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Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:47 pm
by cvdwightw
(Note: I dug this up while doing a Google search for quizbowl scandal to see just how many public IRC logs regarding the 2010 NSC were available after reading Matt's post about pastie)

From March 22, 2009
NY Post wrote:Christopher Asch, the librarian and adviser to the Quiz Club at Stuyvesant HS, took seven students on an unauthorized trip to a Quiz Bowl at Harvard University.

Asch took one student whose father had personally called Asch to tell him his child could not go, the report says.

Asch also put the kids on a bus back to New York, but did not join them, leaving them without a chaperone and infuriating the parents.

The DOE yanked him from the school.
A search of this board indicates that the incident referenced likely occurred at HFT 2007.

First of all, I suppose I should apologize to any of the Stuyvesant and/or Harvard people who wanted to keep this under wraps; the fact is that it did appear in a newspaper accessed via a simple Google search, all I did was bring it to the attention of the community (possibly for a second or third time). Second, this is the second weirdest "unauthorized quizbowl trip" story I've ever seen (2003 Martin County and its many subplots takes the cake, hands down). Third, Stuyvesant and/or Harvard people of that era have a more complete story that they may or may not want to tell; an Internet search has already revealed to me that there is more to this story than just the unauthorized quizbowl trip. Last, I think this serves as a reminder to everyone that if your school administration does not approve of you playing quizbowl, you better make sure they don't find out you're playing quizbowl.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:52 pm
by Sir Thopas
Doug Yetman has some stories he can disgruntledly tell you.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:47 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
I'm pretty sure there's another reason he got yanked from the school too...

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:13 am
by Carambola!
Our school has never known of any of our trips to any National Championships.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:14 am
by kayli
Good thing you post about this in a public forum.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:41 am
by nobthehobbit
Didn't RIT have some problems with this when they first started? Or am I misremembering things (as usual)?

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:06 pm
by Duncan Idaho
cvdwightw wrote:...Last, I think this serves as a reminder to everyone that if your school administration does not approve of you playing quizbowl, you better make sure they don't find out you're playing quizbowl.
Whenever we at Southside wanted to make a tournament that was unauthorized for whatever reason (e.g. we hadn't filed field trip forms in time or something), our teachers never came with us, not even as spectators, and certainly not as drivers, which I think would have put them at liability for us. We would either have a team parent drive us, or one of us would drive. We would also never use the name "Southside," because, according to administrators, that would mean we were representing the school. If we went without teachers and under another name, we were basically just some kids getting together to play a tournament, which made it okay. South Carolina's lack of a quizbowl organization made attending unauthorized tournaments rather easy.
So, in review:
1. Take a parent or drive yourself. Leave the teachers at home.
2. Use a psuedonym. (Be creative, if you like. Or there's always "Not [Your School].)

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:17 pm
by Cheynem
I mean, I don't know this guy nor the other horror stories, but this isn't just "unauthorized participation" in quizbowl, this is just being a bad authority figure. A parent personally says a child cannot go...so you bring the child? You make no effort to provide chaparones? I'd be a little mad at this guy too.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:49 pm
by Kyle
I just want to say that I didn't know anything about this. I'm a little surprised by the suggestion that this happened during the 2007 HFT; the 2006 HFT, when the Stuyvesant players came by themselves, seems more likely to me. Also, I could be completely wrong, but I believe they paid in cash in 2006 and by check in 2007. Of course, had they or any other team asked for help in covering up their unauthorized participation in quizbowl, I would have happily obliged.

We used to lie about playing Knowledge Bowl in high school all the time. There were scrimmages after school. We would ask our coach if he could go or not. If he could go, we filled out the paperwork properly. If he said he couldn't go, then we just went and didn't tell him we were going. Nothing says "rebel" like illicit participation in academic competition.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:32 pm
by Rufous-capped Thornbill
Kyle wrote: Nothing says "rebel" like illicit participation in academic competition.
There's a commentary to be made about high schools across the country that this is so commonplace. I know my team had to take similar measures several times this year.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:24 pm
by Auroni
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:Good thing you post about this in a public forum.
As far as I can tell, the MSJ club is entirely-student run (as in, the school doesn't even know that the club exists). So them going to weekend tournaments is equivalent to their members traveling to hang out somewhere in the eyes of the administration, so there is nothing they have to risk by revealing this information. (Correct me if I'm wrong in any step of this path of logic, Jeffrey.)

