Scientists fight prejudice in gowns

first_imgA petition to make commoner’s gowns compulsory for all candidates presenting vivas, oral exams most scientists have to pass in their final year, has been signed by nearly 300 Oxford students in two days.With this, the petition is almost one third of the way to the goal set by Emily Gowers, Vice President of the Oxford Society of Biomedical Sciences. According to Gowers, this is a “widely shared concern” scientists had already raised in past years.The petition description claims that examiners might be unconsciously prejudiced when speaking to a candidate in a scholar’s gown as opposed to a commoner’s, either automatically giving them the benefit of the doubt or leading to the examiners asking harder questions as a result of higher expectations.“Considering the efforts that Oxford makes to ensure that written exams are unbiased (e.g. candidate numbers),” the description argues, “it seems ridiculous that during a viva the examiner has a full view of your academic history – and you’re wearing it!”“Viva exams will never be flawless, but the system can be improved”Emily GowersSignatories include humanities students as well as scientists, with one pointing out that the same question of bias applies to oral exams for modern linguist finalists.Evoking the similarity of the situation in which post-graduates who present MSc and PhD theses find themselves, Gowers tells Cherwell, “Our hope is that making this positive change within undergraduate science degrees will pave the way for evaluating fairness across all viva exams. Viva exams will never be flawless, but the system can be improved.“All the Oxford examiners are experienced professionals but even they may be unconsciously swayed by these biases.“Unconscious bias is an inevitable part of any face-to-face interaction and the best we can do is try to reduce the possibility of it happening.”Gowers is confident that the goal of 1,000 signatures will soon be reached, and says she plans to get JCRs’ and faculties’ support before presenting the result to the Proctor’s office.“This seems to be an easy win that could help reduce bias, but has no significant disadvantages,” signatory Will Kocur told Cherwell.“Of course, we won’t be able to completely eliminate prejudice and it still exists towards regional accents, for example.“Equally examiners are likely to still have their opinions unconsciously affected by personal characteristics of the candidate as well as those of some group they may belong to, be this scholars or a religion or race.“Hopefully the relevant authorities would appreciate the logic and supportive research on which it is based.”Similar propositions were made for biologists who will be assessed at presentations this week to coordinate their gowns on a voluntary basis.However, this idea was then rejected in a Facebook poll in which a total of 98 people participated. Half the year opted against the initial proposition, choosing to wear the gown they preferred to their exams instead of commoner’s gowns.last_img read more

