Quick Takes: Tornado Strikes Union U., Animal Rights Extremists Take Credit for Attack, Report Questions Admissions Standards, Advisory Board Shrinks, Delay Likely on NYU-Poly Vote, Creationist Article Questioned

February 7, 2008
  • A tornado hit Union University, in Tennessee, Tuesday night, briefly trapping 13 students in rubble and sending 51 students to the hospital, 9 with serious injuries. There were no deaths. Damage to the campus was extensive, with 17 buildings affected. Many dormitories were either destroyed or seriously damaged. Classes will not resume until February 18. The university is maintaining a blog with information about the damage and the recovery efforts.
  • The Animal Liberation Front is taking credit for a firebomb that went off this week at the home of Edythe London, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, who conducts medical research with animals and has defended the scientific need for such work. There were no injuries in the attack. UCLA's chancellor, Gene Block, denounced the incident -- the latest of many against UCLA researchers. "These kinds of deplorable tactics have no place in a civilized society," Block said. "We will not stop beneficial research activities because of the illegal, violent acts of a handful of extremists."
  • University of California campuses rely too much on traditional admissions criteria -- especially standardized test scores -- in ways that limit the admission of black applicants, says a new report "Gaming the System," from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies at UCLA.
  • AGOS Japan, a company that helps Japanese students get into top M.B.A. programs, may be losing American members of its advisory board. Some admissions experts have questioned the ethics of serving on such a board while also holding jobs in admissions at universities that would be admitting or rejecting AGOS clients. First an official of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania -- subsequently found to have her own college consulting business -- quit. Now, the advisory board appears to be gone from the English language portion of the AGOS site. A spokesman for Teachers College of Columbia University said Wednesday that an Donald C. Martin, an associate dean there, had quit the board after learning that AGOS helped student in non-M.B.A. programs. A spokeswoman for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said that Sherry Wallace, director of M.B.A. admissions there, remained on the advisory board, but believed that AGOS planned to disband it.
  • The board of Polytechnic University is now likely to delay a vote, originally scheduled for today, on plans to be merged into New York University. Questions about whether some board members have conflicts of interest and whether the board has received full information about the plan have emerged in recent days, with some Polytechnic trustees questioning their own board's conduct. In response, a key legislator asked for a a delay and The New York Times eported that the board chair indicated he would agree to one.
  • Defenders of evolution are raising complaints -- reported on the blog Pharyngula -- that a scientific journal, Proteomics, has published an article that appears to be strongly creationist.
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