Saturday November 26, 2005

SoFla blog scene picks up steam

Sorry to bug you with a nother post about Miami blogs, but there’s lots going on. We’re going to sail through it, and then lay off the blogs for awhile; fair enough? (BTW, we’re much more interested in blogs about Miami, not just bloggers who happen to be in Miami).



What's up with the dean of UM?

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Personally I don’t give a rat’s ass about college football, and in fact my observation is that in general, schools that take their sports programs seriously take their academics lightly, and attract both a student body and faculty of decidedly less ambition and achievement. Say, like, University of Miami.

The recent campus incident involving sophomore Kyle Munzenreider, who published a link on his blog (Miamity) to the football players’ 2-year old thugaphonic stab at art, is a perfect example of everything wrong with a school that prizes football over all else. It needs to be thoroughly researched and written up as a textbook case of what a serious Academy should not do. Ever.

The kid is on his way out the door—ultimately this may turn out in his favor, as he’s obviously too bright, too motivated, and too advanced in his development for the Coral Gables Temple of Basketweaving—for the High Crime and Cardinal Sin of embarrassing the football program. Disregarding the obvious point that the players themselves, the ones who actually recorded the dick-waving song, are the genuine culprits in the embarrassment category, exactly what did the blogger do that was wrong, let alone illegal? How do you defenestrate a student for “embarrassing” the football program? Isn’t that action in itself rather embarrassing to the whole university?

If the cover story of Thursday’s Miami Hurled is accurate, the real embarrassment here is the conduct of the Dean. (College deans are almost universally reviled by faculties and students alike. For the most part, they are failed academics—glorified bureaucrats whose lack of people-skills made them ineffective teachers, and whose intellectual shortcomings ensured their career status as mediocre academicians. They end up—where else?—in management). This poor deluded dunce calls the cops (“Arrest that kid! He embarrassed the football program!”) and has the kid delivered to his office on the pretense his “suicide note” posted on Miamity was genuine. This keen Dean still wonders why Curly doesn’t bleed when Moe smacks him with a hammer.

And apparently during the interrogation the Dean had a staff shrink stowed away in the next room (what, spying? It’s not clear, which is why before it goes into the textbooks, further research is needed) who pops in and advises the kid to go home (based on what? Eavesdropping?), and he gets bounced from the dorm. How does this work? If the suicide note is genuine, he’s tossed into the street unsupervised, out of care and custody. Very responsible. If it isn’t genuine, why evict him?

These are not first-raters we’re dealing with here, but as noted above, this is the dismal mediocrity generated by a university that prizes its football program above all else. If I’m on the Board of Trustees, I’m outraged and want an accounting directly from the Dean, who BTW anounced his retirement last September and ain’t talkin’ now. Perhaps he’s arrived at the conclusion that it’s better to clam up and be thought a fool than to open his pie hole and remove all doubt.

Update: Deadspin agrees, and provides an e-mail address for those who want to share their disgust with his decision.

Update (Nov. 28): The school responds.

Update (Nov. 28): Kyle responds to the school’s response.