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THE FOUNTAIN HOPPER

the weather: sunny, 70s, 82 on saturday
Twenty Third Edition: May 28, 2015

IN THIS EDITION:

something for everyone!
 
Band on super-probation

What's going on with Title IX 
(or: Criswell vs. Everyone Else)

Stanford 68 Bridge Protestors Take Plea Deal featuring Stanford Class

FoHo Exclusive: Stanford spends millions on Drilling Costs

Stuff You Might Care About, including Sigma Chi in trouble

WHAT WE'RE READING

As predicted in FoHo 19, The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band has been put on social suspension by Title IX and the Office of Community Standards. More below.

In a rare bit of good news, Stanford is turning on the fountains for commencement! 18 fountains will be turned on starting Monday, with all of them on by June 9th. They'll be shut off again on June 15th. If you've a yearning for burbling zen that just can't wait, Stanford "forgot" to turn off the fountains closest to Maples Pavilion and the one closest to Hoover Plaza at Stanford Medical Center.

Stanford Arts Review wrote up a phenomenal piece that details the various degrees of administrative fuckery in the ITALIC program, an arts-themed frosh dorm conceptually similar to SLE. Read it all here.

In a nutshell, the final arts projects for ITALIC were censored - in the most direct sense of the word possible - by Stanford administrators who felt that certain "project[s] could prove uncomfortable" to the community. They even got Amy Chen '18 to "censor her project of any profanities" the night before her project presentation. Charming. But who are we to argue that censoring art projects with a giant black sharpie isn't going to sharpen your perceptual skills and tap into your own channels of creative expression?

After a second Title IX investigation, Stanford decided to permanently unhouse SAE. In a widely-shared must-read op-ed piece, Tess Bloch-Horowitz '17 shared her experience dealing with alleged SAE retaliation and blistering confidentiality fuckups in the Title IX office (more on that later).

Excellently placed tipsters have told The Fountain Hopper that the Stanford cops have found the spray paint can used to paint swastikas [sfgate] on SAE. Cops told tipsters that the empty can of gold spray paint was retrieved, and one of the prints pulled off the can matched a historical print in FBI databases. A rather harried Bill Larson, SUDPS spokesman, would "neither confirm nor deny" the location of the can, saying only that "this is a very active investigation" and "any arrests would be announced to the public."

Stanford "may have received a live anthrax sample last summer from the U.S. Army" [mercury news], but you shouldn't freak out because Stanford says it's totally, like, not an issue.

This happened [political journal].

We're glad you're with us.

THE DEATH OF LSJUMB

Back in mid-February, FoHo broke the news that Stanford's Band was under Title IX investigation. We wrote that "Stanford's censorship on Band is persistent, pervasive and destructive."

The trend continued on May 15, when Stanford announced what is essentially the social suspension of LSJUMB for at least the next academic year. A full University statement was published here, LSJUMB's statement is here ("Being in line with this community’s values demands that we return ourselves to the winds of freedom, which in recent years have subsided to an intermittent breeze'). We're also publishing the (previously unpublished) full list of sanctions against LSJUMB here. In a phone interview, University spin chief Lisa Lapin told FoHo that Stanford does not plan on releasing the full report for public consumption.

We've spent some time going over the exact nature of the allegations brought against band and they seem to center on incidents that happened between 2010 and 2012, when most band members were in high school. Predictably, band tipsters complain that Title IX totally ignored their 180 day federally mandated statute of limitations, and OCS just totally forgot that they have an Organizational Conduct Board that is meant to investigate these cases.

Tipsters tell us Band plans on appealing its travel ban. We doubt they'll have much luck.

Title IX Claims Territory at Stanford, via Je Suis Stanford.

SO WHAT'S GOING ON WITH TITLE IX?

FoHo friends in Stanford administration tell us that band's suspension is the latest result of an increasingly destructive political ruckus between two factions of Stanford's administration. On one side, the Title IX office, in cahoots with the President, the Provost, and Stanford's lawyers, is determined to "crack down" on "high risk" student activities. On the other side, Greg Boardman's Student Affairs (think Student Activities and Life and ResEd, even though FoHo's probably the last place you'd expect to find nice things said about them) is attempting to retain at least a few of the student institutions that it believes provide incredible value to the student body.

An irate faculty member tells FoHo that Catherine Criswell, Stanford's recently instated Title IX officer, "wants to make a name for herself as an administrator to be taken seriously."

She's certainly succeeded.

As a brand-new administrator in a brand-new position, sources tell us Criswell is doing all she can to "bring in the big fish." Criswell was the driving force behind Band's suspension and SAE's loss of housing. She's pushing hard for the unhousing of KA for dirty-rushing Brock Turner, as well as investigating at least one other (still) housed frat. 

Criswell is also behind a full-throttle push to get rid of FMOTQ, as well as being responsible for the implementation of the oft-maligned Greek Life Standards of Excellence, the latest draft of which threatens Greek organizations with the withdrawal of University recognition if members don't hit certain GPA averages and attendance targets on mandatory workshops.

Not everyone supports her efforts to refurbish the undergraduate community. Other tentacles of the Stanford administrative beast have been pushing back. Administration tipsters tell us that Criswell initially pushed for the end of housed Greek life, but Boardman and ResEd administrators beat down the proposal. Similarly, Criswell initially pushed for The End Of Band™. A well placed source tells us lower-level ResEd administrators were "shocked" to find out about the severity of Band's sanctions, which would have been much more severe had it not been from virulent opposition from old-time administrators. They worry -- correctly, in FoHo's opinion -- that further curtailing Stanford social organizations will yield unpredictable, and most likely undesirable, results.

