Week in review: laurels and darts
State officials will investigate nine New Jersey schools in the coming weeks for possible cheating, nj.com reported earlier this week. The probe comes on the heels of a two-year examination, during which investigators discovered unusually high rates of erasure marks on standardized tests at 34 schools across the Garden State. Now, we’re not necessarily savvy on the relationship between the number of erasure marks on a test and instances of cheating, but we cannot imagine that there’s a definite correlation between the two. Preliminary investigations cleared 14 of the original 34 schools of possible cheating, according to Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf — a strong indication that these erasure marks are leading investigators down a dead end. Education officials deserve a dart for going to these lengths. Students shouldn’t have to fear that they will be accused of cheating for making changes to their tests. Taking this kind of action seems not only strangely paranoid, but detrimental to a student’s test-taking experience.
For students looking to take to the high seas and “become a global force for good” — the slogan of the United States Navy — they can now look to our own University to get them started. University President Richard L. McCormick, along with U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, signed an agreement Wednesday to bring the state’s first Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program to the University in the fall. The new NROTC will be the first and only offered at any college in New Jersey, supported by the University’s Academic Department of Naval Science, approved by the Board of Governors in October 2011. McCormick and the BOG deserve a laurel for bringing the naval program to campus. Already with to other ROTC programs – Army and Air Force – the naval progam will be a welcome addition to the University. We have no doubt the new NROTC program will be a success — and help the University along in becoming that “global force of good.”
Chalk up another mark on the death toll of lab monkeys that have perished at the hands of the pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. In the second incident of its kind, a crab-eating macaque — used by the company to test its products — died after it was left restrained and unattended at one of its New Brunswick labs. The first occurrence took place five months ago, when another monkey wash run through a wash cycle and boiled alive after the company forgot to take it out of its cage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the company for both incidents, which could be subject to investigation in the coming weeks. We dart Bristol-Meyers Squibb for not taking better care of its lab animals. These incidents are unacceptable, even if the company calls them accidents. One instance alone of a lab monkey dying at the hands of its captors is concerning enough — but two, we’re sure, is in direct violation of some kind of statute on animal rights cruelty. Where is PETA now?
As a major research university, our University is undoubtedly full of some of the best and the brightest. From discrete mathematics to biochemical engineering to quantum physics, experts in fields from all over the world come to the University to pioneer some of the most cutting-edge work. This fact was made even more apparent Thursday when news broke that 71-year-old University professor Endre Szemerédi was awarded the 2012 Abel Prize, the unofficial Nobel Prize in mathematics, by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Szemerédi was chosen for the award, which comes with about a $1 million cash prize, for his contributions to the fields of discrete math and theoretical computer science. Szemerédi deserves a laurel along with this award for his commitment and insight in his respective field. The award is not only a personal triumph for Szemerédi himself, but is largely reflective of the true talent that comprises the University’s hard-working faculty.