Nov. 7, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 4

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    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/.

    David Bevington, the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, was interviewed for a Sunday, Oct. 20 article in the Chicago Tribune. The story reported on an ongoing debate between academic and legal scholars over the authorship of several famous plays attributed to William Shakespeare. One group, the Oxfordians, attributes the authorship of the plays, not to Shakespeare, but to Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Scholars of Shakespeare, such as Bevington, find their claim ridiculous. “I know of absolutely no one in the profession–meaning those who teach and write about Shakespeare for a living–who gives any of the Oxfordian theories any credence whatsoever,” said Bevington.

    Dali Yang, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College, was an expert source for a story published in the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday, Oct. 22. The story reported on Jiang Zemin, China’s president, who was visiting Chicago to address the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations. Yang commented on Jiang’s reputation and the probability of his influence on China’s policies once he leaves office in March 2003. Comparing Jiang to the late Deng Xiaoping, who left office in 1989, Yang said: “Even though he (Deng) stepped down, there was basically an agreement among the Chinese leadership to consult him. He (Jiang) doesn’t have the kind of charisma Deng had. It’s becoming harder for any single leader to become the Superman,” added Yang.

    A kidney transplant performed at the University Hospitals in June was the subject of a Tuesday, Oct. 22 front-page Chicago Tribune story as well as the subject of two other stories published by the Chicago Sun-Times and carried by the Associated Press Newswires on that same date. The stories reported on the first meeting between organ donor, Bill Van Pelt, and the kidney recipient, Willie Morris, who were strangers. Van Pelt had made the organ donation anonymously. Guidelines for anonymous organ donations, which are uncommon and risky, restrict a donor from gaining financially from the procedure; from having any say in who is to receive the organ; and from knowing the name of the chosen recipient for as long as that recipient desires to remain anonymous.

    The University’s Graduate School of Business was featured in the Thursday, Oct. 28 issue of BusinessWeek. The story, which described a growth in nontraditional students attending business schools to obtain M.B.A. degrees, also featured current GSB student Courtney Hall. Hall, who formerly played professional football for the San Diego Chargers, is one nontraditional student attending Chicago’s GSB.

    Leon Kass, the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, was featured in USA Today Wednesday, Oct. 30, in an article that reported on his newest book, Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity. Kass, who heads the President’s Council on Bioethics, writes in his new book about the subject of biomedical research on cloning and stem cells.

    Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School, was quoted in a story that appeared on the Los Angeles Times Web site. The story reported on a recent symposium at Barnard College in Manhattan, in which Elshtain participated as a panelist. Enola Aird Carter, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, coordinated the symposium to launch her “Call to a Motherhood Movement,” which asks Americans to start “honoring and supporting mothers and the work of mothering.” Elshtain commented: “It’s time to reinforce the values of mothering, its impact and all that entails.” An article on the symposium that quoted Elshtain also appeared in The Canadian Press.

    Allen Sanderson, Lecturer in Economics and the College, was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business Monday, Oct. 21 issue. Sanderson, who specializes in the economics of sports and entertainment, discussed the rising costs of a “night out on the town” in Chicago. The article reported that the price of local leisure pursuits is outpacing inflation by almost 2-1. According to Sanderson, price hikes are driven by demand. “In much the same way a more-affluent consumer will move from Sears to Nordstrom’s, they will also choose to spend more at a restaurant or for other forms of entertainment,” said Sanderson.

    Sam Peltzman, the Ralph & Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, was interviewed for stories published in the Sunday, Oct. 20 New York Times and the Tuesday, Oct. 29 Chicago Sun-Times about the current financial woes of United Airlines and other airlines, which collectively are expected to lose $7 billion this year. Peltzman said: “This is no different than the situation in the early 1970s when the northeastern railroads all went into bankruptcy. The government reaction was to freeze the system. The bailout was growing to 20 percent per year. At some point in the mid-’70s, Congress looked around and said, ‘Is this the best we can do with our money?’”