#david epstein
Occasional Summer Bwoglines as of 06/06

Bwog is languidly clearing our virtual newsdesk today, bringing you a selection of interesting and possibly relevant headlines from the past few weeks. We hope that these stories, tenuously connected to Columbia, will reflect a similar degree of detachment from the establishment in your minds.

Oh yeah and Nadal won the French Open

One of the undercover cops in Operation Ivy League was undercover in more ways than one; while working for the NYPD, he ran an illegal gambling ring on Staten Island! (DNAinfo)

Professor David Epstein has pled guilty to charges of attempted incest, and conservative blogs have gleefully picked up the story. (eCourts, The Other McCain)

Turns out the whole Westside/Morton Williams debate misses the point. Both, along with most grocery stores in the city, are cheaper than everywhere else in the US. (WSJ)

Before kicking them out of the store, a white employee of our local UWS Apple Store allegedly told two young men that “before you say I’m racially discriminating against you, let me stop you. I am discriminating against you.” (Gawker)

The Class of 1941′s graduation was bittersweet, since Columbia sports hero Lou Gehrig died the day before commencement. A member of that class recently wrote a touching reflection in the Times about the tragic coincidence. (NYT)

Also in the Times, Room For Debate asks if college is worth it. Columbia associate economics prof Till von Wachter says “those from less prestigious schools and those students majoring in humanities” have the worst job prospects. Humanities majors also make less than engineers. So great news if you’re in SEAS and bad news if you’re in NYU. (NYT, Georgetown)

If you miss the (possibly late) Hawkmadinejad, why not watch Pip, the baby NYU hawk, live? (CityRoom)

What is it with economists and sexual assault? Another top international finance official sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York—and the hotel tried to cover it up! Hopefully this will stop happening now that hotels are giving their maids panic buttons. (Daily Show, NYT, NYPost, WSJ)

Joseph Stiglitz has some advice for choosing the next IMF head: don’t worry about their nationality, just whether or not they can save Europe. Jeffrey Sachs also has advice for the IMF, but you might not be able to see it because the Financial Times doesn’t want broke college kids reading their precious op-eds. (Slate, FT, Observer)

Columbia researchers used a “back of the envelope calculation” to show that reducing levels of surface ozone could save businesses $1.1 billion in lost worker productivity. It’s not like it could also save all of humanity from being destroyed or anything. (Globe and Mail)

And go Mavs. Yep, sometimes we take sides.

Rafa (this photo is actually from 2006, but his outfit is a very close approximation of what he wore during the final at Roland Garros this year) via Wikimedia

From the Issue: Sex, Drugs and ROTC

We continue to respect our heritage/amorous affair with our mother-magazine, The Blue & White by posting each issue of the magazine online. The latest issue, available this week around campus, is a cornucopia of delights: an interview with Dean Peter Awn; the quixotic quest for a Quidditch team; and a discussion of the institution of the Columbia presidency. This month, magazine Senior Editor and Bwog Editor Claire Sabel (with additional reporting by staff writer and Bwog Friday Editor Peter Sterne) reflects on Columbia’s year in the headlines.

Alma's in the game.

Illustration by Louise McCune

Late December was, unfortunately, an auspicious time for student reporting. The NYPD’s undercover drug bust and the David Epstein incest case had shaken up Columbia, splattering the University’s name across the national media for stories that were to varying degrees degrading and embarrassing. Come spring, Columbia was in a prime position to bear the brunt of the press’s disapproval over another highly sensitive issue: questioning whether those academic institutions that had taken a stand against the military’s discrimination should be expected to formally engage with them after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

One expects Columbia’s critics would be ready to mobilize these scandals from the fall; contesting the obligation to invite ROTC back to campus could easily have been presented as further evidence Columbia students and faculty were over-privileged and amoral. While the attention garnered by the debate over military engagement was certainly unflattering at times, it was remarkably untainted by residual malevolence from the slew of highly-publicized scandals. The Operation Ivy League coverage was largely a class narrative, and stereotyped Columbia as an organization of arrogant elites, but never referred to Columbia’s outspoken politics or legacy of activism either. A close examination of the way Columbia was portrayed in the media during these two dramatic spells leads to some telling conclusions about what our university has come to stand for beyond the bubble.

(more…)

Breaking: Columbia Professor Charged With Incest

Columbia's second Daily News cover of the week

Just when you thought the scandal had died down, NY Daily News is reporting that David Epstein, a professor in the Political Science Department has been charged of a ‘sexual relationship with a female relative.’

Epstein has a silver nugget on CULPA, and has received glowing reviews from past students, although these are all over five years old. He was teaching two courses this semester, ‘Scope and Methods,’ ‘Game Theory and Political Theory’ as well as a dissertation seminar, and was scheduled to teach a course on ‘Game Theory, Strategy, and Law’ in the Spring. Currently one student is enrolled in this course.

According to the News, Robert Hornsby, the University’s top spokesman, commented that Epstein is currently on leave and not teaching students. According to Epstein’s CV, he has been an advisor to undergrads in the Poli Sci major since 2004. If you’ve ever taken a class with Epstein, please email us at editors@bwog.com.

Update, 8:50: NYPD told Spec that the relative was his daughter, who is 24. A tipster informs us that Epstein’s wife, works across the hall from Epstein and was speaking to a private investigator in or near her office yesterday.

Update, 9:05: A student of Epstein’s has informed Bwog that Epstein was “a very nice guy,” who had prominently displayed “pictures drawn by his children” in his office.

Here’s a video of Epstein debating on Obama’s economic policies at Columbia last November. Epstein comes in at about 1:48.

Update, 9:15: Robert Hornsby replied to Bwog’s request for comment with the following: “While we cannot comment on matters within the criminal justice system, we can confirm that the faculty member is now on administrative leave and will not be teaching students.”

Epstein’s wife, multiple sources confirm, is Sharyn O’Halloran, also a PoliSci professor. Her full title is George Blumenthal Professor of Political Economics and Professor of International and Public Affairs, and according to her CV, and Wikipedia, is a big deal. She has co-authored several books with Epstein.

Update, 9:33: Spec just posted a response from Matthew Galluzzo, Epstein’s defense lawyer:
“David is a respected member of the Columbia University and national academic communities and we think he deserves privacy and respect while the investigators are investigating. We are asking people to remember that these allegations are nothing more than allegations… We’re asking his friends in the Columbia community to support him and give him the benefit of the doubt.” They also report that he “confirmed that Epstein is not in custody anymore—he was released, and no trial date has yet been set”

Too close for comfort

Political Science Professor David Epstein showed up on a friend of Bwog’s G-chat contact list at 12:30 AM.

His away message: “funniest site I’ve seen in a while: http://blackpeopleloveus.com/”