Staff Editorial: Report Card says no smoking in the dorms

Lung cancer studies funded by tobacco companies: F

Lung cancer research initiatives by the Weill Cornell Medical College have been found to be financially supported by tobacco companies, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

While most universities do not accept funds from tobacco companies Jeffrey Drazen, the editor in chief of the Weill Cornell’s medical journal, said he was unaware that the school had received funds from the Liggett Group, a tobacco company under the charity name Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention ‘ Treatment.

Claudia Henschke, a Weill Cornell researcher, concluded that 80 percent of lung cancer cases could be diagnosed with the aid of biomedical imaging in a 2006 study.

While the findings were medically significant, the source of the $3.6 million grant from the Liggett Group casts doubts on the ethics of Weill Cornell.

While Cornell has argued that they did not make any attempts to cover up the financial resources, it should not have accepted the funds without first knowing where the money originated.

Higher education institutions should be more careful to avoid conflicts of interest and conduct a thorough investigation of where the money trail leads.

Universities should be more interested in keeping their research free of corporate interests and questions of integrity.

Modular dormitories: A

Using modular construction to build dormitories is increasingly becoming fashionable in universities across the nation, The New York Times reported.

Distinguished campuses such as Yale have adopted the cost-effective construction into thier campuses. The Yale dorms, built in 2004, cover around 7,800 square feet and cost about $3 million to build.

Meanwhile housing administrators from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Penn. built five such residence halls on their campus over the summer.

In modular construction, pieces of the building are manufactured in a factory and later assembled on the building site.

In addition to being cheaper, modular construction also takes less time than traditional construction. The three-story Yale dormitory took around a week to be constructed.

UH housing administrators should look into modular building the next time there is a spike in enrollment, especially after the UH System Board of Regents had to approve a budget increase for Calhoun Lofts in January. The new UH dorms have a project budget of $107 million.

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