May 23, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 16

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    In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column In the News offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks. Chicago faculty members are some of the most frequently quoted experts, so space allows publishing references to only selected examples. To read many of the full newspaper articles mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School and the College, was featured in a Saturday, May 4 New York Times article about her translation of the Kama Sutra. The article explained the differences in translation between Sir Richard Burton’s 1883 version of the Kama Sutra and a new translation of the ancient Hindu text by Doniger and psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, a fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. Written in Sanskrit in the third century, the Kama Sutra, said Doniger, must be understood in the context of three Hindu purposes to human life: religion, or “dharma;” worldly success, or “artha;” and pleasure, “kama.” “The book goes to some pains to explain why sex is a part of life that is on a par with religion,” said Doniger. And according to Hindu belief, “something is the matter with you if you neglect any of these.”

    Locke Bowman, Director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the Law School, and Randolph Stone, Clinical Professor in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that was published in the Thursday, May 16 Chicago Sun-Times in response to Cook County Chief Criminal Judge Paul Beibel Jr.’s appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture and cover-up against former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge of the Area 2 police headquarters. Bowman and Stone, who represented a coalition that petitioned Biebel to take this action, wrote a five-point opinion on the course that they believe the investigation and special prosecutor must take. Bowman also was interviewed for a Thursday, May 16 Chicago Tribune story that reported on an effort, in which Bowman is involved, to submit clemency applications for all 160 of Illinois’ Death Row inmates.

    A full-page feature story and photo of President Randel was published in the Sunday, May 5 Chicago Sun-Times. The story described Randel’s early roots growing up in Panama, his successful career in academia as well as some of his views on higher education. Randel noted that too many students and their parents see earning a bachelor’s degree as a means to an end––the end being landing a job. “They [undergraduate students] should be developing the intellectual tools that will help them do whatever they later choose to do for a living,” he said.

    Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Sunday, May 5 Chicago Tribune about the Soldier Field redesign and reconstruction project. Epstein’s argument, based on property rights, claims that the venture benefits the private interests of the Chicago Bears, while the public picks up the tab for the majority of the stadium project. “The Bears contribute no corporate money to the venture over which they receive some naming rights. But tax revenues from unrelated hotels and restaurants are used to fund the venture, which must be brought up to certain NFL standards at public expense. Heads we lose, tails the Bears win,” he wrote.

    Andrew Davis, a Senior Scientist in the Enrico Fermi Institute and Geophysical Sciences, and Argonne National Laboratory scientist Michael Pellin were interviewed for a full-page, Monday, May 6 Chicago Tribune story about their research on the composition of stardust grains. Pieces of meteorites provide the stardust grains for analysis. “It’s really like burning a haystack to find the needle,” said Davis. “The trick is to know which haystacks to burn.”

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a Monday, May 6 Chicago Sun-Times story that reported on companies’ stock compensation plans and other non-cash equity for Chief Executive Officers, and how companies and their CEOs benefit from such plans. “When options aren’t expensed, there is a tendency on the part of boards of directors to undervalue them. You don’t see it as an expense on your income statement.” Kaplan also commented on the topic in a story that appeared in the Monday, May 6 Chicago Tribune.

    Elizabeth Baumann, Instructor in Pediatrics, and Rebecca Lipton, Associate Professor in Pediatrics, who has studied diabetes in African-American and Latino children in Chicago, were both quoted in a story about an epidemic of obesity causing an increase in such obesity related illnesses as Type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea and gall bladder disease among children. The story, which was published in the Thursday, May 2 Chicago Tribune, reported that obesity rates among children and adolescents have nearly doubled over the last two decades. “It’s like we’re dealing with adult-type pathologies in children,” said Baumann. Lipton also was interviewed for a Chicago Sun-Times story published on the same date.

    Randal Picker, the Paul and Theo Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law in the Law School, was quoted in a Sunday, May 5 Chicago Tribune story that reported on the Arthur Andersen trial and which side would suffer most by losing the case, the federal government prosecuting the case or Arthur Andersen and its employees, who already have suffered from the fallout of the charges of obstruction of justice. Picker also was quoted in a Chicago Sun-Times story about the case.