Sunday, October 30, 2011


Well maybe not. [Though goodness knows we would have a lot to protest! Tuition rises? Class sizes? The list we're sure goes on and on.]

However, we hear of an interesting event Tuesday evening that will discuss the #occupy movement that has swept the United States and the world. It features some interesting panelists from the political science department and others.

None of the organizers of this event are affiliated or connected to Hopkins Underground.

"Occupy and the University"

Tuesday, November 1 5:30 - 7 pm
Arellano Theater, Levering Hall — JHU Homewood campus
For more information:

A Forum on the #Occupy Movement, sponsored by the Human Rights Working Group, featuring:

Aaron Martel
Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering and participant in the Baltimore encampment

Professor Christopher Nealon
Department of English

Professor Lester Spence
Department of Political Science

Lawrence Grandpre
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (

Chris Westcott and Emilie Connolly
Department of English; Department of Political Science 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lichtenstein to be Young Trustee

Sam Lichtenstein, international relations major, is to be the Young Trustee for the class of 2011, Hopkins Underground has learned.

The senior from New York will be one of four Young Trustees on the Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees and serve a four-year term. Only one graduating student is selected each year. Sources say Lichtenstein was one of four finalists considered for the position.

Lichtenstein, among other things, is an editor at JHU Politik, the undergraduate political newsletter, co-chair of the Seniors for the Hopkins Fund, and a board member of the Blue Key Society (campus tours) and Admissions Representatives (admission interviews).

Abhiram Bhashyam '10, Christopher Louie '09, Michelle Brown '08, and Sarah David '07 whose term ends in this year are the other Young Trustees.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hopkins Shows No Ties With Libya

After some research by Hopkins Underground, no ties between the Libyan government, Qadhafi family and Johns Hopkins University has been found. This comes amidst allegations that universities in the United States were involved in training "future leaders" of the Libyan government.

Cables released by Wikileaks in January show Libya's desire to send members of elite to foreign universities in the United States and the United Kingdom for leadership and management training.

"Two hundred and fifty additional Libyan 'future leaders' would also be trained in Libya. Likewise, the NEDB is working with universities in the United States (Michigan State and elsewhere), the UK, and France to manage exchange programs for 90 young Libyan diplomats (30 Libyan diplomats are currently being trained in each country)." Source: Wikileaks. The NEDB is Libya's National Economic Development Board.

One of those UK universities is the London School of Economics. The director of the LSE announced his resignation Thursday amid a scandal involving the school and the Libyan government's efforts to send 400 "future leaders" of Libya to the school. The "future leaders" were to be trained in leadership and management skills at LSE. At the same time, LSE accepted £300,000 from Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the son of the embattled Libyan leader Colonel al-Qadhafi. On Tuesday, the school diverted the money to a scholarship fund for Northern African students.

Upon reading that an American university may be connected with the Qadhafi family and the regime, Hopkins Underground looked into any possible ties between Johns Hopkins and Libya.

As of our writing this post, no such link has been found.

Hopkins Underground searched Saif's charitable foundation, Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, the Carey School of Business, and Johns Hopkins as a whole. No obvious ties appeared.

However, the chances of a link are still very possible. Hopkins is notorious for not publishing a comprehensive list of donors and other financial support it receives. In the past, Hopkins has be hesitant to divest its endowment from Sudan. The may well be information in the University's records that indicate some link between Libya and Hopkins.

We will keep digging and ask University officials if such a connection exists. Fortunately as of now, Hopkins and Libya remain unconcerned with each other.

If anyone in the Hopkins community knows anything on this matter, you can send us a confidential tip via email at jhuunderground @ Anonymity guaranteed.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hopkins Sophomore Struck by Car is in Critical Condition

An 83-year-old female driver struck a Hopkins sophomore Saturday at 12 p.m., leaving him in critical condition. Hopkins Underground has learned that the student is Nathan Krasnopoler, a computer science major from Baltimore.

