When I was in high school, the older brother of some classmates of mine achieved overnight infamy. An alum of my Catholic college preparatory, Greg had finally found his vocation: hitman. A college acquaintance wanted his family executed, and he hired Greg to do the dirty work. After the triple murder, the conspirators tried to divide up the multi-million dollar inheritance, but when police noticed Greg’s recent expenditures — things like flying lessons and copious amounts of platinum dental work and neckwear — they became suspicious of the unemployed drifter, and Greg was arrested. Needless to say, Greg was not a speaker at my high school’s career day.
The community at my high school was rocked by the news. Where had their Marianist educational philosophy gone wrong? What part of “Love thy neighbor” had Greg not understood? The administrators immediately canceled the marksmanship and gun repair classes, but no one was sure if this would solve the problem. It was feared the damage was done. When I enrolled at Yale, I looked forward to studying in an environment that did not breed criminal tendencies.
Unfortunately, I discovered in my freshman year that I had moved to the wrong side of the Ivy League tracks. Almost immediately upon my arrival, Antonio Lasaga was arrested for his adventures in pedophilia. Later that year, Suzanne Jovin was murdered, and the only suspect was James Van de Velde. Lasaga was the Saybrook College master; Van de Velde had at one time been the Saybrook dean. If Davenport was the legacy college, and Stiles and Morse were the jock colleges, then Saybrook was the felony college.
These developments greatly worried me at the time. Yale had just won the hard-fought annual battle for U.S. News and World Report’s number one university in the country, but as a freshman I questioned our resolve to hold onto the title. Murder, pornography and sexual assault surely wouldn’t help Yale’s score in the “faculty resources” category of the rankings.
As more and more arrests were made, however, the indiscretions of our Yale role models seemed to be less of an issue than I previously thought. After all, Yale has not ceased to exist or even become less elite. So what if Diana Brooks participated in price-fixing? The dining hall does it at every meal. And as one of my roommates said yesterday, “Child pornography, schmild schmornography.” We no longer let silly little things like these bother us. At this point, it’s old hat and boring.
I’m tired of so many inches of column in this publication being devoted to such stories. I miss the days — how long ago they were –when the Yale Daily News had headlines with interesting, relevant information like “Prestige and free education not enough, GESO says” and “Dean Brodhead quite a wacky guy.”
So I’ve talked it over with the editors, and together, we’ve decided that stories about Yalie crime will now be relegated to a small corner of the paper. What follows is just a sample of this new special section, entitled the “Yale Faculty and Administration Crime Blotter.”
“Scandal intensifies for former divinity school dean”
In a follow-up to its earlier expose of former Berkeley Divinity School Dean R. William Franklin’s misappropriation of Yale funds, the Hartford Courant printed more details on Wednesday of a confidential audit initiated by Yale last summer. In addition to embezzling money to pay for dry cleaning and his daughter’s Harvard Medical School education, the auditors discovered that Franklin, an Episcopal minister, also skimmed the offertory cup to finance a deep sea fishing vessel, two matinee tickets to “Shrek,” a six-figure account with a Barbados-based internet casino, and an extra-value meal at Hardee’s.
“Lasaga optimistic about future”
Although former geology professor and Saybrook Master Antonio Lasaga may be spending the next century behind bars, he doesn’t think his career as a scientist is necessarily over. While his bunkmates will have mundane prison jobs like making license plates, Lasaga plans on teaching an introductory geology course to any guards or convicts who are interested. “Call it ‘Rocks for Cell Blocks,'” Lasaga said in a phone interview Tuesday night, referring to the “Rocks for Jocks” moniker given to Yale’s Geology 110 course. On a roll, Lasaga speculated about the federal penitentiary at which he would begin his sentence: “I hope it’s The Rock!” Despite being a sick, perverted man, Lasaga still loves his rock jokes.
“Levin interrogated by police”
Over the weekend, Yale President Richard Levin spent over four hours in a small, harshly lit room of the Yale Police Department’s Sachem Street station as he was pummeled with hard-hitting questions and flecks of saliva emanating from a Yale investigator’s snarling mouth. Levin was reportedly “cool as a dead fish” as he responded to questions about the sweatshop discovered in the basement of the Yale Economics Department. In a press release, Levin’s consiglieri Mario Sangiacomo refuted the police’s allegations, stating, “My client is a legitimate businessman.”
Professors aren’t the only ones who break the rules at Yale, however. I must confess that during my thermodynamics final last semester, my professor caught me using a cheat sheet. He vowed then and there that he would see me expelled from the University. Luckily for my readers, he won’t get around to that for a while: he’s currently incarcerated pending the outcome of his racketeering trial.
JP Nogues is a senior in Davenport College. His columns regularly appear on alternate Thursdays.