Today in news about California governor candidate Meg Whitman's famously awful offspring: younger son Will Harsh throws a tantrum and challenges a Princeton professor to a fight over a rugby field that, the young heir thought, belonged to him.
Will is a rising senior at Princeton and president of Princeton's rugby team, which practices on West Windsor Field, in spitting distance of Whitman College, the residential living complex his mother helped build with a gift of $30 million. (If that isn't the recipe for a silver spoon horror story, I don't know what is.) Three weeks ago, Princeton's graduate student softball league was playing a deeply nerdy game on West Windsor, pitting the computer science department's team ("The Cache Hitters") against the plasma physics lab's team ("The Tokabats"). Will stormed the field mid-game and made an announcement: Only rugby players were allowed on this field, he said, and if the nerds didn't leave, he'd call the cops. When they refused, Will started taking their stuff and throwing it over a fence, schoolyard bully style. Jeff Terrace, captain of the Cache Hitters, wrote about the episode on his blog. (Emphasis mine.)
I had the pleasure of running into [Will Harsh] yesterday. I play in the summer softball league for graduate students, faculty, and professors at Princeton University. During our softball game yesterday, the president of the Princeton undergraduate rugby team, William W. Harsh, came onto our field and told us that we were not allowed to play on the rugby fields. After explaining to him that we were an official university-sanctioned league and that we had permission to use the fields, he insisted that we had to leave. We told him we were in the middle of a game and were not leaving.
He then called public safety. While waiting for public safety, he came onto the field and started intentionally interfering with the game. He picked up third base and threw it over the fence. He then walked over to second and picked it up and held it. My advisor, a professor, tried to take the base back and Will dared him to tackle him.
Once public safety arrived (campus police), a lieutenant confirmed that we had permission to use the fields. Once again, the Whitman family confirmed as a classy group of individuals.
Unfortunately, we are not treated to the moment when the president of Princeton's rugby team physically confronts a Computer Science professor, thereby proving that no matter where you go, you will never escape the pecking order established in middle school gym class.
Though the softball teams had permission to use the field, Jeff Terrace told us by email that public safety mistakenly sided with the young heir at first, forcing the softball teams to spend "15 minutes moving all of our stuff to another field, so we didn't move back" when the issue was later resolved.
Will Harsh did not respond to our request for comment. As always, we invite any member of the Harsh-Whitman family to write in and tell us whether they're really as spoiled and bullying as everyone says they are. [IvyGate, JTerrace]
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