About 90 journalism and communication majors from the University of Florida are participating in a study-abroad program in Florence, Italy, right now. And guess who else is there? Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from MTV's Jersey Shore is in Florence filming the fourth season with the rest of the cast.
If the Florida students are anything like every other students on study abroad programs in the history of academia, they're not going to class, confused by the local bus tokens, and hoping to hook up with someone. But if they want to stay in Italy, they need to stay away from The Situation, according to a UF professor who's declared him persona non grata.
It started last week when an unnamed co-ed was spotted making out with Sorrentino in front of the MTV cameras. This embarrassed advertising professor Michael Weigold (also the school''s associate dean for undergraduate affairs and enrollment management, according to the Gainesville Sun), and he sent out an email to participants warning
[A]ny student who does agree to participate in the filming of the show, or who signs a waiver or legal agreement of any sort with MTV, will be dismissed from the program immediately…We are here to participate fully and completely in your classes and in the life and culture of Italy. Any action that holds the potential to bring embarrassment or disgrace to our students, program, or university, will not be tolerated.
Violators would be evicted from their Florence apartments, prevented from attending classes and functions, given a failing grade for the course, and sent home immediately. It goes without saying parents would be informed.
Predictably, Weigold's email–which just may be the best advice you could ever get from a college professor– leaked to TMZ, which is, as a member of the gossip industrial complex, strongly in favor of people making fools of themselves in public, preferably on camera. So their headline was, "University THREATENS Students Over 'Jersey Shore.'" Academics don't like to be accised of censorship, so school administrators reversed course, declaring The Situation, J. Wowww, and Snooki acceptable companions on a Grand Tour. "Once we had a chance to review the entire situation," explained UF spokesperson Janine Sykes, "we realized that perhaps a different approach would be more appropriate."
The men's basketball team from Southeastern Conference rival Louisiana State University didn't need a review of the entire situation before they were able to shake hands with their favorite juiceheads. Players Andrew Del Piero, Justin Hamilton, Garrett Green, Matt Derenbecker, and Eddie Ludwig nearly bumped into them on the street. (LSU is in the middle of an eleven-day preseason roadtrip through Italy.) Photo-taking ensued.
(H/T to SportsByBrooks for the video)