Young Harris College has a problem….

I came across an interesting article in Jezebel about Young Harris College, a small liberal arts college here in North Georgia. Two fired professors and one student have filed suit against the college claiming violation of Title IX of the Educational Amendments 1972 and negligence laws. They claim the administration censored a story from its campus paper regarding extreme hazing activities.

The student, Jo Hannah Burch, was a full time student in the fall of 2011. She pledged Gamma Psi sorority and began what they called an “education period.” Over a course of several nights Burch was subjected to severe “rituals” by sorority members including alumni. Burch was also subjected to mud crawls in cold weather and sexually charged “rituals” and forced to endure blaring heavy metal music. Some of the activities left Burch badly bruised. She made a decision not to join the sorority.

In March 2012, Burch met with student affairs vice president Susan Rogers to tell of her experiences which resulted in a suspension of Gamma Psi, but no individuals would be disciplined. Rogers told Burch it would not be wise to file a police report because the members would probably sue her.

Burch’s father contacted Cathy Cox, school president, regarding Gamma Psi and her cavalier reply was, “these things happen.”

Theresa Crapanzano, a visiting professor and Burch’s adviser at the campus paper, The Enota Echoes, talked with Burch regarding her experiences at Gamma Psi. Crapanzano and communications faculty member, Joseph Terry, began investigating hazing at the school for an article to be published in the campus paper.

Some of the allegations included sexual abusive acts including

Forcing ‘sweethearts’ (female members of male fraternities) to stand naked and be judged by the fraternity members…..
Forcing both female and male pledges to stand in a pool of water in which the older pledges have urinated or defecated in….
Forcing male pledges to engage in ‘elephant crawls’ through a creek, during which the pledges crawl one behind another, with each pledge’s face planted between the buttocks of the pledge in front of him….

In investigating hazing, it had become obvious that hazing had been a long time problem and an edition of the school paper had several articles discussing hazing dated 1989.

In April 2012 a meeting was called by Cathy Cox to discuss hazing policy, events at Gamma Psi and allegations of faculty members participating in the hazing activities. Cox said the allegations could not be substantiated. Crapanzano disagreed and in a recording Cox can be heard saying, “We can step outside and fight about it all day.”

An article discussing the allegations was to be published in the campus paper. The administration required “pre-clearance” from the campus attorney before publication. President Cox soon informed the two professors the article was to be killed.

Within a few weeks both professors were terminated.

Young Harris College’s spokesman Jay Stroman called the lawsuit outrageous.

The college has a no-hazing policy, and we take it extremely seriously,” Stroman said. “The student development office investigated it, determined that at some level something went on. And immediately took action.

The representative attorney for Crapanzano, Terry and Burch said the college’s actions against them were out of pure anger.

It’s pretty clear, based on the way they treated these two individuals, that they were angry with them, they were upset with them. Both of them had excellent performance from the job reviews,” said James Radford, the attorney who filed the suit.

The college has until May 28 to answer to the lawsuit.

Several things are really bothering me about this.

One obvious thing Ms. Burch went through a really bad experience and suffered consequences of calling people out. Ms. Burch was told that the sorority members would be the victims and can sue her if she filed a police report.

President Cox telling a parent “these things happen” and later saying the allegations of the professors could not be substantiated.

There have been only two local news reports on this matter.

Mailing list

This ran yesterday, so you might have missed it.

I wanted to do something to show my appreciation for your support through the years, and since there are so many things I’m no longer comfortable sharing with the general public, or don’t have the time to do on a daily basis, here’s your chance.

Or for now, you can sign up here. (No, I won’t know who you are.) The first newsletter will go out sometime next week.

After this post passes, you can always sign up in the right-hand column.

The bankers are unhappy

So I’m happy! Matt Taibbi with some news that is making bankers very, very unhappy:

Minds are changing on Too Big to Fail. A month ago, it was just something in the air. Now, it looks like we’re headed for a real legislative confrontation. And man, is the finance sector freaking.

Last week, on April 24th, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Louisiana Republican David Vitter introduced legislation called the “Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act of 2013 Act,” or the “Brown-Vitter TBTF Act” for short. The bill is a gun aimed directly at the head of the Too-Big-To-Fail beast.

