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Quick Takes: Divisions on Gallaudet Board, Students Don't Worry About Professorial Rank, Brigham Young Sues Pfizer, Sociologists Back Evolution, James Madison Parents Complain to NCAA, Eccentric's Art Was Stolen From Harvard, Disputed Study Published

October 20, 2006
  • The trustees of Gallaudet University are no longer united behind Jane K. Fernandes as the next president of the institution, The Washington Post reported. Fernandes is working to strengthen support on the board, which has been strong, but which has wavered as the student protests continue to take a toll on the institution.
  • Students care more about teaching quality than professorial rank when evaluating professors, and professors who receive good evaluations from one group of students typically continue to do so in the future, and to have students who earn better grades than those in other courses, according to new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Brigham Young University has filed a suit against Pfizer, accusing the drug company of taking billions in profits from the university and one of its professors, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. According to the university, the popular drug Celebrex is based in large part on the discoveries of Daniel L. Simmons, a Brigham Young professor. The university says that it made a private agreement with the drug company to be compensated, but Pfizer officials told the newspaper that Simmons did not play a role in the development of Celebrex.
  • The American Sociological Association has released a statement backing the teaching of evolution in public schools and criticizing the teaching of creationism and intelligent design. The latter theories, the statement said, are "empirically un-testable," unlike evolution, the statement said. It added that the association "respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs," including those that reject evolution, but that such beliefs "should not be promulgated by science educators in the classroom."
  • The JMU Parents Coalition to Save Our Sports, 147 families opposing the recent decision to slash 10 sports at James Madison University, sent a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association president Wednesday calling for "an immediate investigation" into the cuts. The letter accuses the university of violating the NCAA's policies regarding honesty and sportsmanship. It questions JMU's failure to tell new recruits or coaches of the pending decision, in the works for more than a year and a half, and further questions the university's stated rationale that the cuts were made to meet the proportionality prong of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a law requiring gender equity in education programs.
  • An eccentric figure in New York City society who died this year had two pieces of art stolen from Harvard University, The New York Times reported. The art's history has been discovered as the eccentric's estate auctioned off some piece. The two Harvard pieces are a portrait by John Singleton Copley that was stolen from Harvard's Fogg Art Museum in 1971 and a portrait of a former Harvard president, missing since 1968.
  • After two years of dispute and legal fights, a Boston University researcher has published a paper suggesting that some IBM factory workers are at a higher risk of contracting cancer, Nature reported. IBM has repeatedly disputed the study, which has now been published in Environmental Health.
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