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    #51
    As I've said before, the colleges where greek life isn't really that big a deal - like Swarthmore - often have the worst frats. Or at least, the most fratty frats. It's remarkable that they both voted to disband themselves. I wonder if there's some kind of legal liability angle.

    Did I mention that I was in the jury pool for one of the frat guys that was charged with various crimes related to the kid here who died in a frat after getting really drunk and falling down stairs? Anyway, he pled out right before the jury was to be selected so we went home. A few of those guys are going to spend some time in jail and that frat will never be allowed back to Penn State. It's also prompted some badly needed reforms - basically, the university finally decided to take governance and policing out of the hands of the IFC and create its own enforcement office which will be paid for by fraternity dues. Long overdue move, but it took a disaster to show just how bad things had become and to create the political will to do that.

    Needless to say, "what to do about the frats" has been local political issue for about 120 years. "Just get rid of them" has never really a live political option, but it's getting closer to being one. Under the zoning laws, only frats that are recognized by the university can occupy a big house with that many people. So when they get in trouble and are de-recognized, they have to leave. I believe there are ways they can sell it to another frat or hold onto it until they somehow get off probation, but at least a few are having to sell to other kinds of users and there's some controversy about what other uses those houses should be zoned for. One of them turned into an eye-doctor's office. One is going to be a sorority. A few are empty or for sale without a clear future. But its clear that a lot of people, both townies and students, would like to see them disappear completely.

    As I've said before, my feeling is that it's one of those "can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it" issues. The frat system gives the universities more enforcement leverage than they'd have if all this kind of thing was just happening in off-campus apartments - and a lot of it does happen there too. The universities have not generally used that leverage as well as they could, largely because so many administrators, board members, and alums want to protect the Greek system that they were a part of. The US is not particularly unusual in that regard. White privilege, innit.
    Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 01-05-2019, 19:53.

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      #52
      I was surprised to hear that they still existed

      It is very much the kind of place that I would have expected to have banned them decades ago.

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        #53

        At big schools, kids join greek organizations because they need some way to meet people and socialize and to make a big place feel smaller, so to speak. Athletic teams, band, student government, charity groups, etc, can all serve that purpose too and many of them can get a bit insular and culty too.

        But Swarthmore has like 1,500 students. Everyone knows everyone anyway, and their dorms are nice so there's not much need for an alternative type of housing, I wouldn't think.

        I was told the frats there, and at the other small colleges in that area, were usually very small and innocuous and maybe they were at that time. Swarthmore prides itself on its Quaker roots and the importance of inclusion. For example, no on-campus event charges admission. (Or at least, that was true in 1995 when my friend was there). So it is indeed odd that even two frats have held on this long.

        But, from my recollection visiting there about 25 years ago, there's really not a lot of places to "party" or even socialize at Swarthmore. The town of Swarthmore itself is mostly just rich people's houses. So maybe they served that function.

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          #54
          Why does the thread title appear in all the old posts?

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            #55
            It is an unavoidable remnant of the penultimate board transition

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              #56
              This strikes me as a better place for any continued discussion of the "US college admissions scandal", as the WTF thread has inexorably moved on.

              In any event, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty today to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud (the predicate being her paying USD 15,000 to improve her daughter's SAT score). Her sentence will be announced at a later date, though the prosecution recommendation is a fine of USD 20,000 and one year of supervised release.

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                #57
                that'll teach her.

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                  #58
                  Another case study for the sociology of white collar crime module?

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                    #59
                    Originally posted by Satchmo Distel View Post
                    Another case study for the sociology of white collar crime module?
                    That's ridiculous Satchmo. It's not enough to be white. You also have to be wealthy.

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                      #60
                      "white collar" = "crimes committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland, 1949).

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                        #61
                        So, is everyone going to get away with it, here? I presume that they can't make an example of others now that they've let Huffman off.

                        I was going to ask if equivalent versions of this crime generally get away without incarceration, but presumably this something only ever done by white collar criminals, so my guess is that the answer's "yes"?

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                          #62
                          They would say her motives were honourable (concerned mother) but she went about it inappropriately.

                          There's also a subtext here: the elite education system is rigged but it can't be seen to be too rigged. The offence is not massively different from the norm.
                          Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 13-05-2019, 22:03.

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                            #63
                            They should have to pay at least seven digits into funds for education for underprivileged kids.

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                              #64
                              On the other hand, the people being "swindled" here are rich white parents (and their kids) who didn't know to access this particular kind of cheating. They're the ones being defrauded out of their elite education, not being allowed their birthright position of advantage. I imagine they might want the people who swindled their kids out of their future to take a pummelling.

