William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

OUR EMBARRASSMENT – OVERNIGHT:   While Ukrainian students, and their teachers, join a desperate fight for freedom, in which they will probably die, some immature academics bring disgrace to our society.  Shame.  From College Fix:  Highly decorated virologist Julie Overbaugh has been forced out of a position of leadership at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and resigned her faculty affiliate position at the University of Washington School of Medicine due to accusations of racism and investigations involving her decision to wear a Michael Jackson costume to a Halloween party in 2009.  A picture of the 13-year-old incident, in which she is accused of wearing “blackface,” has prompted peers to accuse her of racism despite the fact that her research has focused on aiding Africans for the last three decades.  “Overbaugh has devoted her professional career to studying viral pathogens that cause HIV. But amid publishing papers, running her own research lab, and flying back and forth from Kenya, she has also pursued another professional passion: mentoring. Overbaugh is one of two recipients of this year’s Nature Award for Mentoring in Science, which is awarded to select scientists in one country or region each year,” a 2016 report in GeekWire reports.  Last year, Overbaugh was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.  “I am really happy to see gender balance in this year’s elected members and hope this signals a future trend,” Overbaugh said at the time. “In my field, HIV, which is a very large field, there have only been a couple of women elected — hopefully, there will be more in the future.”  But Overbaugh’s accomplishments during an age in which female STEM recruitment and retainment is a social justice priority apparently could not outweigh the 2009 incident of emulating the King of Pop at a party that was reportedly themed after Jackson’s famous “Thriller” album.   What a set of priorities that institution must have.  And outrages like this happen regularly at our houses of "higher" education.  The only way we learn about most of these incidents is through online journalism.  Our so-called "mainstream news organizations" show little interest.

March 7, 2022