Stanford studies tendency of people who vacation together in Italy to have sex

Mental challenge for today: A rich 29-year-old guy invites a 21-year-old fashion model and college undergraduate to go on an all-expenses paid vacation with him to Italy where they will be sharing a luxury hotel room. She accepts the invitation. Are they likely to have sex?

This question is being investigated by the 10 lb. heads of Stanford University, with the help of one of the world’s most expensive law firms, Pillsbury (disclosure: I have served as an expert witness in Delaware Chancery Court for a Pillsbury client; Pillsbury won the case so apparently they are worth whatever they’re charging).

This question also merits an epic-length New York Times magazine article.

What do readers think? Can a society survive when some of its best educated people are occupied with this kind of investigation? What does it mean when the editors of a major newspaper think that this is newsworthy?

My idea for Stanford’s next research inquiry: Do visitors to Las Vegas tend to drink and gamble?

11 thoughts on “Stanford studies tendency of people who vacation together in Italy to have sex

  1. You should have more sympathy for this poor girl. This evil dude raped her all over the planet – he raped her in Rome, he raped her NY, he raped her in California, he sometimes raped her 10 times a day at deluxe hotels all over creation. For that much raping, he should be giving her half his fortune, just like he would have if he had married her. Want kind of justice is this?

  2. Philip,

    I think you might have mentioned the reason Stanford is involved: he was her assigned mentor for a specific class.

  3. To snowclone Orwell:
    If you want a vision of the future, imagine millions of women reading this article, Tweeting it to each other in outrage (#RapeCulture), and demanding harsher new laws against men while standing in line for tickets to “Fifty Shades of Grey” – forever.

  4. Phil,

    I thought you were saying that Stanford was conducting a scholarly inquiry. True, it was odd they would use a law firm to assist with a scholarly study, but trial lawyers do have some skills that sociologists don’t. After reading the NY Times article, I see that Stanford’s inquiry is purely a legal one, being done because of ongoing litigation. That casts things in an entirely different light — one that fully explains what Stanford is doing and why. It is not a case of academics studying the obvious.


  5. John: “assigned mentor”? He was not a Stanford employee. He was like a guest lecturer who shows up in class. If you run an English class and invite a drunken poet (redundant?) to speak and an adult student has sex with the poet, do we say that this was somehow fundamental to the class? If you go off campus to have sex with someone you met on campus I don’t think the university automatically has a dog in whatever fight ensues.

  6. Phil,

    I disagree, since the NYT article states:

    “Clougherty and Lonsdale had been dating over the previous couple of weeks, while he was her assigned mentor for an undergraduate course at Stanford called Technology Entrepreneurship, Engineering 145. ”

    Stanford has an official role here.

  7. Phil/John,

    It was not as if he was randomly assigned. Apparently the two knew each other previously so he asked to be assigned as her mentor.

    >while standing in line for tickets to “Fifty Shades of Grey” – forever.

    When I lived in NY sometimes I had to stand in line for tickets to a hot movie for a long time, but it only SEEMED like you were standing in line forever.

    Obviously the girl made a mistake by NOT getting pregnant. She didn’t even have to carry it to term. Just the pregnancy alone would have been good for a large settlement. Good luck to her with the palimony suit with no baby/fetus in sight. Then again she was model thin/anorexic so who knows if she was even capable of conceiving.

  8. I believe both Sergey Brin (now separated) and Larry Page (now seemingly happily married) both met their wives under similar circumstances at Stanford. Given the full-on effort to start Google (so nary a moment to hang out in bars in Palo Alto, meet women via “It’s Just Lunch” or similar, not surprising their girlfriends would spring from the pool of slightly younger Stanford students. My own take on this story is that the female took no responsibility, and shouldn’t have accepted an invite to a luxury vacation in Italy unless she wanted to engage in a physical, possibly long-term relationship with the entrepreneur.

  9. This young woman will look back in 25 years and conclude that she was victimized by an ambitious and controlling mother who encouraged this relationship and orchestrated the litigious response.

    Joe and Ellie knew each other before the mentoring arrangement. She boldly sought him out through a mutual friend and was introduced in New York about a year prior.

    The flimsy allegations seem to arise out of a sense of having compromised one’s morals. He had a reasonable expectation of sex, she went along with it for a time – all the while texting her friend that sex is “overrated”. When the relationship fizzled she felt used and discarded. When she learned that Joe was dating another Stanford student that sent her and Mommy into revenge mode.

    Ellie’s twitter handle is “ILove Stanford”. Really? While most of us are writing checks to our beloved alma mater you sued them and settled for an “undisclosed amount”. I’m sure they love you too and will be more cautious in admissions when it comes to applicants who “missed a lot of high school to pursue a modeling career”.

    The litigious mindset of Ellie is evidenced in an e-mail she wrote to Joe regarding her experience as an inpatient for treatment of an eating disorder. She talks about “mistreatment” at the facility which presented her with a “huge opportunity to sue”.

  10. PS: This IS “newsworthy” because it demonstrated that men can be victimized as well and the standard by which these cases are decided are totally unfair 50.8%

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