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Stories this week at Wake Forest

September 13, 2006

EDUCATION PROFESSOR EXPLORES HISTORY OF DESEGREGATION – As today’s schools work to meet the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act, a Wake Forest education professor has taken an historical look at desegregation and the impact of standardized testing on blacks in 20th century South Carolina. In “Paradoxes of Desegregation,” a new book published in August by University of South Carolina Press, Scott Baker documents blacks’ struggles for educational equity in Charleston and how South Carolina educational leaders responded to their demands from the 1920s to the 1970s. Baker’s study is among the first to examine the long-term effects on blacks of expanding standardized testing programs. “In essence, standardized testing replaced legalized segregation as a way of excluding African-Americans from white institutions,” Baker said. “If a goal of No Child Left Behind is to narrow achievement gaps between whites and blacks, then this study of a half-century of high-stakes testing in South Carolina raises questions about whether test-driven systems of public education will promote access and equality.”

Contact: Cheryl V. Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

CHRIS SWECKER TO DISCUSS STORIED FBI CAREER Chris Swecker, retired acting executive assistant director of the FBI, will be the first guest speaker in Wake Forest School of Law’s “Conversations With” series at noon Sept. 14. The lecture, which will be held in the Worrell Professional Center’s Court Room Auditorium, Room 1312, will highlight Swecker’s 24-year career with the FBI. His experiences include acting as the on-scene commander of FBI operations in Iraq, supervising the dismantlement of a Hezbollah terror cell in Charlotte and directing the investigation and capture of Eric Rudolph, also known as the “Olympic Bomber.” Media is invited, but limited space is available. No flash photography is permitted. Media coverage must be arranged in advance. The event is for the Wake Forest community.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

DARFUR SITUATION COULD BECOME WORSE THAN RWANDA – Sylvain H. Boko, an expert on African politics and current socioeconomic issues at Wake Forest University, is available to speak to the media about the critical situation in Darfur. “If the international community waits any longer to take strong and decisive action, the consequences will be grave and will be worse than what we saw in Rwanda,” said Boko, a native of Benin, West Africa, and a Knight of the National Order of Benin. “The Arab-dominated government of Sudan is not a neutral party in the conflict, and cannot be trusted in its offer to send troops to ‘protect’ the suffering civilians of Darfur. The 7,000-strong African peacekeeping force is too small and ill-equipped to do the job of protecting an area that is almost the size of France. The international community, with U.S. leadership, must exert strong pressure on the Khartoum government to let the United Nations force in.” Boko is an associate professor of economics at Wake Forest. Each summer, he leads a Wake Forest study abroad course in African economic development to Benin. He is the author of “Decentralization and Reform in Africa.”

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

CRISIS/HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION: WFU EXPERT CAN COMMENT – Randall G. Rogan, an expert on the communication and analysis of crisis/hostage negotiation, is available to speak to the media about the complexities involved in the profession of crisis/hostage negotiation, the focus of “Standoff,” a new, fictional television series from the Fox Broadcasting Company. Rogan, professor and chair of communication at Wake Forest, has worked with the FBI and was a member of the team of analysts that helped identify the Unabomber. In the spring semester of 2005, Rogan taught the course “Communication, Terrorism and Hostage Negotiation” at Wake Forest. Rogan, who plans to watch “Standoff,” said he hopes the series will realistically depict the difficulties and challenges various law enforcement officers must manage when striving to facilitate a peaceful end to a high-conflict, potentially lethal situation. “It would benefit the general public to learn about the reality of crisis/hostage negotiation,” Rogan said. “Too often, this aspect of law enforcement is inaccurately portrayed and glamorized in films and made-for-TV movies.”

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

WFU TO HOLD ‘CONVERSATION WITH SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR’ – Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will visit Wake Forest Sept. 21 to participate in “A Conversation with Sandra Day O’Connor” at 4 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The event will follow an interview format in which a professor will ask O’Connor questions about her life as a legal professional. Wake Forest law students will also have an opportunity to ask O’Connor questions. Sponsored by the Wake Forest School of Law, the lecture will serve as the university’s Constitution Day event and is one of the university’s new “Voices of Our Time” events, which bring renowned experts to campus to explore timely issues. The event is open to members of the Wake Forest community, the law community and invited guests.

Contact: Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

THEOLOGY PROFESSOR TO DISCUSS HOMOSEXUALITY AND RELIGION – The Rev. Dr. Jack Rogers, professor of theology emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary, will discuss his new book “Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church” at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in the lower auditorium of Wingate Hall. The event is free and open to the public. In his book, Rogers makes a Biblical case for equal rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A self-described Evangelical, who also wrote the book “Confessions of a Conservative Evangelical,” Rogers writes in his latest book: “I had never really studied the issue of the status in the church of people who are homosexual. I opposed homosexuality reflexively – it was just what I thought Christians were supposed to do. However, studying this issue in depth for the first time brought me to a new understanding of the biblical texts and of God’s will for our church … I changed my mind initially by going back to the Bible and taking seriously its central message for our lives.” Sponsors of the event include the Office of the Chaplain, the religion department, the Divinity School, Wake Forest’s Pro Humanitate Center and Presbyterian (USA) Campus Ministry. For more information, contact (336) 758-5248.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or (336) 758-5237.

OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, BIOETHICS – Researchers and others in the biotechnology and bioethics fields are grappling with questions like, “What are the challenges to commercializing biotechnology research?” and “Do bioethics act as a restraint or an opportunity for biotechnology?” On Sept. 29, media are invited to attend “Biotechnology: Innovation, Funding & Ethics,” a two-session conference organized by Wake Forest that will include two panel discussions featuring experts who will address these and other issues. Featured speakers and panelists will include Steve Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company; Clifton Leaf, senior editor at large of Fortune magazine; Arthur Caplan, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania; as well as several panelists from Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management, School of Law, School of Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center. The first session, “From Bench to Bedside: Accelerating the Transfer of Academic Research from the Laboratory to the Marketplace” will be held at 9 a.m. “Contemporary Issues in Bioethics” will begin at 1 p.m. Both free, public sessions will be held in Pugh Auditorium. For detailed conference information visit The event is offered as part of the university’s “Voices of Our Time” series.

Contact: Concette Grillo, or (336) 758-5421.

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