Academic politics

The late University of Nevada, Reno foreign language professor Eugene Grotegut, who also served as Washoe County Democratic Party chair, once said, “If you think the politics of the Democratic Party are Byzantine, you should see the politics of the University of Nevada.”

In the last few days, these events have unfolded on campus:

• Ten of 16 members of the UNR police department said they had “no confidence” in their chief, Adam Garcia, the second time the force has done so.

• Student president Sarah Ragsdale survived on a 14-3 vote an attempt to impeach her for not making a couple of appointments to newly created positions as quickly as some senators thought she should.

• A committee of the student senate recommended that Sen. Jeremiah Todd, who is running for a student vice presidency, be expelled from the senate for neglecting to post three agendas at physical locations. (He posted them online.) If he is expelled, he can still run for vice president.

• The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapter at UNR that produced such leaders as former Gov. Richard Bryan was suspended for two years for hazing pledges by branding their buttocks with dry ice and feeding them raw poultry. The student newspaper Sagebrush observed in an editorial that the fraternity’s secrecy contributed to its problems.

Bryan recalls that prominent ATOs include former Republican national chair Frank Fahrenkopf, former U.S. Rep. James Santini, gambling regulators Roger Trounday and Paul Bible, and state legislators Roger Bremner and Leslie Mack Fry.

“It saddens me,” Bryan said. “And I hope the problems can be corrected, and I hope the chapter can be reinstated. It was a very important part of my life.”