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Short Takes - U.S. News Discovers Errors in Rankings

By Douglas E. Heimburger
and Frank Dabek
Associate News Editors

U.S. News and World Report erred in calculating the rankings of 33 of the top 50 law schools in its 1997 rankings.

In calculating the schools' job-placement rates, two columns of numbers - those of students unemployed but looking for work and those unemployed and not looking for work - were switched, the publication said.

"We are examining how this happened and will do everything possible to prevent it from happening," said Al Sanoff, managing editor of U.S. News.

As a result of the error, two schools were moved out of the top fifty school ranking and into an unranked "second tier." Yale University remained the leading law school, according to the rankings.

[The Chronicle of Higher Education Academe Today, March 6.]

Fire burns Columbia dormitory

A series of two fires in a Columbia University residence hall burned the belongings of many undergraduates.

The fires, at John Jay Hall, caused extensive damage to the seventh and eighth floors of the dormitory. Officials with the New York City Fire Department classified the first as an electrical fire. The cause of the second fire is under investigation.

All of Columbia's buildings are annually inspected for fire safety, said NYCFD battalion chief George Meyer. The electrical system in the dormitory where the fire held was completely replaced in 1989, he added

Residents from parts of the seventh and eighth floors were housed in other dormitories while extensive smoke and water damage was cleaned up. Several doors were broken down by those fighting the blaze.

[Columbia Daily Spectator, March 3.]

BU guest policy to continue

Boston University students last week spoke out against a guest policy that they say restricts their freedom.

At an open forum attended by BUProvost Dennis D. Berkeley, many students said the policies, which restrict when students can visit dormitories other then their own, is designed to keep them from staying with members of the opposite sex.

Many of the students suggested that BU keep track of who enters dormitories but not restrict hours of access to the dormitories.

However, students can accomplish their socialization within the current system, Berkeley said."Believe me, we are not trying to keep men and women from getting together."

The policy has made the dormitories safer, said BUPolice Chief Steven Devlin. "You trade some freedoms for safety,"Devlin said.

[The Daily Free Press, Feb. 25,27]

Twelve charged in pledge death

Twelve members of the Theta Chi fraternity at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York have been charged with the death of a 17-year-old pledge.

Several pledges were brought to the fraternity house and served beer, vodka, whiskey and other liquor in an attempt to intoxicate the pledges into vomiting.

Some pledges were taken to rooms to spend the night and Binaya Oja was last seen alive at 5 a.m. He was found later that morning and could not be revived. Oja was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The twelve men, seven of whom are current Clarkson students, face charges of hazing, reckless endangerment, and other offenses.

The chapter has been suspended by the university and its charter has been revoked by its national fraternity.

[The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 7]