During the Dodd-Frank negotiations a few years ago, Brown teamed up with Delaware Democrat Ted Kaufman to introduce an amendment that would have physically capped the size of the biggest banks. The amendment was bold and righteous but was slaughtered on the floor by a 61-33 margin, undermined by leaders of both parties – 27 Democrats voted against it.

Brown-Vitter offers a different and, in a way, more elegant solution to the problem than Brown-Kaufman. Rather than impose size limits, it simply insists that banks with over $500 billion in assets maintain higher capital reserves than are currently required. Companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America will have to keep capital reserves of about 15 percent, about twice the current amount.
Continue Reading →

The revolving door

tomwheelerRemember when Obama promised not to appoint any lobbyists? Ha, ha!

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama intends to nominate veteran Rep. Melvin Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator that oversees lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he has chosen a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission, according to White House officials.

If confirmed by the Senate for the FHFA post, Watt, a North Carolina Democrat who has been in Congress for 20 years, would replace Edward DeMarco, an appointee of President George W. Bush, who has been a target of housing advocates, liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Also on Wednesday, Obama plans to nominate Tom Wheeler, one of his top campaign fundraisers, as the country’s top telecommunications regulator. He is expected to name FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve as acting chairwoman while Wheeler awaits Senate confirmation.

Wheeler raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election effort, according to data provided by the campaign. He also contributed more than $17,000 combined to Obama’s re-election and to several Senate campaigns, including Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine’s successful effort.

Maybe it’s time we bought our own lobbyist?

Here we go again

You have to hand it to the Republicans — they keep pushing the same evil ideas and they never give up. (Unlike the Democrats, who don’t even try.)

In a bid for women’s support and votes, the GOP launched an aggressive ad campaign on “mommy blogs” on Tuesday. The ads will tout its deceptively titled Working Families Flexibility Actthat would weaken overtime pay laws:

The banner ads will be featured on over 100 websites popular among women and geo-targeted to be viewed by residents in 20 Democratic-held congressional districts targeted by the GOP for 2014. […]

The $20,000 ad buy, running on sites including and through Friday, will call on Democrats to vote with House Republicans next week on a bill to give hourly private sector workers more flexibility to choose between compensatory time and cash payment for overtime work.

“Tell Rep. Kyrsten Sinema you shouldn’t have to choose between work and family,” reads one ad set to run in Sinema’s suburban Phoenix district. “Will Rep. Collin Peterson stand up for working moms?” reads another that’s slated to run in Peterson’s western Minnesota district. The banner ads link to a petition site calling on lawmakers to support “more freedom for working moms.”

There’s no doubt that many Americans are overworked and in need of policies that better allow them to balance their families and their jobs. But the GOP’s solution is not much of a solution at all. Rather than giving workers the ability to accrue paid leave through regular working hours, it would instead allow workers and employers to trade traditional time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours for compensatory time off.


They always tell us they’re just stories, and then they find proof they weren’t. This story’s 12 years old, but it’s still cool:

For centuries, Heracleion was believed to be a legend, much like the fabled city of Atlantis.
But 12 years ago, underwater archaeologist Dr Franck Goddio was searching the Egyptian coastline for French warships from the 18th century battle of the Nile, but instead stumbled across the treasures of the lost city.

After removing layers of sand and mud, divers discovered evidence of extraordinary wealth, painting a picture of what life was like in Heracleion, believed to have been at the centre of Mediterranean trade more than 1,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found remains of more than 64 ships, buried in the seabed four miles off the coast of Egypt, the largest number of ancient ships ever to be found in one place.

As well as 700 anchors, the team have dug up gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone which would have been used in trade and to calculate taxation rates.

Men on top


Business as usual in Vatican City!

Pope Francis has reaffirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s rebuke of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters and approved a plan to place the group under the control of three U.S. bishops, according to the Vatican.

Reaffirmation of the move came in a meeting Monday between the leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to a statement from the Vatican.

During the meeting, the Vatican said, Müller told the LCWR leaders that he had “recently discussed” the issue with Pope Francis, “who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform.”

The meeting was the first between LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the United States’ approximately 57,000 sisters, and Müller, who became head of the doctrinal congregation in July.

LCWR confirmed that its leadership met with Vatican officials in a statement Monday and said the conversation was “open and frank.”

I hope the nuns tell them to fuck off, metaphorically speaking.

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