January 21, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 8

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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.

    Judith Chevalier, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a New York Times Diary in the Sunday, Jan. 3, issue about a study on gains made by executives who acquire other businesses, when those acquisitions clearly do not increase shareholder value. Chevalier and her colleagues found that acquirers appear to rise in status within the business community. “No one wants you on their board if you are not a player,” said Chevalier.

    In the Dec. 21 Wall Street Journal, Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, criticized the recent extension of the Copyright Term Extension Act. Calling it “no Mickey Mouse extension but a gift of billions of dollars in future revenues,” Epstein explained that the shareholders of Disney would be the recipients of a possibly unconstitutional windfall at the public’s expense.

    Austan Goolsbee, Assistant Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, commented on the Internet stock mania in a Chicago Tribune article Sunday, Jan. 17, saying the mania is not entirely baseless. “Just because 95 percent of Internet companies in the end could be worth nothing, there is still the small probability that somebody is going to be the Wal-Mart of the Internet, in which case the most outrageous valuation (of the company’s stock) would be too low.”

    University alumnus Gerald Ratner was quoted in the Chicago Tribune’s MetroChicago section Sunday, Jan. 10, in a story about philanthropists who make large donations to universities and gain the satisfaction of having their names on the new structures. Ratner’s $15 million gift will place his name on the University’s Gerald Ratner Athletics Center. “I know it says in the Bible it is better to give, but I still enjoy having my name on the building . . . It says that I worked hard, I accumulated money and I left something behind.”

    Janet Rowley, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, appeared on Chicago Tonight with John Calloway on Thursday, Jan. 14, to talk about her career and her ties to the University which began in high school. Rowley talked about how, as a “whiz kid” during the 1940s, she was allowed to finish her last two years of high school at the University. The cancer researcher, who received the National Medal of Science for 1998, was featured on the entire half-hour program.

    Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics and the College as well as a research scientist with the National Opinion Research Center at the University, shared his thoughts on Michael Jordan’s departure from the NBA and the Chicago Bulls in an op-ed in the Tuesday, Jan. 12, issue of the Chicago Tribune. Sanderson, who was also quoted in a Wednesday, Jan. 13, New York Times article and numerous reports on radio and television programs, suggested that Jordan fans “get over it. With our residents, neighborhoods and amenities, Chicago still will be the best, most livable major city in the U.S., even when the Bulls emulate the Clippers, Nuggets or Mavericks, which will happen soon whether Jordan is burying jumpers or not.”

    In the Friday, Jan. 8, Wall Street Journal, College alumnus Bret Stephens (A.B., ’95) authored a column in response to the New York Times article of the previous week about innovations in the College curriculum and plans to increase its size. “Chicago is a school made famous for its oppositional streak,” he wrote, adding, “And it is Chicago that, with its unapologetic attachment to the writings of the Dead White European Male, has been most in keeping with the kind of education that (the late professor Allan) Bloom championed.” He concluded that the College’s size and curriculum initiatives suggest the University is “bending to the breeze of higher education in the U.S.”

    Law Professors Cass Sunstein and Joseph Isenbergh each wrote editorials about the debate in Congress over the charges brought against President Clinton by Kenneth Starr. In the Dec. 11 Chicago Tribune, Sunstein called the impeachment proceedings “a travesty of the founder’s efforts.” Isenbergh, writing in USA Today, explained that both the Constitution and other influential legal writings made clear that censure was a possible resolution of the affair.

    Amanda Woodward, Assistant Professor in Psychology, has received media attention for new research showing that babies develop reasoning skills earlier than previously believed, at age 5 months. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday, Jan. 7, and a report on NBC’s Channel 5 newscasts on Friday, Jan. 8, featured Woodward’s research discussing that young babies can predict the intentions of an adult’s behavior.