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An eye for an eye at Hillsdale College

Posted by Christopher Shea  April 8, 2009 10:48 AM

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A Hillsdale student editor examines an unusual delivery

Whenever someone criticizes colleges for lax standards and moral relativism, someone invariably steps forward to say: Forget the debauched Ivy League! Send your children to Hillsdale, a God-fearing, traditionalist school in Hillsdale, Michigan. (The conservative elite, who often retail this line, themselves send their children to the standard "elite" schools, but that's a tale for another day.) Hillsdale goes so far as to eschew federal aid in order to maintain its independence from regulation.

This month, however, saw a rather grisly turn of events at this academic city on a hill. It began when the student newspaper, The Collegian, took a few admittedly snarky shots at the Hillsdale baseball team ("We like baseball, but not this kind"), citing the team's defeat in nine of their last ten games. The editors suggested that with such a record the least the team could do would be to drop their big-men-on-campus swagger. "Lose the stride boys [sic]," the editors concluded.

Shortly afterwards, the editors thought better of their tone and posted an apology on the weekly paper's Web site: "[W]e never should have attacked the character of the baseball team or the coaching staff. We understand you do your best to represent the college well."

But that wasn't the end of the matter. A few days later, a Collegian editor awoke to find his front porch strewn with -- animal carcasses. According to the Collegian, these included "one and a half [!] deer, several large rodents and a black goat with alleged [!] gunshot wounds to the head and sternum."

Beneath the goat, the perpetrators placed a copy of a Collegian sports section with an article critical of the baseball team. A Hillsdale student reported seeing young men carrying the carcasses, late at night, using shovels, from a group house known locally as "the baseball house."

Not the most difficult case to crack, it would seem. The local police, however, have so far let the incident slide, according to the Collegian.

Campus opinion seems divided as to whether this was a harmless prank -- by a team that, as the Collegian put it, does its best "to represent the college well" -- or just disgusting.

UPDATE: I originally wrote that the apology to the team followed the carcass delivery. In fact, it preceded the incident.

Via Romenesko

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17 comments so far...
  1. The editor's apology preceded the carcass incident...

    Posted by Mark P April 8, 09 02:28 PM
  1. And I thought I moved from Hillsdale to MA to get away from their BS lol

    Posted by Michelle April 8, 09 02:39 PM
  1. Everyone here at Hillsdale sees this for what it is: a funny prank. The animals were all found dead on the side of the road, including the goat. Also, the student editor who lives at the house wrote an article on what happens to roadkill in Hillsdale County a few weeks ago.

    Posted by Student April 8, 09 03:06 PM
  1. Those of you on the outside have no idea what is going on here.

    Hillsdale is a college of 1300 students. Everyone knows everyone else here and over time, rivalries develop between different groups of students. The Collegian went out of its way to take shots at the baseball team, and the baseball team responded by pranking the home of an editor (who may not have even written the article).

    The animal carcasses represent about a week's worth of accumulated roadkill. The goat was put out of its misery by its owner and left on the side of the road. No animals were harmed by this act.

    I'm surprised this is even getting local coverage. It certainly doesn't deserve national spotlight.

    Posted by A Charger April 8, 09 03:32 PM
  1. The "issue date" refers, I believe, to the last paper copy of the Collegian which came out last Thursday, 4/2. That paper copy including the offensive editorial. I am pretty sure that the apology came out the next day, 4/3. Monday morning at 1 AM (4/6), the carcasses were left on the porch.

    Posted by Mark P April 8, 09 03:33 PM
  1. As a recent alumna of Hillsdale, I would like to counteract the viewpoint voiced by commenter #4. Hillsdale College prides itself on its liberal arts education, intended to cultivate the minds and spirits of students in preparation for the challenges and opportunities of life in the real world. This disgusting incident, no matter how lightly intended, is a disgrace to that effort. The College is by no means perfect, but it is also by no means a breeding ground for crude and depraved reactionists.
    No one hates bad or irresponsible writing more than I, but this "prank" is way out of proportion to an offensive editorial. A civilized member of society would have responded with a well-crafted letter of rebuttal, not an act of barbarism.

    Posted by Sharon Pelletier April 8, 09 05:19 PM
  1. I attend Hillsdale College. I am a friend of many people who work for the Collegian, and although I don't know many baseball players, I don't hold a grudge against any of them. The editors apologized for the story the morning after the story ran (Friday), and the carcasses were put on the porch after the whole weekend had passed! To me this is not a prank, this is a disgusting act of vandalism. Strewing about dead animals and festooning a porch in their entrails is not a prank. Tepee-ing a house is a prank. I am disappointed that Mr. Krudy did not file charges and I am even more surprised that the administration is taking no action to punish this awful act. This is not "an eye for an eye." This is unwarranted vandalism and is disgusting. I am appalled that I attend school with students capable of doing this and then calling it a joke.