According to reports from the Baltimore Sun and the ABC News Baltimore affiliate, Krasnopoler was riding his bike along in a bike lane on West University Parkway and West 39th Street. He was struck when the driver attempted to turn right. The car's momentum caused the car to roll on top of him.

Krasnopoler is at Johns Hopkins Hospital with burns on his face but no internal bleeding. Chances of recovery are good, according to posts by friends on his Facebook page which is also filled with well wishes and encouragement.

An eyewitness at the scene after the incident tells Hopkins Underground that seven police cars, one Hopkins security officer, and two fire trucks arrived at the scene.

Like the rest of the Hopkins undergraduate community, our hearts and our best wishes for a speedy recovery are with Nathan.

UPDATE 2/27/2011 7:10 p.m.
The University released the following statement to faculty, students, and staff about Nathan Krasnopoler's condition and offered counseling services to those who need it. Krasnopoler remains in critical condition.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Has Admissions Officer's Twitter Use Gone Too Far?

Undergraduate admissions officer Daniel Creasy loves to use Twitter. Since his first post in on Oct. 22, 2008, Creasy has posted 1,312 times. Most of the time it relates to his job as an admissions officer and the application process. Occassionally, he delights his 351 followers with updates about his dog, television, sports, or his lunch. He also uses the microblogging service to communicate with his group of students who serve on the Student Admissions Advisory Board.

Creasy’s use of Twitter was even recognized by The Washington Post where the Post’s college admissions blogger listed Creasy as one of her favorite Twitter users. 

Most his updates are harmless, if not a bit vain from time to time. Like his Twitter feed, Creasy uses his Hopkins Insider blog to update applicants about the process and answer some frequently asked questions. Often he will share pictures of his dog and niece Lilly. Here’s one from last year

However, Creasy’s habit of writing on Twitter what he reads in applications is a bit troubling and unprofessional. They mostly focus on the unique applications – unique in a bad way.

As recently as Jan. 24, Creasy wrote that he had read application typed in all capitol letters and used seventeen exclamation points. In the same update, Creasy joked with a University of Virginia admissions officer that he likes reading applications in size 14 to 18 font.  The UVa staffer asked earlier, “Is there any admission officer out there who like essays written in 14-18 font? I didn’t think so.”

For those who handwrite applications, beware. Officer Creasy will let strangers know of your poor penmanship.

Thinking about being a doctor? I hope you’re not doing it to help people! Write about all the money you’ll get or maybe defraud Medicare.

If you are an applicant trying to scheme and trick the university, beware! All fraudsters will be outed!

He charmingly refers to engineers as “Lego Maniacs.” The label, Creasy wrote, is also used by colleague Sarah Godwin. It helps them get through their long days, he says. 

Because Creasy shares so much in his blog and Twitter posts, some applicants seem to tailor their essays just for him. [Soze is the name of his dog.]

To his credit, the person to whom he is referring does sound like an idiot for bringing up religion. However, to call a possible applicant an idiot in public is a bit questionable.

We could go on for a very long time.

Creasy has shared essay writing tips on his blog before, but he never lampooned applicants or their essays the way he does on Twitter. The admissions office also put up some successful essays for applicants so they can figure out what sort of essays are well received. There are, however, no examples of essays from students who were not admitted. We are not privy to the admissions office's decision making, but we suspect they do not post faulty essays because it is not only uncouth but also hurtful to these young impressionable applicants. Applicants put a lot of work into their applications but also sometimes open up their emotions and life stories.

It is something that deserves some careful reflection. How professional is it for a representative of this university to broadcast to the world the level of competence of Hopkins applicants?

Sadly, Creasy is not alone. An admissions officer at UVa is guilty of the same behavior. His most recent Twitter update “I really don’t like it when people call, toss me a few pieces of info, and then ask me to pick a student’s senior courses.”

In Creasy’s Twitter bio, he mentions nothing about writing in his personal capacity. He uses Twitter as a member of the Hopkins staff and advertises his Twitter on his blog. The Twitter account represents the University as much as his blog on the Hopkins website.

