samourai? Or the less-typical but quite good L'Armée des ombres?

Le samourai is hugely influential, but I think not asactually good as Melville's other Alain Deloin movies. (The heist scene in Red Circle is even more extended than that of Rififi, although not shot in a similarly tension-inducing way.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:16 PM
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436

Cinephile please. Le Samouraï.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:18 PM
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437

re: 430

The remake with Nick Nolte is OK, too. Partly because of Nutsa Kukhianidze's voice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:21 PM
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438

I think it's utterly fantastic that Boris Karloff just made up his name and then it was stolen by H. Rider Haggard.

I don't know what you're talking about here, but I think it's utterly fantastic that Arshile Gorky made up his name and claimed to be related to Maxim Gorky, who also made up his name.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:21 PM
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439

437 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:22 PM
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440

I'm very good at opening jars myself.

Only because rough men stand ready to do violence to jars on your behalf.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:33 PM
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441

From way, way back:

Trivia: Terence Stamp is the "Terry" in the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset".

Ray Davies says otherwise.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:37 PM
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442

Well, I think it's fantastic that Karloff's (estranged) great-aunt was Anna Leonowens, popularized as Anna in "The King and I"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:40 PM
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443

<em><strong>I</strong></em> think it's SUPER FANTASTIC that Galen Strawson was briefly a member of Henry Cow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:41 PM
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444

yes, but you would, wouldn't you?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:43 PM
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445

It is highly characteristic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:45 PM
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446

426: hey, I'm not saying it's not nice to have someone open my jar for me now aand then. Just that it's not absolutely necessary.

440: sure, imagining rough men who stand ready sometimes helps.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:47 PM
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447

I detect subtext.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:50 PM
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448

Fair enough Di; after all you shouldn't be dependent on anyone to open your jar.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:52 PM
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449

446 hey, I'm not saying it's not nice to have someone open my jar for me now aand then. Just that it's not absolutely necessary.

Other people just don't always know how to produce that satisfying "pook".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:54 PM
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450

At some point I will set aside my aversion to Cary Grant for long enough to watch Arsenic and Old Lace. It was on tv just a few days ago.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:57 PM
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451

Of course, Ogged in his entrepeneurial genius already solved the jar opening problem.

Fact: It's a zillion times easier to open a stubborn jar lid if you have some rubber between your hands and the lid to give you a better grip.
Fact: Everyone in America will soon be eighty.
Fact: If you market a thin, durable slice of rubber, about the size of a washcloth, with an attached no-muss 3M-style adhesive hook for hanging it somewhere, you'll become a millionaire.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 4:59 PM
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452

my aversion to Cary Grant

I . . . what?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:00 PM
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453

Entrepreneurial even


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:01 PM
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454

I think it's been covered elsewhere in the archives, where I don't think I could come up with any definite reasons, but I pretty much can't stand him, with maybe the exception of His Girl Friday which I watched sometime after that thread.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:03 PM
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455

451: Yeah, it's just too bad ogged was pwned like 80 years ago, as discussed extensively in that thread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:08 PM
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456

At some point I will set aside my aversion to Cary Grant for long enough to watch Arsenic and Old Lace. It was on tv just a few days ago.

Netflix has it available on Instant, too, if you're a member.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:10 PM
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457

"Member" should be "subscriber."


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:10 PM
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458

454: I can understand how some of Grant's characters could come off as smug and/or precious if you don't like those sorts of characters. That's not the same as hating all of Grant's performances, though. Plus, eb is obviously insane.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:12 PM
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459

entrepeneurial

I like this coinage -- it combines entrepreneurialness with penury.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:14 PM
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460

I refuse to go back and look, but I'm pretty sure somebody in that thread (was it eb?) confessed to not being able to differentiate between Cary Grant and Clark Gable, which alone is sufficient to disqualify him/her from opining on either actor.

414.1: seconded.

425: I miss read.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:16 PM
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461

"Member" should be "subscriber."

That's what she said.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:20 PM
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462

459: Good. For a minute, I thought no one was going to get the joke...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:22 PM
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463

460.3: It's all about the "pook," huh?


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:23 PM
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464

458: Yes, I think that's probably true. I looked at his imdb entry and his movies I've seen are almost all Hitchcock movies, so that affects the type of performance.

460: That wasn't me. I think I've only seen one Clark Gable movie and I remember it. Also, I liked it, or at least most of it - It Happened One Night kind of lags at the end.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:30 PM
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465

it combines entrepreneurialness with penurypenis

Fixed that 4 U.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:31 PM
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466

Further response to 460: if this is the thread you're remembering, it's not the thread I'm remembering. I actually commented in the thread I'm remembering.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:35 PM
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467

423: What's "the gusty bus"? Googling didn't help (and seemed to involve a fair amount of Italian).