Provost Etchemendy recently noted in a guest lecture to a Stanford Economics class that this was the "worst year for Stanford" he'd experienced in his 15 years here. Perhaps he'd be well-placed to think about how Stanford can improve its student experience, not fuck it up further.

Donate to FoHo through Venmo -- search for "Fountain Hopper" and help keep the winds of freedom blowing.

STANFORD 68 TAKE PLEA DEAL, CLASS AT STANFORD

 

16 of the 68 Stanford students arrested for shouting at cars protesting on the San Mateo Bridge back in January took a plea deal offered by the San Mateo County DA. They face two years of probation, 30 hours of community service, $440 fines in restitution to the CHP for overtime costs (according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by FoHo, "This incident resulted in costs of approximately $38,606.10 to the CHP"), and the completion of a four-hour First Amendment class through Stanford. 

That last part is kind of curious. We reached out to Steve Wagstaffe, the San Mateo County DA. Apart from being a lovely chap ("we're not looking for any prison time"), he told FoHo that one of the public defenders for the 68 approached his office with the suggestion that the plea deal include a Stanford class on the First Amendment. It appears as though two law school professors (we're still waiting on names) agreed to teach a custom-built class to the activists. In return for taking the class as part of the deal, Wagstaffe agreed to drop the charges to an infraction, meaning none of those charged will have a criminal record.

It's nice to see student activists putting their Stanford privilege [of getting their criminal charges dropped to an infraction and avoid any criminal record by getting Stanford Law professors to teach them classes] to such good use. Eight students participating in similar protests at UC Santa Cruz, a public school an hour's drive away, were significantly less lucky -- UCSC suspended them until January 16, and they're facing up to 18 months in jail (though the DA was initially pushing for seven) and $20K in fines.

FWIW, university spinsters told FoHo that "Stanford was not involved in developing the class," meaning that it was probably organized without administrative approval.

Ho hum.

27 of the remaining 52 activists (two were "journalists" with The Daily) are due in court early next week for a jury trial in Redwood City. The county DA has said that he plans to "aggressively prosecute the bridge protesters," who face a year behind bars and a $1000 fine if found guilty. Those remaining have court dates scheduled for June and July, but Wagstaffe expects most to take the plea deal.

 

STANFORD SPENDS MILLIONS DRILLING FOR OIL AND GAS, DEDUCTS COSTS

 

Tipsters let us know that Stanford's most recent tax filings reveal a history of for-profit oil & gas drilling.

Stanford deducts millions of dollars ($15m in 2013) in "Intangible Drilling Costs" each year on Form 990-T (page 20). In fact, these drilling deductions doubled between 2011 and 2013, from $7.1m to $15.3m.

Per the IRS:

Intangible Drilling Costs: The costs of developing oil, gas, or geothermal wells are ordinarily capital expenditures... These are certain drilling and development costs for wells in the United States in which you hold an operating or working interest. You can deduct only costs for drilling or preparing a well for the production of oil, gas, or geothermal steam or hot water.

Even though Stanford is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, it is legally allowed to have some limited for-profit operations. Interestingly, the reported drilling costs appear on Stanford's for-profit filing, Form 990-T, as opposed to its non-profit Form 990).  The "Intangible Drilling Costs" deduction is the same tax loophole used by the likes of Exxon, Shell, and BP to subsidize their drilling costs

We asked Stanford's lobbying and PR office to explain exactly what kind of drilling Stanford was deducting. As expected, Stanford does "not have further detail to share beyond what is reported in the 990-T." 

While numbers for 2014 are scheduled to be posted in July, if you ask us, Stanford's purported commitment to the environment doesn't seem to meld particularly well with deducting $15m in drilling costs.

From Stanford's 2013 990-T (page 15), we also learned that Stanford owns a stake in the cozy Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park, raking in nearly $45M last year  And, of course, Stanford has money stashed in a good amount of global tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (page 16).

Stanford Divests, via Je Suis Stanford.

STUFF YOU MIGHT CARE ABOUT

  • Sigma Chi is facing investigation by the Office of Community Standards for alleged hazing during its pledge process. Frat tipsters tell us they're not that concerned, but given Sigma Chi's reputation as having one of the most... intricate pledging processes, we wouldn't be surprised if this turned out quite serious. 

STUFF YOU ALMOST CERTAINLY CARE ABOUT

  • Finals
  • Summer
  • Your pet dog/cat waiting for you at home

STUFF YOU ALMOST CERTAINLY DON'T CARE ABOUT


DEAR FACULTY, STAFF, AND ALUMNI


Faculty and Staff (and a special hello to the Nobel laureate in our midst) -- FoHo is Stanford's most-read publication and far and away the best way of getting information out to the undergrad community. We heartily welcome any hints, tips, pointers, or declarations of love. Get in touch! We guarantee anonymity and breathtaking quantities of karma.

Alumni: We can help make sure your donation dollars get to the places undergrads actually need them. Get in touch and we'll hook you up with people that can help (hint: they're not in the development office)
 

ABOUT US, AKA WTF IS FOHO


The Fountain Hopper is an email newsletter that's offbeat, skeptical, and prizes brevity. We're written a team of Stanford undergraduates for Stanford undergraduates. We pride ourselves in being totally independent of both Stanford University and the ASSU. To subscribe, go to fountainhopper.com, and to unsubscribe, hit the link at the bottom of the email...
 

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