Looking Back: Stanford Newsmakers of Fall ’09

Posted by at 11:20PM

stanfordtiger.jpg2009, and the nameless decade that went along with it, are no more.
But 2009 at Stanford did not go gentle into that good night; instead, it finished with a crazy quarter that featured plenty of newsworthy stories from campus and beyond. And since the end of the year seems to perpetually trigger people’s list-making abilities, I present my very unofficial, and probably highly incomplete, list of the top Stanford newsmakers from this past quarter:
7: Tiger Woods. Tiger was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame in November. That’s the only notable thing that happened to Tiger.
6: Michelle Kerr. While not as famous as Tiger, Kerr made national headlines when Stanford’s School of Education went out of its way to ensure that Kerr’s viewpoints were silenced. Luckily, after a great deal of bad press came Stanford’s way because of this frighteningly draconian (and anti-blogging) behavior, administrators realized their mistakes and resolved the situation.
‘Continue reading’ to see the top 5…

5: Sigourney Weaver. Weaver starred in the recent 3-D megahit Avatar, which was described by friends of mine as “awesome,” “crazy,” “amazing,” etc. Probably not as “awesome” “crazy” or “amazing” as Dave, but you take what you can get.
4: Jim Harbaugh. With great success comes great responsibility–and by great responsibility I mean a whole bunch of rumors and paranoia. First, there were a bunch of rumors about his contract, then fear that he was going to leave, then accusations of usage of offensive language (quickly shown to be unproven), and then more fear that he was going to leave. Looking past the headlines, he led Stanford to a bowl game and got paid handsomely for it.
3 and 2: Jay De La Torre and the ASSU. The ASSU finally got some media attention for something other than arguing about how much pizza people can eat, but it was not for the better: Vice President of the student body Jay De La Torre (who ran with current president David Gobaud) abruptly resigned the vice-presidency because, as it turned out, he was being suspended for cheating on a CS106A assignment. In his favor, De La Torre did what Tiger did not: he made a specific, seemingly-sincere apology. And thankfully he was taking 106A, not 105, which inherently grants him a minimum level of respect. Despite this, though, we’ve got to ask: what was he thinking? Not only did he know before he ran that he was under investigation, but the first thing you hear in CS106A is the professor tell you, very explicitly, that you should not copy code because you will be caught. It’s also all over the syllabus. This warning is repeated throughout the class, so it’s kind of hard to miss.


Photo: AP Paul Sakuma

And his resignation was just the beginning of troubles for the ASSU: In the wake of De La Torre’s sudden departures, more issues arose for the ASSU: allegations of excessive spending by former ASSU heads Avula and Jones and complications involving Gobaud’s replacement choices for De La Torre’s position, including the resignation of a top member of Gobaud’s administration. Who knew an ineffective bureaucratic organization could be so complicated?
1. Toby Gerhart. 1,871 yards. 28 touchdowns. Over 2,000 total yards. And he threw a touchdown pass. Led Stanford to its best season in a long, long time. Conclusion: he should’ve won the Heisman.
Who are your big newsmakers of Fall 2009? Comment them below.

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