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:03 am
by Howard
Cheynem wrote:I mean, I don't know this guy nor the other horror stories, but this isn't just "unauthorized participation" in quizbowl, this is just being a bad authority figure. A parent personally says a child cannot go...so you bring the child? You make no effort to provide chaparones? I'd be a little mad at this guy too.
Yep. Parents get to be in charge of their kids. Period.

And then failing to provide proper supervision. Wow.

I guarantee if one of these was my child, especially if mine were the one that didn't have permission to attend, I'd be at the school in a hurry and having a not-so-nice conversation with the principal.


Unfortunately, as Charlie alludes, there is information suggesting that this isn't the stupidest or worst thing this guy has done at this school.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:09 am
by dyetman89
Let's see if I can't clear up a couple of misconceptions/continually propagated falsehoods about this incident:
Howard wrote:Unfortunately, as Charlie alludes, there is information suggesting that this isn't the stupidest or worst thing this guy has done at this school.

The criminal charges brought against Mr. Asch (for which see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/nyreg ... esant.html ) were subsequently thrown out in court. It would be inappropriate, I think, lay out all of my thoughts on the character and behavior of my former advisor in a public forum; suffice to say that he treated Stuy quizbowl with the utmost professionalism and solicitude, and indeed it was with no small help from his grateful former students that the case was dropped (a cross-section of the outpouring of support can be seen in the comments thread here: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... ual-abuse/ )
Cheynem wrote:I mean, I don't know this guy nor the other horror stories, but this isn't just "unauthorized participation" in quizbowl, this is just being a bad authority figure. A parent personally says a child cannot go...so you bring the child? You make no effort to provide chaparones? I'd be a little mad at this guy too.
The "child" in question was yours truly (shocking!). As I had already attained the age of majority, my thinking (then and now) was that any argument hinging on the purported legal authority at my parents' disposal looks pretty flimsy. I wonder if Mr. Howard and others here would agree; certainly the NY State court system did!

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:14 am
by Nine-Tenths Ideas
Hey kids: Unauthorized participation in quizbowl may appear fun, but it's really not. Do everything you can in your power to see if you can go officially before resorting to pseudonyms and paying out of pocket.

Re: Hide Your Unauthorized Participation in Quizbowl Well!

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:09 pm
by Howard
dyetman89 wrote:The criminal charges brought against Mr. Asch (for which see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/nyreg ... esant.html ) were subsequently thrown out in court. It would be inappropriate, I think, lay out all of my thoughts on the character and behavior of my former advisor in a public forum; suffice to say that he treated Stuy quizbowl with the utmost professionalism and solicitude, and indeed it was with no small help from his grateful former students that the case was dropped (a cross-section of the outpouring of support can be seen in the comments thread here: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... ual-abuse/ )
Thanks for responding, Doug. Unfortunately, big news is often made when charges are brought but nothing is mentioned later when charges are dropped or the trial is completed. (I had attempted to locate information on the actual legal proceedings but failed. I couldn't find a way to search past litigation effectively.)

As examples, I know of a school employee who was arrested on drug-related charges and forced into retirement, and then later the charges were dropped as the whole thing appeared to be a set-up after what I presume was a test for drug use. Big news when the arrest was made. Nothing when dropped. No apology.

In another case, a young lady was killed in a traffic accident in front of my place of employment because some knucklehead was driving so fast on a very busy road with a 40MPH speed limit that his car went airborn upon hitting a 4" raised median to the point that when he went into incoming traffic, he took the roof off the victim's car. Occurred in December, 2008. Big news. Two months ago, two defendants convicted of manslaughter, one of which also convicted of failing to remain at the scene of the accident. Can't find any news story on the conviction anywhere. Sentencing is scheduled a month from now, and it's a pretty safe wager we won't see any news stories then, either.

Thanks again for giving us information we probably have no way of retrieving elsewhere.

dyetman89 wrote:The "child" in question was yours truly (shocking!). As I had already attained the age of majority, my thinking (then and now) was that any argument hinging on the purported legal authority at my parents' disposal looks pretty flimsy. I wonder if Mr. Howard and others here would agree; certainly the NY State court system did!
I agree. Legally, there's little they can do. Being the age of majority, you have the legal right to decide for yourself what you do.

As far as the poor judgment, I think that still stands. Societally and culturally, as long as you're in school, it's pretty much assumed that your parents are still in charge of your life. Even if we say we disagree with parents and agree completely with an age of majority student, ignoring the parents' wishes creates a set of complicated problems for everyone involved that we'd probably be better without.