IU in the News

A daily digest of media coverage about Indiana University

March 14, 2019
IU in the News is a daily review of the important news stories relating to Indiana University. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive gathering of news, and no editorial revisions are made to the content, which is presented as it was initially published or broadcast.

Big News

IU study aims to better understand repetitive head impacts in sports

This story has been covered by: Scientific Enquirer, Inside Indiana Business, U.S. News and World Report.

IU Voices in the News


AUDIO: Wealthy families already have legal ways of gaming college admissions

To help get their kids into top schools like Stanford and Yale, parents allegedly spent up to $6.5 million in bribes to coaches, professional test-takers and university administrators. The man behind the scheme, Rick Singer, has pleaded guilty, as has Stanford's sailing coach. ... Marketplace's Sabri Ben-Achour spoke about the scandal with Jessica Calarco, assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University, and discussed the existing -- legal -- ways in which wealthy families can manipulate the school admissions system. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. Sabri Ben-Achour: Behind this entire scandal, the reason these people allegedly defrauded schools and gave and took bribes is clearly because they believe that getting into elite schools is worth it. So I want to ask you, in our society, how important to an individual's success in life is going to an elite school? Jessica Calarco: Certainly research tells us that going to an elite school is good for kids' life chances, but these are kids of extremely privileged, extremely wealthy parents, and arguably they would do well even if they didn't go to these elite schools. And essentially what I think might be going on here, and what research backs up, is this idea that privileged parents are defining their worth as parents by the kinds of schools that their kids get into, and go to, and how well they do for themselves in life. There's something else going on, as well. These privileged parents, there's research on sort of emotional safeguarding where they feel like they have to protect their kids' self-esteem. We saw in some of these cases that came out through the filings that a lot of these parents wanted to have their children never know that they didn't actually get the S.A.T. scores that they thought they got.

Related stories: The Chronicle of Higher Education


Robot overlords wouldn't be the worst

In his research, Indiana University computer scientist Filippo Menczer has found that automated, or "bot," accounts on social media are sabotaging public discourse by amplifying messages from "low-credibility sources." These bots aren't all that smart, but they can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time. In 2017, Menczer created a system for distinguishing bots from real accounts, and last December, he and colleagues analyzed 14 million tweets to show how much power automated accounts are wielding. His results were published in Nature Communications. Bots make it look like something has been shared by thousands of people, he told me. And people tend to share what they think others are sharing. "Humans are retweeting bots as often as they're retweeting humans," he said. The number of bot accounts being created, he said, is an order of magnitude greater than the real accounts being created.


Taxes and penalties may await wealthy parents in college admissions scam

Wealthy parents ensnared in a massive college admissions scheme may have another worry on the horizon: the IRS. ... The scheme allegedly involved parents paying William "Rick" Singer of Newport Beach, California, so that he could facilitate cheating on the SAT and ACT entrance exams, according to the 204-page affidavit. ... The parents also made these payments under the guise of charitable donations to the foundation, law enforcement officials allege. ... Under normal circumstances, charitable donations are deductible if you itemize on your income tax return. However if those payments were fraudulent, the IRS could claw back those breaks and hit the "donors" with penalties, tax professors said. "If what they were actually doing was not making charitable contributions but paying bribes, then the IRS should be able to question that and disallow the deductions," said Leandra Lederman, director of the tax program at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

The Indianapolis Star

You're driving by a Red Line bus and you see emergency lights. Here’s what you should do.

The dedicated bus lanes will mean fewer driver lanes. Things can get more difficult when an emergency vehicle needs to get around the buses, especially when the only option for a first responder must travel into the opposite lane. Mark Levin, a clinical associate professor at Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs said this happens everyday. It's something all cities must deal with when bus, light rail, trolley and other public transportation systems are added. "If you watch in a very crowded rush hour, even on a divided highway, and the engines can't move, they'll move over and go over facing traffic," he said. "There will always been somebody who is not sure what to do, but this is probably not the worse thing that emergency responders have to deal with." 

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