We think if any professor began posting on the internet flawed essays or student shortcomings, there would be some backlash from the student body. Unfortunately, the applicants are not in a position to stand up to Daniel Creasy. He, arguably, has a considerable input on a high school senior’s admission chances.

We could not consume all of Creasy’s Twitter feed, but if any readers find more Twitter gems, do let us know.

It would not hurt to show some discretion. Or better yet, follow the advice you give, @AdmissionDaniel!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fact-checking Mike Bloomberg

Contrary to what Mike Bloomberg '64 may think, 
Homewood House, above, is the architectural inspiration for the Homewood campus.

The University produced a video to commemorate the renovation of Gilman Hall. It was shown at the rededication Saturday and has been posted on YouTube. In it, President Ron Daniels, Dean Kathy Newman, other faculty, students, and alumni talk about the renovated building and the importance of the humanities at Hopkins.

Mike Bloomberg '64, the Mayor of New York City, makes a special appearance at the 3 minutes 58 seconds mark. He says:
Gilman is the history of Hopkins. Its architecture set the standard for the rest of the campus and the fact that you had to go through it to get basically from one place to another really made it the focal point for the university.
Not entirely true, Mr. Mayor.

Gilman was not the architectural inspiration for the Homewood campus. Here is the real story based on research done by Hopkins Underground.

When Johns Hopkins University was first founded, it was located near Howard and West Monument Streets in Romanesque buildings. Daniel Coit Gilman expressed a desire to move the campus to a more rural location and adopt more traditional architecture.

In 1902, William Keyser (as in Keyser Quad), a University trustee, donated the 120 acre Carroll family estate which includes Homewood House. The estate is what we know today as the Homewood campus.

Two years later, President Ira Remsen, Gilman's successor, held a design competition for a new main building and campus. At least two architects submitted proposals. John Russell Pope, who designed the Baltimore Museum of Art and Jefferson Memorial decades later, proposed a classical design and campus layout. The University Trustees did not go for his.

Instead, they picked the design from Parker, Thomas, & Rice, an architecture firm with offices in Baltimore and Boston. Douglas H. Thomas a Baltimore native graduated from Hopkins with a degree in engineering.

They used Georgian Revival architecture and design, seeking to emulate the features of Homewood House which was built in 1801.  They believed Homewood House to be "the shining architectural light already occupying the ground." Today, Homewood House is known as Homewood Museum.

Gilman Hall is a reinterpretation and enlargement of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It sought to connect the University with the American Colonial period and other Universities with Georgian architecture.

So while one of Hopkins's most famous alumni and a former chairman of the board has served his alma mater well, he is incorrect in saying Gilman is the architectural basis for the campus. It is that home to the north east of Gilman.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Details of Saturday's Gilman Rededication

A source has provided some details of the Gilman Hall rededication on Saturday night.
  • Over 400 guests dined on beet salad spiced with pecans, pears, and Fourme D'Ambert; sun-dried tomato and olive-crusted sea bass on a bed of butternut squash & dried fig risotto and wilted spinach; apple Charolotte timbale and Calvados Ice Cream; brownies and rockie road squares. 
  • Dean Kathy Newman officially rededicated Gilman Hall as the faculty of the humanities departments stood.
  • Fireworks were launched off the bell tower after Newman rededicated the building.
  • As Pam Flaherty quoted Daniel Gilman, an actor playing Gilman joined Flaherty in her recitation and took to the stage. "Gilman" was holding a lamp as he made his way to the stage. 
  • Flaherty and Newman bantered with "Gilman" for a couple minutes.
  • The University gave guests a piece of marble from the old Gilman with a plaque on it commemorating the rededication. 
  • Past University officials were in attendance: Steve Knapp, former Provost and now President of the George Washington University; Adam Falk, former Dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and now President of Williams College; and William Brody, former President of the University and now President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Photo: @JHU_Brian
 Daniel Gilman addresses the crowd
at the rededication of his eponymous building.