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                                #65
                                The last question is really difficult to answer because conspiracy to commit wire fraud is one of the crimes with the broadest set of possible predicates in the Federal statute book. The statute itself authorises custodial sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison per count, though it is safe to assume that one is much more likely to get a sentence of that sort if one is engaged in the drug trade, "financing terrorism" or swindling investors out of genuinely massive amounts (it is worth remembering that Michael Milken spent two years in Federal prison, that Raj Rajaratnam is still in one (serving 11 years) and that Bernie Madoff will almost certainly die in one). Even Martha Stewart did some time.

                                As a minor celebrity, Huffman has been one of the "faces" of the scandal but the involvement of her and her husband (who somehow avoided prosecution despite appearing to be equally guilty) was rather tangential when compared to others. She paid USD 15k for decent (but not outstanding) SAT scores on a single occasion. She didn't pay hundreds of thousands (or millions), nor did she engage in one of the long-running cons that involved inventing athletic careers and the like. Her fellow minor celebrity, Lori Laughlin, did all of that, and is almost certainly looking at a custodial sentence. She and her husband reportedly rejected a plea deal that would have seen them serve 2 years and change, and have since had additional charges filed against them that increase their potential exposure considerably.

                                Is it fair? Hell no.

                                Will they all walk? No, they won't.

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                                  #66
                                  White collar crime = Crime committed by white people. When black people commit the same crimes they get the book thrown at them. See Nigerian fraudsters in the UK as an example.

                                  See below the sentence for a more minor infraction.

                                  https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-brief...lling-child-in

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                                    #67
                                    This study appears to conclude that a big part of the disparity is because white people are more likely to be able to pay bigger fines.

                                    https://scholarlycommons.law.northwe...5&context=jclc

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                                      #68
                                      Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
                                      This study appears to conclude that a big part of the disparity is because white people are more likely to be able to pay bigger fines.

                                      https://scholarlycommons.law.northwe...5&context=jclc
                                      If people know there is no threat of a custodial sentence then it's not much of a deterant is it? They will just factor in the potential fine as the cost of doing business.
                                      I would conclude the criminal justice system in the USA (and the UK) too has little tolerance for non-whites cheating hence black people being jailed for falsifying residence to get your child in a "better" school, Something white people do all the time in the UK.

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                                        #69
                                        Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
                                        They should have to pay at least seven digits into funds for education for underprivileged kids.
                                        There should be price limits set on tuition costs. In Quebec it's around C$1,500 per year. When the Province tried to raise it, students took to the streets and brought the government to its knees. American kids are too passive.

                                        About $5k/yr for in-state public schools and $10k/yr for private colleges would be a good limit for US schools. They could use their budget cuts to trim the fat, there is no reason for tuition costs to completely outstrip inflation over the last 2-3 decades.

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                                          #70
                                          Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                          In any event, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty today to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud (the predicate being her paying USD 15,000 to improve her daughter's SAT score). Her sentence will be announced at a later date, though the prosecution recommendation is a fine of USD 20,000 and one year of supervised release.
                                          Did they? Most reports I've seen say they recommended four months jail time. This USA Today one says the supervised release and fine were in addition.
                                          Last edited by Janik; 15-05-2019, 10:06.

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                                            #71
                                            Thanks, I was going to come back to that. It does seem that the early report that I based that on was wrong.

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                                              #72
                                              Originally posted by Tactical Genius View Post

                                              If people know there is no threat of a custodial sentence then it's not much of a deterant is it? They will just factor in the potential fine as the cost of doing business.
                                              I would conclude the criminal justice system in the USA (and the UK) too has little tolerance for non-whites cheating hence black people being jailed for falsifying residence to get your child in a "better" school, Something white people do all the time in the UK.
                                              Even when whites do get custodial sentences, they tend to be lighter than for blacks, as was noted a few months ago when a judge gave Manafort a lighter sentence than he'd given a black congressman:

                                              In another high-profile case in 2009, Ellis sentenced Congressman William J. Jefferson to 13 years in prison for bribery and fraud, significantly less than the 27 to 33 years calculated for Jefferson under the sentencing guidelines. Still, it was the longest-ever prison sentence for a member of Congress. Ellis later released him after he had served less than half his sentence due to a Supreme Court ruling in another bribery case.
                                              https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/ma...ustice-system/

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                                                #73
                                                Originally posted by linus View Post

                                                There should be price limits set on tuition costs. In Quebec it's around C$1,500 per year. When the Province tried to raise it, students took to the streets and brought the government to its knees. American kids are too passive.

                                                About $5k/yr for in-state public schools and $10k/yr for private colleges would be a good limit for US schools. They could use their budget cuts to trim the fat, there is no reason for tuition costs to completely outstrip inflation over the last 2-3 decades.
                                                There are lots of reasons, actually. Itís unfortunate, but itís not all ďfat.Ē

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