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Quick Takes: Gas Leak Sickens VT Students, Psychologists Condemn Torture, Iowa Settles Suits on 'Monster Study,' Race and Teacher Tests, Court Tells Southern Ill. to Release Documents, How SMU Courted Bush, Purdue Suspends 5 Frats, Closing Tunnels

August 20, 2007
  • Twenty-three people, most of them Virginia Tech students, were sickened by a gas leak in an off-campus apartment building Sunday morning, The Roanoke Times reported. Five women, all of them students, remained hospitalized Sunday night. The accident took place hours before Virginia Tech dedicated a memorial to the victims of the April 16 shootings at the campus.
  • The American Psychological Association on Sunday adopted a resolution condemning torture and the use of psychology research or researchers in torture. The resolution states that there are "no exceptional circumstances," such as war, that justify torture.
  • The state of Iowa has agreed to pay a total of $925,000 to six senior citizens who were part of what has been come to be known as the "Monster Study," a 1939 experiment by a University of Iowa researcher who made the participants develop stutters, The Des Moines Register reported. The research, Wendell Johnson, was at the time considered a leader in treating speech disorders, but his use of young orphans for experiments they didn't understand violates all of today's ethical standards for research. After the study became public in 2001, the university issued an apology, but it also challenged the lawsuits that followed, on grounds that the university was immune from being sued in this instance. In 2005, however, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the suits could go forward. Those suits will all be dropped as part of the settlement announced Friday.
  • More than half of the black and Latino students who take the state teacher licensing exam in Massachusetts fail, at rates that are high enough that many minority college students are starting to avoid teacher training programs, The Boston Globe reported. The failure rates are 54 percent (black), 52 percent (Latino) and 23 percent (white).
  • An Illinois appeals court ruled last week that Southern Illinois University must release documents about presidential compensation packages, and that these documents are not exempt from state open records laws, the Chicago Tribune reported.
  • Southern Methodist University started the process of enticing President Bush to put his presidential library on the campus months after he took office, according to articles in The Dallas Morning News that detail the lobbying process for the controversial project.
  • Purdue University last week suspended five fraternities for holding functions during orientation week in which minors were served alcohol, The Journal and Courier reported. Most chapter activities are barred during suspensions, the length of which will depend on additional investigations.
  • Many universities that have underground tunnel systems -- many of which play prominent roles in student pranks and lore -- are installing new security systems or blocking access to the tunnels, fearing that they could make institutions vulnerable to terrorism, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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