Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eli Thanks the Committee

Via various unnamed sources comes this landmark decision about slipping disacknowledgements into your thesis. The Plaintiff, sued various and sundry at UCSB for refusing to accept his master's thesis after he had slipped in two extra pages (commented on here and there)

To the Dean and staff of the Graduate Division,

You fascists are the largest argument against higher education there has ever been. Any claims you make as an ally and resource for students is an utter sham. All dealings with you have ended in sheer frustration. I'd rather take a hot stick in the eye then deal with your bureaucratic nonsense. An especial disacknowledgement to David Fishman whose officious, blind devotion to absurd rules provides disservice to both education and the university.

To the entire management of the Davidson Library,

Your strict adherence to self-serving draconian policy has made it a supreme displeasure to work in your vicinity. Incomprehensible fines, unwillingness to help and general poor attitude has made most library visits an ogre. I trust your incompetence will preside over the continued decline in library quality.

To Professor Fred Wudl (formerly of UCSB, tenured at UCLA),

For failing to realize that your professorship and tenure doesn't give you the privilege of disrespectful and cruel treatment of your students and employees. Further, it has surprised me that your arrogance and proclivity at being an ass can affect even those isolated from your presence. It is my supreme pleasure to never have associations with you again.

To Former Governor Pete Wilson,

A supreme government jerk who has personally overseen the demise of the university. You policies have 1) raised tuition and fees fourfold since my first association with the university, 2) dismantled and traded some of the most competent senior faculty, and 3) generally hurt as many people as possible. For these, I wish you to never wield any governmental power again as you have surely proved your ineptitude.

To the UC Regents,

Whose continued suppression of graduate students, your most loyal employees, serves as a paragon of corrupt management. May your continually biased and corrupt practices be fraught with continued controversies brought upon by the students who you offer a fatuous disservice.


To Science,

For being a hollow specter of what you should be. Your vapid conceits have rendered those in your pursuit lifeless, unfeeling zombies. If I can forever escape you, the better I will be.

Eli recommends reading the entire decision without hot drinks in hand. Somehow Brown got free representation from Arnold and Porter but in the end the appeals court agreed there was no Federal issue, but remanded because there may have been a state one.
We hold that Plaintiff does not have a First Amendment right to have his nonconforming thesis approved, nor did he have a right to a formal hearing with respect to his committee's academic decision not to approve the thesis. As a result, Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiff's damages claims, and Plaintiff cannot compel Defendants to place the unapproved version of his thesis in the UCSB library.

Because the district court did not address Plaintiff's claim under the California Constitution, we remand the case to the district court to resolve it on the merits or dismiss it.
e.g. even a Research Assistant's union can't force a committee to accept a thesis, which is a good thing, but, OTOH there is more gold in them thar hills, including an additional opinion which notes that as part of it's evidence UCSB provided an acceptable acknowledgement

To: 1) the dips**ts who decided to put the P-chemists on the forth [sic] floor, 2) the inept facilities management monkey who raised the cooling water pressure and 3) the dumb ass who left his cooling water ON for a laser that was OFF for 2 years and subsequently flooded my lab, desk, and my most important files: may your bloated, limb-less bodies wash to shore and be picked clean by seabirds and maggots....
Eli might have had a personal relationship with that laser a long time ago. Just sayin:) There is, of course, more to the story. Turns out that the university awarded Brown's degree about a year later when he sic'd ABC news on the Dean
On May 11, 2000, a producer for "ABC's Nightly News with Peter Jennings" contacted Brown expressing interest in learning more about his struggle with the administration over his disacknowledgments section. University officials spoke with the producer on May 14, 2000 and Brown was interviewed on May 15, 2000. The very next day, Brown received a letter via Federal Express stating that the university had decided to award him a degree. The university contends that the timing was coincidence, that the Dean had requested a departmental recommendation on Brown's status a month before the interviews were conducted, and that the interview with university officials actually took place after they had decided to award Brown a degree.
News at eleven: Deans Lie, if we are lucky, Wiley will show up and describe their tactics.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Even when I had several (justified, of course) griefs against my professor, I didn't dare to do what he did.
I just made an ambiguous statement ...


Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid.

This type of skull duggery dates back in the mists of time, when man decided he needed education with degrees attached.

Many a fine tertiary college or higher seat of learning, have numerous assorted evil skeletons hidden in various deans closet in many Universities across the Land of Nod.

One recent paper even suggests that Law deans are not above cheating on the finer points of law, or providing Wegman Style dialog to hide the inconvenient truth.

cui bono

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

I find it amusing that Mr. Brown decided to lash out at the governor and blame him for the school raising tuition rates. The schools near me have $1 billion dollar endowments and have raised tuition every year for the past decade, including while they were receiving insane amounts of government money.

