Monday, August 25, 2008

Penn State Summer 2008 in Review

Welcome back Penn State students. While you were off picking up a few dollars with summer jobs to help pay your skyrocketing tuition bills or your bar tabs, things did not stand still in Hapless Valley. Here then is a round up of the summer highlights you may have missed.

In May, the Board of Trustees approved a new facilities fee for University Park students over the objection of University Park undergraduate student leaders. But don't worry a new advisory group, which will include student representatives, is in the works to provide easily ignored input on how the fee should be used. At the next BOT meeting in July, the trustees voted in favor of facility fees at the Commonwealth campuses. This had the support of the Commonwealth student governments, but that may have been the result of some heavy lobbying on the part of Old Main. The amount of the fee at each campus was determined based on the advise of the Chancellor of the campus, although back when the the Commonwealth student government voted in favor of the fee the press reported that the fees at each campus would be based on the recommendation of the campus allocation committee. These committees have strong student representation. Ah, but by July no one was paying attention.

Also in May, David Jones, a Harrisburg Patriot-News sportswriter, wrote a series of articles based on an interview he did with Graham. Graham related a story to Jones about his father which he said he hadn't shared with many people...that is unless you count the time that he told the whole Penn State community in his inaugural address. What a weasel.

Of course, it should be of no surprise that Graham's first act after being hired as president of Penn State, even before he officially took office, was to put the Old Main propaganda shop under his direct control.

In some positive news, the Dean of the Eberly College of Science didn't pimp the Rent-A-Nobel-Laureate, Barry Marshall. But the Old Main propaganda shop, in late May, did pimp a thirty-out-of-thirty place ranking of Hershey's Children's Hospital. However, they failed mention that Pitt and Penn cleaned their clocks on this set of rankings.

June brought two more rankings of medical schools. The first concerned conflict-of-interest policies with regard to pharmaceutical company perks. Pitt and Penn both ranked well. In fact, Pitt did very, very well. What about Penn State? Not so much. Hershey wouldn't cooperate with the group doing the ranking. Then came the other ranking which was pimped on the Penn State Propaganda Portal with the headline, "Penn State Hershey Medical Center ranked among the Top 100 hospitals." You just have to read about this ranking to understand the absurdity of that headline.

Of course, no discussion of Penn State rankings would be complete without a mention of the Princeton Review top party school honors. This year Penn State was back in the top five at number three.On cue, one of Penn State's professional bullshit artists sallied forth to explain why no one should take the Princeton Review ranking seriously. Well, except for the Penn State bullshit artist who had touted the results from some other Princeton Review rankings that they liked on the University's Web site. That is until they decided to scrub the Web site. You gotta love that festering swamp on Pollack Rd.

Penn State wants to be known as a business friendly university. This summer they demonstrated what that means when they undertook an advertising campaign on behalf of Hershey's Chocolates. They seem to be having trouble grasping the whole conflict-of-interest thing.

When Graham isn't smooching business interests, he has lips planted firmly on DOD's butt. Go read his nuanced take on his buddy Defense Secretary Robert Gates Minerva Project and then read this.

In the it could have been worse file, Crime Scene University, featuring Penn State's forensic science program, began airing this summer.

While tution and fees keep shooting up at Penn State, it appears that Graham still flys around on University owned jets.

We also learned this summer that the PLCB is concerned that Penn State might use PLCB money for propaganda. Smart folks there at the PLCB.

Finally, this month we learned a bit about how justice usually works in Center County. Fortunately for Mifflin Streaker Elizabeth Burke Centre County justice didn't take its usual course: her charges were dismissed. Penn State chief bullshit artist Bill Mahon used the opportunity to explain Old Main's educational philosophy.

That brings us to the new academic year. Let's clean off our waders as we prepare to walk hip deep in all the bullshit that Old Main will be shoveling our way.

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