the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

My Class Action Suit


Att:  Class Action Suit Proposed Against Several Prominent Universities by "Citizen of the Month"

This is Nobel Prize time, an exciting time for writers, intellectuals, and peacemakers.  But there is a dark underbelly to all these prizes.   Just as every Hollywood producer wanted to suck up to Scarlett Johansen after "Lost in Translation," universities want to claim every Nobel laureate as their own. 

As reported in the Los Angeles Times by Karen Kaplan:

The University of Chicago lays claim to an astonishing 78 Nobel laureates — the most of any institution in the United States and second in the world only to England’s University of Cambridge.

Renowned physicists Hans Bethe and Werner Heisenberg and economics guru Paul A. Samuelson are all counted among Chicago’s Nobel brethren.

Wait a minute.

Didn’t Bethe spend virtually his entire career at Cornell University? Isn’t Samuelson considered the heart and soul of MIT economics? Did Heisenberg even spend more than a few months in Chicago?

"I think the University of Chicago counts everyone who ever walked through there," said Herbert Kroemer, a UC Santa Barbara professor who shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 2000.

Counting Nobel Prizes is the ultimate academic sport. It is a no-holds-barred exercise in selective memory and fuzzy math.

Universities that normally pride themselves on academic virtues and scholastic precision can find themselves grasping for any plausible thread of affiliation with those anointed by Stockholm.

When I was a fresh-faced high school student at Jamaica High School staying up all night studying for my SAT, I met with several local college recruiters.  One of them was an alumnus of Columbia University.  As I met with him in his wood-grained law office, he told me why I should attend Columbia College:  the core curriculum of "Great Books," the cultural advantages of Manhattan, the hot freshman women, and most importantly, the 73 Nobel Laureates connected with the university. 

My "age of innocence" was short-lived.  While I was at Columbia, I never had one class with any Nobel Laureates.  Granted I skipped half my classes or wasted my time taking Latin just because Deborah Goldblatt from down the hall was taking it and I thought it would impress her enough to go to bed with me.  But maybe if I had the Nobel laureate professors I was promised, I would have focused more on my studies rather than my "amor" and "cupido" for Deborah Goldblatt. 

For years, I’ve kept my no-Nobel Prize education a secret from everyone I’ve met.  Now, the truth must come out, especially after I have learned that my alma mater considered a Nobel Laureate their own even if he just happened to use their toilet one night.

Luckily, I did take a "Introduction to Law" class at Columbia.  So, I know all about "false-advertising" and "class-action suits."

According to the article: 

Many universities are quick to claim Nobel laureates as their own, even if the laureates’ association with the institution was fleeting.

As of Oct. 9. Different universities often claim the same laureates.  

Here are the universities claiming the largest number of Nobel Prizes:

1. Cambridge University, England: 81

2. University of Chicago: 78

3. Columbia University: 73

4. MIT: 60

5. Oxford University, England: 47

6. Harvard University: 42

7. Caltech: 32

8. Johns Hopkins University: 31

9. Cornell University: 30

10. Princeton: 29

Alumni of these institutions — join me in this legal suit.  Most of us spent from 60-80 thousand dollars for an education based on lies, false promises and blatant misinformation.  We need to demand our MONEY BACK.

Of course, as the prime instigator and lead counsel of this lawsuit, I will retain 80% of all money awarded, as is typical in these class-action suits. 

I may not have had any Nobel laureates for teachers, but I ain’t stupid.


  1. Bill

    Having gone to school in Canada, I’m not sure I can join the suit from that perspective … But how about the money I’ve peed down the toilet on the books of Nobel winners for literature who, with the exception of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, put me to sleep?!!

    I want my money back! Have you ever tried to read that crap? I’d like to meet the clowns voting for these awards and give them all wedgies.

    It’s as if, the more tedious you are the better your chances are to receive one of these things.

  2. Jenny

    Deborah Goldblatt told me to tell you to stop calling her because now she knows you didn’t study with any Nobel laureates. She said you two are *SO* broken up.

    PS – What are you doing for Sweetest Day?

  3. ashbloem

    Excellent, Neil! I won’t be able to join you in this endeavour, but I pledge my full support in your efforts.

    Wishing you financial gain beyond your wildest dreams-

  4. kate

    where do you come up with this stuff neil? lol.

  5. leesepea

    Sorry, Neilochka. I did all of my partying and class-ditching in high school, which meant I was not academically qualified to attend a school fraught with psuedo-Nobel-Laureate faculty.

  6. MA

    dear Neil,

    I would like to meet a Nobel Prize Winner once. How cool would that be? Maybe you could use some of your class action suit money to throw a big soiree and invite some of them. Please include me. Thank you very much.


  7. -RM

    Look up UT…..see if they made any false claims, and I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

  8. Neil

    Jenny — Sweetest Day? Never heard of it until now.

  9. Megarita

    It’s like the big foofoo libraries at Harvard etc refusing to acknowledge that things are stolen from them. Such a PR scam — says the embittered big public school girl.

  10. Bama Girl

    My alma mater doesn’t even claim any, so I guess none crashed there on their way to Panama City for spring break.

  11. tinapopo

    I didn’t actually go to Princeton, per se, but I work near there and often eat lunch at various establishments on Nassau St. Does this qualify me to join the class-action lawsuit? Thanks.

  12. Neil

    Sure. Since I get most of the money anyway, I don’t care if you dropped out of community college.

    It’s like those smoking class-action suits. Do you think any of the actual people who suffered got any of the money?

  13. Tatyana

    Are Laureats of Stalin and Lenin Award count? Judging by the latest Nobel recipients (El Baradei and Pinter),yes.
    hefty supply of the former in my first college.
    I’m game, than, Neil.

  14. Hope

    I think several universities can claim the same nobel prize winner because all these universities probably gave that guy “an honorary degree.” And what is the prerequisite for getting an honorary degree? Seems like they’ll give ’em to any smart guy passing through. I’ll take one.

  15. ladymathematician

    As a University of Chicago alumna, (I took Latin in high school), I’ll join your suit. I did have some great profs, and my physicist boyfriends worked with some Nobel winners, I think. Still, all I personally got was an obnoxious tee-shirt.

  16. Brooke

    I went to FAU – otherwise known as Find Another Univesity. We didn’t have any Nobel prize winners. I’m not even sure our professors were college graduates.

  17. Brooke

    University – spell much Brooke?

  18. Colleen

    Nobel laureate? HAHAHAHAHA! Back in my days at the Doormat of the Ivy League, you couldn’t even get in a survey class with Carl-fucking-Sagan unless you were a 3rd generation legacy.

  19. Megan

    Out here in Cah-lee-forn-ya we don’t have classy schools like you east coast folks have. I was edjumacated at a UC school, so I guess that means I can’t join the suit.

    Did Bono finally win the Peace one?

  20. Neil

    Megan — Yeah, but you got a good edjumacation at a much cheaper price.

  21. la.dauphine

    Unfortunately I went to a small Catholic college that didn’t explicitly promise Nobel Laureate status but rather that of acceptance into the realm of ‘former private Catholic school student snobbishess and all the bitterness and resentment available therein’. And I have to say that it has quite delivered…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial