A media kerfuffle has broken out at Cornell over a New York Times story that reads like a well-written fraternity listserv post.Times freelancer Courtney Rubin spoke to a number of Big Red students for her piece charting the decline of college bars in Wednesday’s paper, but apparently her sources don’t exist.
IvyGate first reported “Michelle Guida” and “Vanessa Gilen”, the story’s token sorority girls who pregamed with tequila shots before coming to the bar, were not listed in the University directory. Rubin told the Cornell Daily Sun she’s “gobsmacked” by the revelation and contends her sources gave her fake names.
“I’m honestly shocked by this. I’m looking at my notebook, going over my notes … It’s all here,” Rubin told the Sun. “I can clearly see where it was in [the bar] where I spoke to them and what they were wearing. Why would I make up names? I don’t make stuff up.”
Additionally, Rubin goes on some interesting tangents apparently in hopes of settling a score with the Kappas who didn’t let her in. In talking about the pre-party scene at Gettysburg College, Rubin writes:
“Pregames often are single sex, with men playing beer pong or video games, and women drinking vodka sodas or a peach-flavored Champagne called André and refusing to head out until they have captured the perfect photo, which they promptly post to Instagram and Facebook.”
As for her journalistic indiscretions, Rubin seems to be vindicated by the fact the following evening, three Cornell “seniors” photographed for the piece gave the Times’ Heather Ainsworth fake names. The students were actually juniors, according to the Sun’s sources.
Those who didn’t have the wherewithal to disguise their identities were, of course, the frat boys. Mike McLaughlin, a 21-year-old(?) senior(?) who had a wild night of binge drinking, misogyny, late night food, and drunk Madden that somehow simultaneously challenged Rubin’s claim that college bars are dying and confirmed it at the same time.
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