Ethical Behavior and the Ivy League: Redefinition by Example

April 5, 2022

First, MIT and its dalliance with the sophisticated Jeffrey Epstein. Then there was Harvard and its indifference to an allegation of improper interpersonal behavior. Sordid details abound in this allegedly accurate report. Now Yale. The bastion of “the dog”, the football game, Skull and Bones, etc., etc.

A Former Yale Employee Admits She Stole $40 Million in Electronics from the University” makes clear that auditing, resource management, and personnel supervision are not the esteemed institution greatest strengths.

I gave a talk at Yale a decade ago. The subject was Google, sparked because one of the Yale brain trust found my analysis interesting. Strange, I thought, at the time. No one else cares about my research about Google’s systems and methods. I showed up and was greeted as though I was one of the gang. (I wasn’t.)

At dinner someone asked me, “Where did you get your PhD?” I replied with my standard line: “I don’t have a PhD. I quit to take a job at Halliburton Nuclear.” As you might imagine, the others at the dinner were not impressed.

I gave my lecture and no one — absolutely none of the 100 people in the room — asked a question. No big deal. I am familiar with the impact some of my work has elicited. One investment banker big wheel threw an empty Diet Pepsi can at me after I explained how the technology of CrossZ (a non US analytics company) preceded in invention the outfit the banked just pumped millions into. Ignorance is bliss. Same at Yale during and after my lecture.

Has Yale changed? Seems to be remarkably consistent: Detached from the actions of mere humans, convinced of a particular world view, and into the zeitgeist of being of Yale.

But $40 million?

An ethical wake up call? Nope, hit the snooze button.

Stephen E Arnold, April 5, 2022


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