    Posted by Another Hillsdale Student April 8, 09 06:59 PM
  1. I am a proud female charger athlete and am friends with the baseball team and also the Collegian staff. What "student" wrote is accurate and "a charger" the animals were found on the side of the road and the editor wrote an article about roadkill...but this shouldnt have hit national news. The school is small and the baseball team is made up of some amazing guys and i can understand a bunch of guys getting a tad out of control in regards to pulling pranks. I will still go out and cheer on my Charger Boys!! Hillsdale students like to keep our drama/gossip/life out of the national and local news just like we dont take money from the government. we are private. and that is how we live our lives.

    Posted by Hillsdale Charger April 8, 09 07:10 PM
  1. To the commenter in #6: Suddenly you want to characterize the guys on the baseball team as crude and depraved reactionists committing acts of barbarism.

    Such harsh language. You take yourself too seriously.

    If you were still at Hillsdale, you might see this differently. Some of us find this funny. The rest of us see it as a harmless prank. Obviously your personality differs. In a few days the baseball team has amassed a support group of 220 members on facebook. No one in Hillsdale is losing any sleep over this. It is your choice to be offended.

    Posted by A Charger April 9, 09 12:17 AM
  1. I've heard from many students that the players with the swager are the seniors on the team, who apparently aren't that good. aparenetly, the underclassmen can turn the team around. too bad it is going to happen after the fact that the baseball team smeared their character more than the collegian ever could. All i know is that the school is loving the attention and that Mr. Krudy has handled the situation with swagger. I encourage all people to come watch the Hillsdale Rugby Football Club's home rugby match on Saturday, April 18th.

    Posted by Billy Jeane April 9, 09 01:56 AM
  1. I'm from Hillsdale, and no not everyone see's this as a prank. I've yet to see a dead goat on the side of the road. Other papers are reporting it was had gunshot wounds as did the college newspaper. I also read the Collegian article. The dead animals where all set in various poses and the deer was gutted, with the intestines strung up around the students front porch like Christmas garland.

    But no worry Charger fans, college administration is busy downplaying this just as the downplay all the other sick twisted things that happen on campus. Yeap, this is the same school where the college president was having an affair with his son's wife, and then she committed suicide as a result. Look it up if you doubt me.

    Posted by Jeffrey Dalmer April 9, 09 09:55 PM
  1. Comment 11 needs to be addressed. I know the baseball players well and I am familiar enough with this story to know that the owner of the goat had put the goat out of its misery after the goat had undergone some major problems. Many other papers can report what they will, but remember that an institution which stands on principles which society continues to devalue is always vulnerable to criticism for the smallest things.

    If you feel the need to make hasty generalizations about an institution because of a prank and an event which took place nearly a decade ago, then I think the college has done a great job maintaining its standards. Better to be in the news for a prank than for contributing to regulated government brainwashing we find in schools today.

    Posted by Student April 10, 09 10:02 AM
  1. Student:

    I think you should have stuck with your first post, "we found it at the side of the road" story. Your latest fabrication is nothing less then bizarre.

    If this is a recent example of Hillsdale's "great job maintaining standards" I think the people that need to be worried about being brainwashed are the students of Hillsdale College. Oh how far this school has fallen.

    Posted by 1970s Alumni April 10, 09 11:56 AM
  1. This is hillarious! And just about everyone is overreactin. Also, the deer was not gutted, it cut open from the car that hit it.

    Posted by Hick April 10, 09 11:02 PM
  1. I saw the picture Hick, if the deer wasn't gutted how did the intestines attach themselves to the front pillars of the porch?

    Posted by 1970's Alumni April 11, 09 10:30 AM
  1. It is completely ridiculous that this stupid story is getting so much attention! It was stupid thing to do and the guys who did it are being punished by the administration. No one is condoning what happened! I find it highly amusing that after decades of effort by Hillsdale College to be recognized for its unconventional mission and policies, it's THIS stupid piece of schlock that gets picked up by national news outlets with an axe to grind.

    Posted by For Pity's Sake... April 17, 09 01:16 AM
  1. I love the way you guys choose your stories around here. Several articles on a stupid prank committed by a few stupid guys in a little private college. I did a search and could not come up with a single article on the fatal stabbing that occured at Gettysburg College in PA a few days ago. I can see you guys really have your priorities straight.

    Posted by Amused April 17, 09 01:27 AM
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