Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Higher Education

A great news story can brighten your day. Case in point -- "5 brainiacs grabbed in frat-house drug sting" crows this morning's front page of The NY Daily News, just above its punning headline: "Ivy Sleaze"

Yeah...there was a drug bust at Columbia. Shocking, I know, but the action took place at the row of grungy frat houses on W114th Street, across from the campus. I mean, who'da thunk it? And this was not a case of law enforcement on steroids, that is, police overreacting to a group of geeky kids smoking weed. Hardcore stuff was being dealt. LOTS of cash changed hands. Some fun facts: acid-laced Sweetarts and Altoids were part of the seized stash.

Here's what I'm wondering. What took the cops so long to figure this out? The campus is crawling with drugs and drowning in underage drinking (but probably not more than most private university campuses, to be fair.) Late on a Friday night, about three weeks ago, I had the honor of talking with 3 uber-stoned kids who just returned from a party in one of the dorms. It was an entertaining and illuminating conversation...if you enjoy talking with people whose brains are not functioning properly. (At this point I should mention that I live in a Columbia-owned building and this encounter took place therein.)

And as I posted on Facebook earlier this morning, Big Babe's residential advisor was dealing coke out of her Carman room when he was a freshman at Columbia. (My son emailed this morning to correct me. She was only using. And sharing. My bad.) I learned then about the market in Adderall, the must-have medicine to make it through midterms and finals. There is frequently vomit on the sidewalk outside of our apartment on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Uh, President Bollinger? We have a problem.

It's not obvious? Perhaps the posses of half-naked girls stumbling down Broadway on their way to off-campus parties might be a clue, because when you're wasted, you don't notice how cold you are (see my previous post). When Asian undergrads storm Hamilton Deli for munchies at 2 am and then hang out on Amsterdam Avenue, laughing hysterically, you know you have a problem.

There is lots of glorious coverage of this one. Just Google "Columbia drug bust" sit back and enjoy the show.

I am avidly awaiting the letter from Lee Bollinger. Already twice this semester Goucher College students heard from its president Sandy Ungar about the newly outta-control drug and alcohol culture on the formerly sleepy campus. Property was being trashed, kids were being rushed to the ER , fires were being set. The bottom line was that he didn't want to attend the funeral of a campus kid as a result of over-indulgence. The bottom line was that he was taking the campus back...and he asked the Goucher student body to stand with him.

Middle Babe, my daughter, a senior who will be graduating from Goucher once she hands in her philosophy papers next week, voiced disbelief that her lame-ass college has joined the pantheon of party animal houses of higher learning. This distinction lends her refined alma mater a bit of street cred.

I do wonder how the local drug bust is going down with the Columbia student body, now that the "brainiacs" are revealed to be big-time badasses. I heard that friends of friends of the dealers (aka, users) are feeling that uniquely adolescent sense of rage against the hypocritical adult world as well as sadness for these promising lads' lives being ruined. It is incredibly sad. A future is a terrible thing to waste.

There's obviously way more to say about this saga, including the knee-jerk explanation by at least one of the students that they were dealing to handle the tuition. That will be for another blog. I've got classes to attend, papers to write. In the meantime, here's the report from

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