Fairly or unfairly, there is a tendency to pounce whenever something goes wrong at Harvard. Nobody would care, people say, if it weren’t Harvard. Everyone just loves taking whacks at the people at the top. I particularly like taking swipes at Harvard to raise my (Penn-educated) self-esteem. Sometimes, though, there’s something else at work. Sometimes all the attention is paid because we’re just plain flabbergasted by the ability of smart people to do stupid things.
Which brings us to Harvard junior Theodore Pak, who according to a report in the Harvard Crimson, is under investigation by the Middlesex District Attorney for allegedly producing fake state driver’s licenses and Harvard ID’s. Some of those ID’s, mind you, provided access to Harvard buildings as well as “Crimson Cash” accounts (basically debit accounts linked to school IDs).
Pak, of course, scored a perfect 1600 on his SATs.
(We know because he was also once a member of USA Today’s All-USA High School Academic Team.)
Obviously he hasn’t been found guilty yet, and everybody in this country except Roger Clemens has the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, but if he did do it, that’s a really smart guy doing something really stupid. The argument isn’t that smart people should know better than to break the law (history is full of evil geniuses, after all), just that smart people should be better at breaking the law.
Honestly, Pak blew what could have been a good thing. If he had stuck to simple fake-ID-for-the-sake-of-underage-drinking production, like gazillions of other college students out there, he would have been fine. He could have kept on turning a profit while allowing thirsty undergrads to sate themselves. It’s all pretty common, so most likely nobody would’ve bothered tracking it back to him. A win-win-win.
But by (allegedly) breaching security of campus buildings and allowing access to debit accounts, well, that’s where he (allegedly) got stupid. There’s no way the police weren’t going to track that down. As the cliche goes, it was only a matter of time.
Ok, I lied. The point of this just to take a whack at Harvard for the sake of it. Whatever. Go Quakers!
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2008/01/09/stealing-the-cahds-from-hahvahd-yahd/
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