WalMart Family Values
Here’s an installment in WalMart Family Values that will amuse you. For the second time in several years, the University of Missouri-Columbia finds itself embarrassed over the naming rights it has granted to rich Republicans who donate money to the school. First, the school accepted a $1.1 million donation from Ken Lay for the establishment of an economics department chairmanship in Mr. Lay’s name, which has yet to be filled. School officials say that the filling of that professorship will be on hold pending Lay’s trial and possible conviction for defrauding employees and investors in the Enron meltdown.
Now, after accepting $25 million in 2001 from one of the late Sam Walton’s daughters for the naming rights to the university’s new sports arena and seeing Bill and Nancy Laurie tell the university that they wanted the building named after their daughter Elizabeth Paige Laurie (above-who never attended school there), the university has obtained permission from the Lauries to name the building something else. Why?
Because it turns out that Elizabeth Paige Laurie, who as we said never attended the school, actually cheated her way through the University of Southern California by paying her Hispanic roommate to do her homework for her. All told, according to Laurie’s first-year roommate Elena Martinez, Laurie paid Martinez $20,000 over 3 ˝ years to do her homework, answer emails, and accept criticism from Laurie over the work that Martinez did for her.
Laurie is now under investigation at USC, after a school official said he has “never heard of possible cheating of this magnitude” in his twenty-five years of academia. Martinez had to drop out of USC because she couldn’t afford tuition any more, yet Laurie paid her to keep doing her homework for her, and to answer emails from professors about the work she had done so that it would still appear that Laurie was doing the work. And yet Laurie would still critique Martinez’s work as if she was her supervisor, when in fact she was just another Jenna Bush-like spoiled young, rich blond GOP airhead using her family to coast through life on the backs of others.
It sure would have been nice if the Lauries had spent a little time in the last twenty years instilling some ethics and moral values into their daughter, but perhaps this is what they and the rest of the GOP supporters in places like Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri find acceptable behavior. Mr. Walton and his kids could also have taken some of their millions to pay for health benefits for their workers, instead of blowing $25 million on the naming rights to arenas. Well, at least the Chinese will force the company to pay a little more attention to its workers in that country.