@cui bono

"One recent paper even suggests that Law deans are not above cheating on the finer points of law, or providing Wegman Style dialog to hide the inconvenient truth."

-I think you meant to say Elena Kagan?


willard said...

Would the deans support any form of lying for a cause

Ronin Geographer said...

When I was in graduate school, I contemplated whether/how one might file a lawsuit for "arbitrary and capricious behavior and abuse of tenure" but I finally managed to switch professor and department so I let it go....

Nick Barnes said...

Olin Shivers did this right:

carrot eater said...

"If I can forever escape you, the better I will be."

Can I take it for granted that this specimen is not currently employed in any scientific endeavour?

David B. Benson said...


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, in rusticating Cambridge (the original one, not that pale imitation over the pond ;-)...

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

And slightly tangentially, on account of plaintiff Brown's disacknowledgement of science, perhaps he'd have been better off attending Carleton instead of UCSB!

I know he was materials science, but I feel sure "The Morphology of Calcium Carbonate..." could have fiited in there.

[HT to dbostrom over at Tamino's house.]

Rob said...

I would have fired a student with such a piss-poor attitude from my research group long before he thought about writing a thesis. A degree is not a right.

John said...

Just think about the possibilities of giving this kind of Disacknowledgement at the Academy Awards.

If you have worked with a cast of dwarfs and midgets, you can "thank all the little people"...

The envelope please!

Dan Andrews said...

I must admit more than a little sympathy for him. My school library fined me over $50 for a book I returned well on time, and then refused to rescind the fine even though it was clearly their fault.

They okayed the recommended courses which I took, but then in the winter session said I couldn't take one of the courses because I needed to take the first part last fall. Fortunately, I had a good prof who fought this one for me and had me admitted as planned.

They also wasted my time in having me teach a first year lab that a trained parrot could have taught rather than having me teach upper level labs like I used to do for a career before I returned to upgrade. And I can't say I was overly impressed with how they charged me library and other on-campus fees during the spring/summer when I was 4,000 km away from April-Sept doing field research.

There were a host of arbitrary rules that didn't apply, but most people just wanted to blindly follow the rules regardless. Very frustrating.

Again I was fortunate in having sympathetic profs and a supervisor with a great deal of pull who agreed and would either fight for me or do the "we'll do it anyway and just not tell them".

Thanks to them I received a free semester (doing field work, but was told not to officially register till the fall), and didn't have to teach the trained parrot class after one semester ("waste of your time and talent--here's a stipend instead and you can work for me").

These people more than made up for the bureaucratic petty small-minded annoyances, but other people weren't so fortunate to have well-connected and concerned profs looking out for them. I imagine they'd be as angry as Brown is.

Didn't occur to me to put in a disacknowledgement section--I was too focused on the people I was going to acknowledge who made my time there very successful.

Marion Delgado said...

If the Stanford Hammer Murderer, Ted Streleski, had gotten his PhD AND been allowed to put in as many disacknowledgements as he wished, his adviser would still be alive. I wonder if this wasn't a life-saving alternative for someone with this amount of academic rage.

Also, if this guy ends up driving a cab, he might have anyway, and without having made his gesture ;)

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Rob, for heaven's sake, please just let go of your "attitude" hobbyhorse already.

Did you not notice the big fat elephant in the room? Namely, that Christopher Brown successfully completed all the work required of a Ph. D.? And that, even after his equipment and notes were flooded by water?

Please, just let it go already.

-- frank

Marion Delgado said...

Not that it's actionable, but I do wish people would stop implying that the author of "The Morphology of Calcium Carbonate" is not a people person.

WV: Dincipt alocurna - do not say this while waving a wand.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says

Funny he didn't use his creative talents to describe the cafeteria food. Something like "vats of slimy slops". Is it possible UCSB has edible food?

John said...

I dunno about the food at UCSB, but I've visited the UCSB campus. It's absolutely beautiful: California beach, sun, sand, and everything. If I had a job at UCSB I don't know how I'd get any work done. Imagine trying to concentrate on quantum mechanics while on the set of Baywatch....

Anonymous said...

Ah, color me stoopid.

Sorry, to burst you bubble of delusion, Dr Jay Phd. .

No, it was not about the recent appointee to the Supremes, and previous new broom reformer and firebrand closet skeleton emptying dean of Harvard Law U.!

Nice, D minus try though!

cui bono

Anonymous said...

I was wondering, Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd, what was the title of your magnum opus (or is it magnum opera)?

Cymraeg llygoden

Marion Delgado said...

Wait, I thought the student in question WAS Jay Cadbury PhD. I'd swear I'd recognize that style anywhere ;)

Marion Delgado said...

By the way, until the idiot stops calling himself Dr. Jay Cadbury, PhD, no one should give him either title (that's not how you do it, troll).

To my knowledge he's never said what online Bible College of Homeopathy gave him his degree in Comparative Rand Novels anyway.