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The Biggest Troublemakers


Most college administrators would say that it’s good to stay out of the newspaper headlines. Unfortunately, these schools couldn’t keep their scandals out of the limelight and practically wallpapered the front pages with their name. Though a spot on this list may not be an achievement to display on your fridge, students at these troublemaker campuses will remember their alma mater as anything but boring when they reminisce about their crazy college days. Bring on the journalists!

10.EMORY UNIVERSITY(Atlanta, Georgia)

In August of 2012, the president of Emory University announced that the schoolhad been sending false data to college rankers such as U.S. News & World Report for possibly a decade. The school inflated its standing in college rankings by intentionally misreporting SAT and ACT scores and class rankings, using data for students who were admitted rather than those who attended (whose scores were actually lower). At least partly because of the scandal, Jean Jordan, who served as admissions dean from 2007 to 2011, resigned from her new job as the director of college counseling at Holy Innocents Episcopal School. In her letter of resignation, she claimed she wanted“to pursue another endeavor.” Though no reports have concluded that Jordan was a participant in the scandal, Jordan told her administrators she did not want questions of integrity to be associated with the Holy Innocents, according to 11 Alive News. Despite Emory’s usage of false information, U.S. News officials said Emory’s No. 20 ranking would’ve stayed the same in the past two years had the data been correct, and the false data only had “a small to negligible effect” in the years before that (according to ajc.com).

9. CORNELL UNIVERSITY (Ithaca, New York)

In the spring 2013 semester alone, Cornell shut down two fraternities, Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Beta Tau, and sanctioned four: Phi Kappa Psi, Chi Psi, Sigma Nu, and Delta Phi. The Cornell Daily Sun reports that Alpha Tau Omega violated drug and alcohol policies, while Zeta Beta Tau failed to comply with chapter and university expectations. Phi Kappa Psi and Chi Psi are both facing hazing allegations, while Sigma Nu and Delta Phi are both required to host hazing awareness programs. The campus has been debating the usefulness of Greek Life for ages, weighing its pros and highly publicized cons; in 2011, there was a particularly unusual case where the freshmen pledges hazed older brothers of the fraternity, which resulted in one death after a brother was kidnapped, tied up, and forced to drink alcohol. One popular commenter from another Cornell Daily Sun article recommended that the school step back and think, because “perhaps the Greek system has too large a presence at Cornell if measures to ensure student safety are constantly met with such controversy.”

8. YOUNG HARRIS COLLEGE (Young Harris, Georgia)

A small college in northern Georgia, Young Harris College is also making a name for itself in the shameful business of Greek hazing. Members of the Gamma Psi sorority subjected their pledges to a slew of sexually and emotionally abusive rituals, including blindfolding pledges in the middle of the woods and forcing them to partake in "panty runs" (where pledges ran around in their underwear while fraternity members watched). Though outrageous hazing stories make headlines all the time, not many have an aftermath as appalling as this one. After the public caught wind of the news, Young Harris College prohibited the school newspaper from writing about the hazing scandal, and subsequently fired two professors who opposed the censorship.

7. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY (Princeton, New Jersey)

Princeton alumna Susan Patton made feminists cringe when she advised young women at her alma mater to look for a husband before tossing their graduation caps. In a letter to the editor in The Daily Princetonian, Patton said powerful Princeton collegiettes have the best chances of finding an intellectually worthwhile mate during their undergraduate career. She warned single, female graduates that settling for a lesser-educated man will end in frustration (she divorced her non-Princeton ex-husband of 27 years earlier this year. Coincidence?). Though Patton intended for her letter to be “little more than honest advice from a Jewish mother,” she faced major backlash for her regressive words. But the real victim here is probably her son, a current junior at Princeton (Mom, you’re embarrassing me!).


In 2012, more than a year after she was raped by an acquaintance, Angie Epifano came forward with a personal essay that condemned Amherst College's poor handling of sexual assault cases. Epifano revealed the disturbing advice she received from the school’s counseling services ("They told me: We can report your rape as a statistic, you know, for records, but I don’t recommend that you go through a disciplinary hearing."), so it was no surprise when her essay went viral. Her essay spearheaded a movement to address the rape culture at Amherst, garnering support from other victims and students across the country. The Huffington Post even named Epifano as one of the “Most Influential Forces in Higher Education.” Because of this collegiette’s outcry, Amherst College introduced a Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct in October 2012 to improve the school’s policies. You go, girl!

5. VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY (Nashville, Tennessee)

The past year was not a good one for Vanderbilt school spirit. Four football players were dismissed from the team and suspended from the university following their alleged involvement in a sex crime.The administration and Metro Police are trying to keep details on the DL, but it was revealed that the crime happened in a campus dorm. Morale from stadium sidelines isn’t so hot either, especially after one Vanderbilt cheerleader made the mistake of taking explicit photo booth pictures with her boyfriend at a Kappa Delta formal. She didn’t realize the images were automatically uploaded online (though we can’t see why she thought it was a good idea either way) and unknowingly blasted her shameful selfies all over Facebook. We're going to assume that split-second blunder won’t be helpful for her law school applications.

4. UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o suffered heartbreak in his 2012 season when he received news that his online girlfriend had passed away from leukemia—only to later find out that the entire relationship was a hoax, and she didn’t exist! The man behind the elaborate prank, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, posed as a Stanford University student named Lennay Kekua, using photos of her to create a fictitious online persona who would eventually date Te’o. In an interview on Dr. Phil, Tuiasosopo admitted that his history as a victim of sexual abuse was a factor that made him use his false identity as an escape, but he became so invested in his alter ego that he eventually fell in love with Te’o! While some suspect Te’o played a role in the hoax in order to garner sympathy (he was a Heisman candidate), he maintains his innocence. In an interview with Katie Couric, Te’o says he had no part in creating the hoax. A few days after the story first broke on Deadspin, Tuiasosopo contacted Te’o to apologize. We don’t even know how you begin that kind of apology!


This school has forever changed the way we see “hostile environments.” The public was outraged when UNC’s student-run Honor Court charged Landen Gambill with an honor code violation for her “intimidating behavior” against her alleged rapist ex-boyfriend (she spoke out about the alleged rape but never named her ex-boyfriend outright). Though the charges have since been dropped (UNC is awaiting an evaluation of the honor code by a campus committee), Gambill is still one of five women who have filed complaints against UNC for underreporting sexual assault cases. Gambill and others claim the former Associate Dean of Students, Melissa Manning, was forced by higher administrators to decrease the reported number of cases. On top of this scandal, the school has spent almost $1 million on investigations into an academic fraud scandal that involved unauthorized grade changes and "no-attendance" classes for the benefit of student athletes.

2. HARVARD UNIVERSITY (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

In a mass cheating scandal in August 2012, 125 students (nearly half of the 279-person class) were accused of breaching the no-collaboration policy on a take-home final. The dishonest plot was foiled when Matthew B. Platt, an assistant professor of government who taught the class Introduction to Congress, noticed similarities in his students’ exams. As a result, the school forced around 70 students to withdraw, or leave campus for a short period before returning (John Harvard would be disappointed!).

But students weren’t the only ones causing trouble. To make matters worse, the school secretly accessed the email accounts of 16 deans to find out who leaked the cheating story to the press. The deans were told of the snooping only after the snitch was caught. Harvard was slammed with yet another ethical mishap when it turned over four quiz bowl tournament titles because a competitor accessed the questions beforehand.

1. RUTGERS UNIVERSITY (New Brunswick, New Jersey)

Rutgers, often called “Sl*tgers” in the Tri-state area, is notorious for having a party-crazed campus (it was even named the #1 Sl*ttist College in America by Barstool U). Last spring, eight students were arrested on various charges, including aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, riot, and failure to disperse, at their famous “Delafest” block party. More than 500 students attended the block party, which was meant to replace their beloved Rutgersfest (it was canceled after 2011 for being too wild). Rowdy students at Delafest set couches on fire and threw bottles at police officers who tried to disperse the crowd.

And the social scene was just background noise to the trouble in the athletics department at Rutgers. The school spent a whopping $2.3 million dealing with scandals involving ex-men's basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired after a video of him berating his players was leaked online. Rice took tough coaching to another level, yelling homophobic slurs during practice and chucking basketballs at players' heads. As a result, the Director of Intercollegiette Athletics, Tim Pernetti, was also forced to resign. “Students are outraged and want Rutgers President Barchi's head on a platter—supposedly he knew about Mike Rice's behavior and the release of the video allowed him the opportunity to use Tim Pernetti as a scapegoat,” says Josephine Bathan, a senior at Rutgers. Pernetti was replaced by Julie Hermann, a former college volleyball coach—ironic, because we hear that Hermann wasn’t much of a role model either. In 1996, her entire team of Tennessee volleyball players signed a letter that accused her of “mental cruelty.”

Click here to see all of Her Campus's 2013 College Rankings!

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