March 17, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 12

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

    Ted O’Neill, Dean of College Admissions, wrote an op-ed about the reliance on SAT test scores in college admissions at schools across the country. The opinion piece was published in the Friday, Feb. 25 Chronicle of Higher Education. O’Neill argues that college admissions staff members do not view the test scores as “objective;” that students whose family incomes place them at a disadvantage typically do not have access to the kinds of resources students from high-income families have been able to acquire, such as SAT coaching; and that SAT test scores are poor measures of how well a student will do—academically, socially and emotionally—in the school he or she would attend. “Test scores do not predict such happiness and success; so why do so many of us require the scores? The simple bad reason is that standardized-test results make the task of selection easier, because they offer the illusion of precision when assessing qualities that we say we value but cannot actually name.” O’Neill also criticized the tests in an article that appeared in the Sunday, Feb. 27 Chicago Sun-Times.

    Mary Anne Case, the Arnold I. Shure Professor in the Law School, who has done an extensive survey on public restroom inequities, was quoted in a Friday, March 4 New York Times story about a small group of transgender people who are lobbying some colleges and cities to provide gender-neutral bathrooms in public places. The San Francisco-based group, People in Search of Safe Restrooms, has drawn attention to the public restroom, which, in the past, has caused a cultural and political divide concerning racial segregation and rights for people with disabilities. Bathrooms have become a cultural “fault line,” Case said. “Very few spaces in our society remain divided by sex. There’s marriage and there’s toilets, and very little else.”

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a Monday, March 7 Associated Press Newswires service story about the efforts of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway Inc., to find new companies to acquire in the price range of $5 and $20 billion. Kaplan stated that, just like 2004, this year will be a seller’s market, and heavy activity in mergers and acquisitions will continue. “He won’t find anything this year either,” said Kaplan of Buffett’s new assets hunt. “Since he likes to buy things cheap, it’s harder to find.”

    Namaste Charter School in Chicago, co-founded by alumna Allison Slade (M.P.P.,’02) and Katie Graves, was featured Wednesday, March 2, on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Namaste is based on nurturing both the mind and the body. Healthy foods, including breakfast, lunch and snacks, are offered throughout the day at Namaste, and an hour of exercise daily also is part of the regimen. Slade is a former McCormick Tribune Fellow in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.

    Rebecca Zorach, Assistant Professor in Art History, was interviewed Monday, March 7, on WBEZ-FM radio’s 848 program. Zorach, co-curator of the new exhibition “Paper Museums” at the Smart Museum of Art, was a guest of NPR’s Steve Edwards.

    Emily Teeter, Research Associate in the Oriental Institute, was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article published Wednesday, March 9. The story reported on recent CT scans that have been taken of the mummy of King Tutankhamen. The scans were done to determine the teen-age Egyptian king’s cause of death. It has been determined that King Tut was between the ages of 18 and 20 when he died, and some archaeologists have developed elaborate conspiracies that suggest he was murdered. The CT scans say otherwise. “There has been so much wild speculation about the cause of death, most of it based on very poor observations,” said Teeter, an expert in Egyptology. “I’m delighted to find out that those of us who have been very conservative about this have to some extent been vindicated.”

    Arnold Davidson, Professor in Philosophy and the College, was a guest on Odyssey, discussing the work of Michel Foucault and how the French philosopher’s ideas altered people’s everyday understandings of the world. The WBEZ-FM radio program aired Tuesday, March 8.

    The University Hospitals’ kidney and pancreas transplantation program, directed by Robert Harland, Associate Professor in Surgery, was cited in a story published in the Friday, March 4 Chicago Tribune. The article reported on the possible development of a national program that would arrange and oversee kidney exchanges. According to the article, the University pioneered the concept and published the idea in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine eight years ago. The University Hospitals now is planning to move toward creating a statewide kidney exchange consortium. A story on the potential kidney exchange program also appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times.

    D. Nicholas Rudall, Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures and the College, appeared as a guest on WFMT-FM radio’s program Critical Thinking with host Andrew Patner. Rudall, who discussed a staged reading of Murder in the Cathedral, a production he is working on for a planned performance in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, appeared on the program Monday, Feb. 28.

    David Meltzer, Associate Professor in Medicine, Economics and the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, was interviewed for a Sunday, Feb. 27 New York Times article regarding possible ways that Medicare’s rising costs could be contained. End-of-life care was one area of focus. Meltzer recommended that doctors try to prepare patients and families for less resource-intensive care at the end of life. “There is no question, as a clinician and as a patient and the family members of patients, there are things you can do to make sure the expenditures with little chance of being helpful won’t be undertaken. You explain to people that the goal of medical care is not always to make people live longer.”