November 18, 2004
Vol. 24 No. 5

current issue
archive / search
Chronicle RSS Feed

    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: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Two members of the University faculty, Danielle Allen, Dean of the Division of the Humanities, and Bruce Lahn, Assistant Professor in Human Genetics, and Law School alumnus Donald Harmon, appeared in the Monday, Nov. 1 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business as part of the publication’s 2004 featured rising stars in business, government and academia from across the city. Lahn (see story on Lahn’s research in this issue) is seeking to find the genetic origins of human evolution in his current research projects, while Allen, who became Dean of Humanities at the age of 32, is fast becoming “a leading voice in the study of American democracy,” said one of her colleagues of political science and classics. Harmon is Democratic committeeman of Oak Park Township and an Illinois State Senator. Lahn also was featured in the Sunday, Nov. 7 Chicago Sun-Times in an article that described his genetic research on the Y chromosome, and Allen appeared on WBEZ-FM Radio’s Odyssey program on Monday, Nov. 8. Allen discussed her latest book, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education.

    Two stories featuring U.S. Senator-elect Barack Obama, Senior Lecturer in the Law School, appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 3 Chicago Tribune and the Thursday, Nov. 4 USA Today, following Obama’s successful election win Tuesday, Nov. 2. While Obama will be the sole African American to join the U.S. Senate in January, he enters with the political clout he has earned, which often is noted as beginning with his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. U.S. Senator (D-Ill.) Dick Durbin said of Obama’s arrival in the Senate: “He has befriended a lot of candidates and a lot of incumbents. He has been generous to people, and they won’t forget it. He will come in the front door with people feeling familiar with him, with having a good, positive feeling about who he is and where he comes from, but also, they’ll feel a personal connection to him. That’s very rare.” The USA Today story also quoted Christopher Berry, Assistant Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.

    Wei-Jen Tang, Associate Professor in the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, was interviewed and photographed for an article published in the Monday, Nov. 8 Chicago Tribune, which reported on new human gene therapies being used as antidotes for exposure to the fatal anthrax bacterium. Tang and his team of researchers at the University have been studying the anthrax toxins known as edema factor and lethal factor. “Our lab began working with edema factor as a tool to understand basic cellular metabolism, but the knowledge we gained soon led us to three potential therapies,” said Tang.

    Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, Philosophy and the College, was quoted in a Sunday, Nov. 7 New York Times story that described how some Democratic voters who had supported Senator John Kerry in the presidential election are still expressing their anger over the outcome of the election. The political polarization that drew so much media attention during the campaign, which the article describes as “one of the most disturbing, hate-filled contests on record,” has created a kind of post-election fallout that is hazardous to citizens’ health. Lear commented on the polarization in this partisan divide. “It [polarization] has two definitions. One is the standard idea that both sides of the country have gone out to further extremes. But ‘polarized’ sunglasses let in less of what’s outside. Part of polarization is not taking in certain things.”

    Kenneth Dam, the Max Pam Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer in the Law School, was interviewed for a story published in the Friday, Oct. 29 Chronicle of Higher Education. The article described how many academics are reluctant to accept presidential appointments because of the long, invasive process of background investigations and government forms to be filed before confirmation of the appointment. Dam, who President Bush appointed to deputy secretary of the treasury in 2001, after his first election win in 2000, said such administration appointments take months to fill. “It’s like running an army with no generals,” said Dam.

    Harry Davis, the Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management in the Graduate School of Business, was featured in an article that appeared in a September issue of The Economic Times in India. Davis, who teaches Creative Management in the GSB, shared his insights on how to build leadership qualities without forgetting that following also is a necessary quality in business. “I think there’s too much discussion sometimes on leadership, and too little on ‘followership,’” said Davis. “Leaders have to have followers. ‘Why should anyone follow me?’ is a question that they need to ask.”

    Locke Bowman, Lecturer and Director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the Law School, co-wrote an op-ed that was published in the Sunday, Nov. 7 Chicago Sun-Times. Bowman and his co-author Rob Warden of the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University argued that criminal justice reform legislation should include removing crime labs from the auspices of law enforcement. “The risk of deceptive forensic practices is heightened by the strong institutional kinship between the technicians who analyze forensic evidence and the law enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute criminals. Virtually all crime laboratories have direct affiliations with law enforcement agencies.”