Kiffin, QBs waste talented roster

first_img“Four-Point Shot” runs every other Wednesday. To comment on this story, email Jacob at [email protected] or visit Jacob on Twitter @Jacob_Freedman After another stalled drive against Washington State, USC’s star wide receiver, junior Marqise Lee, who will almost certainly be nabbing passes from an NFL quarterback a year from now, stormed off the field.He yanked off his helmet and screamed in frustration in the direction of the stands that were once filled with cheers but were now rife with boos and chants of “Fire Kiffin.”Two years removed from a 10-2 season in which the Trojans clobbered UCLA 50-0 to finish the year, the result for USC’s players, many of whom were on that 2011 team, on Saturday was a 10-7 loss at the hands of a Washington State team that couldn’t muster an offensive touchdown.For Lee, who didn’t catch a pass longer than 10 yards for the first time since his first game at USC, talent will win out over statistics when it comes to his draft status next April. Regardless of how much his production drops this season, his athleticism and overall pedigree ensure that he will be a first round pick. Senior outside linebacker Morgan Breslin, who had two sacks and looked to be at full strength coming off of an injury, will still hear his name called in the early rounds.This USC roster is brimming with elite talent, stockpiled by USC head coach Lane Kiffin and his predecessor Pete Carroll. And therein lies the real shame of the Trojans’ newfound ineptitude. How unfair is it for the Trojans that, despite a plethora of talent up and down the roster, the startling incompetence of two quarterbacks and their head coach can snowball into a loss to one of the Pac-12’s least talented squads?The portion of blame between Kiffin and his two signal-callers is up for debate, but there is little doubt that the quarterback situation has become a hot mess.It was USC’s biggest question coming into 2013 following the 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl that left an unpalatable taste in the mouth of every Trojan supporter. After the quarterback duo struggled in an ugly 30-13 season-opening win over Hawai’i, the pair’s performance went up in flames on Saturday. Redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek each played a half, and combined to throw for 54 yards with an interception each.Kessler was named the starter for the foreseeable future on Monday, and with that announcement should come a system tailored to his strengths and set up to mask his weaknesses. The damage, however, has been done.Many top recruits were in attendance for Saturday’s game. Expecting to see the supremely confident and talented Trojans wallop the Cougars back to Pullman, Wash., they instead were treated to a night full of bubble screens and redshirt sophomore tailback Tre Madden (admirably) punching the ball up the middle. Highly touted defensive ends Kylie Fitts and Eddie Vanderdoes decommitted last year after the 7-6 debacle, as did safety commit Max Redfield. Even with Kiffin’s reputation as a recruiting guru, games such as last Saturday’s, where the standout performance of the entire defense was wasted, are the type that make commits re-evaluate their prospects and move the Trojans down a notch on their wish lists.The worst betrayal in all of this, though, is suffered by the players already on the Trojan roster. USC’s defense has been outstanding in 2013, allowing three points to a Cougar offense that put up 24 points against Auburn the week before. On Saturday night, it felt as if USC had a better chance of putting points on the board when the Cougars had the ball, rather than when the Trojans did. The level of frustration after constantly stopping your opponent only to see your offense sputter must have been unimaginable.Sophomore defensive tackle Leonard Williams looked lost as he wandered around the far side of the field following the final whistle. A highly sought-after recruit in high school, Williams chose USC over football powerhouses in his home state of Florida. So far, he’s been treated to a 7-6 season and now, this. Sophomore wideout Nelson Agholor also made the cross-country trek from Florida, and the Trojans’        No. 2 wide receiver was targeted just once on Saturday and has only two receptions all season.There’s no doubt the 2011 season was a feather in Kiffin’s cap, but USC has now lost six of its last eight games. The players won’t ever admit it, but if on-field emotions and body language were any indicator, they have to be wondering why they are at USC if the incompetence of one coach and two quarterbacks can torpedo their collective efforts.Nearly all college football coaches lure talent with the promise of being part of a winning program. And though USC went 7-6 last season, there was at least some competence on offense until the Sun Bowl disaster — at least more than 54 passing yards’ worth.Redshirt junior defensive end George Uko, who forced the fumble that led to USC’s only score of the game, was sobbing as he left the field Saturday night. He didn’t choose USC because he wanted to lose to Washington State at home. None of these Trojans did. Yet that’s the new reality. It’s not fair to the players, and it has to change.last_img read more

Mets’ McNeil carted off vs. Nats after crash into wall

first_img Associated Press Television News Written By LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 14th August, 2020 10:38 IST COMMENTcenter_img Last Updated: 14th August, 2020 10:38 IST Mets’ McNeil Carted Off Vs. Nats After Crash Into Wall New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil was carted off the field Thursday after crashing into the left field wall in the first inning to rob the Washington Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera of a two-run extra-base hit WATCH US LIVE FOLLOW US New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil was carted off the field Thursday after crashing into the left field wall in the first inning to rob the Washington Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera of a two-run extra-base hit.McNeil, a natural infielder who has been manning both outfielder corners for the Mets since last year, raced at full speed to the warning track and made an impressive lunging catch for the final out of the inning. He crashed into the wall with both arms extended and raised his glove hand as he fell to indicate he had the ball.But McNeil was in obvious pain as he covered his eyes with both hands and yelled before flinging his glove off. He briefly tried getting up but only made it a few steps with a trainer and manager Luis Rojas before sitting back down.McNeil was able to walk to a cart on the warning track before being driven off the field.The Mets said in the fourth inning McNeil was still being evaluated and an update would be provided after the game.McNeil, who has started at third base and left field this season, is batting .293 with seven RBIs in 16 games. He made the All-Star team last season and is a career .319 hitter in 212 games.Billy Hamilton pinch-hit for McNeil in the bottom half of the inning.Image credits: AP last_img read more

Wellington Police Notes: Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

first_imgWellington Police notes for Tuesday, September 30, 2014:•1:56 p.m. Officers took a report of Suspicious activity in the Wellington.•5:21 p.m. Officers took a report of a child In need of care in the 200 block, S. H, Wellington.last_img