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:37 PM
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468

There's no googling for tastes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:42 PM
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469

http://www.bartleby.com/59/3/degustibusno.html


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:46 PM
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470

468: nice


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 5:52 PM
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471

re: 443

I didn't know that. He was an examiner for my previous thesis [not the doctoral one, the Bee Phil]. Slightly harsh, I thought at the time, but in retrospect maybe not ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:01 PM
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472

I have read that Clark Gable had absolutely dire halitosis, which made the kissing scenes in most of his movies somewhat awkward.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:38 PM
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473

472: I read that, too! I will forever have a soft spot for Clark, though, because of his heartbreak over Carole Lombard. Also, Carole Lombard was a dirty dame and I admire that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:41 PM
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474

Em, STRONG, I STRONG, em, think it's SUPER FANTASTIC that Galen Strawson was briefly a member of Henry Cow.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PRETENTIOUS CAVEMAN | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 6:48 PM
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475

I liked 8 1/2, but I don't want to be a plausible target of Kraab's 407, so I'm going to assume that 8 1/2 and Synecdoche are nothing at all alike.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:10 PM
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476

it's utterly fantastic that Arshile Gorky made up his name and claimed to be related to Maxim Gorky, who also made up his name.

You know, you're right about that.


Posted by: mcmc Gorky | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 7:25 PM
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477

313

Again, treating this as a major, rather than a minor violation of University rules appears unjustified to me. Moral luck is all very well, but there's a limit.

I don't agree. It may be a minor violation if no harm results but if you improperly lend your card and it is used to facilitate an armed robbery resulting in a murder that is a major violation. And it is not just luck, it shows very bad judgement in who you lent your card to.

Drunk driving is usually a fairly minor offense but if you run into a school bus and 25 little children burn to death you are in big trouble.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:31 PM
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478

In my usual mode of being a couple of hundred comments behind the actual topic, I'd like to note that this business of letting people walk when they aren't getting a diploma strikes me as daft. You walk, they hand you the real diploma, you're done. You're not getting the diploma right this minute, you don't go up there. This doesn't seem complicated. If they're getting the degree late but want to walk, let them do it next year.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:38 PM
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479

At my school, not only do they not give you the diploma onstage, anybody can walk at any time (they don't check). You write your name (phonetically) on a piece of paper and hand it to the person, who reads it aloud. They don't give a crap who you are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:44 PM
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480

And it is not just luck, it shows very bad judgement in who you lent your card to.

I suppose you would administer an IQ test before lending out your card?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 8:47 PM
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481

Back in 2005 the Harvard student in question allegedly stole a blank check from a fellow student, made it out to herself for $300, and then redeemed it. Somehow she was caught.

This is not especially relevant, but I think it suggests that Harvard's threshold for denying someone a diploma is somewhat higher than what has been implied by some commenters.


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 9:03 PM
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482

This is not especially relevant

Not a surprise for anyone involved in law enforcement or who has run in the right circles. Forgery is par for the course with junkies.

This is the kind of thing I was wondering about when I referred to history in 182. And yeah, we don't know she's a junkie. But she just happens to know the local drug dealer as well as the guy who shot and killed said drug dealer in a botched robbery. And the shooter just might have used her access card. Just saying.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 1:31 AM
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483

Eh, I don't see any reason at all to think she's a "junkie." As far as running in the right circles, I mean, the only guy who's been charged so far, you know he's the son of a retired NYPD cop, right?

It may be noteworthy that there were three men involved in the murder, and only one of them is in police custody. I don't think this person (the boyfriend of a Harvard student) is believed to have pulled the trigger.

My point in bringing up the "history" was to cast some doubt on this idea that Harvard is just looking to toss its black students to the wolves at the earliest opportunity, if they're not from the "right background."


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 4:13 AM
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484

Belatedly: surely allowing men to move from one floor of a dorm to another is allowing them to move diagonally, not vertically, given that the movement would be accomplished using stairs? Or are dorm floors at Wellesley only connected by elevator? (Or ladder? Paternoster lift? Fireman's pole?)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 4:46 AM
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485

And yeah, we don't know she's a junkie. But she just happens to know the local drug dealer

I haven't seen any drug mentioned in these articles except for marijuana, which doesn't seem to support your "junkie" picture.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 4:55 AM
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486

See what happens when you start working for The Man?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 5:05 AM
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487

My innocence is lost!

Hmm, what would make an otherwise bright young woman steal a blank check and make it out herself so she could cash it? (strokes chin, looks thoughtfully off into the distance)


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 9:08 AM
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488

That'd be awesome if there were poles between floors and you had to hoist yourself up hand over hand to visit your upstairs friend.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-09 9:16 AM
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