UCI News

The Atlantic, Sept. 18, 2020
The weaponization of the free-exercise clause
Howard Gillman, UCI chancellor and professor of political science and law and Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Berkeley School of Law dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law write, “There was a time when the Constitution’s protection of the “free exercise” of religion was a sort of shield, a protection for religious minorities from the prejudices of the powerful. No longer. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is in the process of transforming this First Amendment clause into a sword that politically powerful Christian conservatives can use to strike down hard-fought advances in civil rights, especially for LGBTQ individuals and women.”

The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 2020
Which U.S. colleges are the most diverse?
Public universities may not dominate the top of The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings or stand out in matters of finance, but they shine when it comes to campus diversity. … Topping this year’s list is La Sierra University …. Four other California schools appear in the top five for campus environment: California State University, Northridge and University of California, Irvine (tied for No. 2), California State University, Long Beach (No. 4) and San Francisco State University, which shares the No. 5 spot in a tie …. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: WSJ.com/UCILibraries]

ProPublica, Sept. 18, 2020
Oil companies are profiting from illegal spills. And California lets them.
Experts say oil constantly spilling to the surface also releases fresh volatile organic compounds that are building blocks for smog and other dangerous pollution linked to heart disease, asthma and other health problems. … “Every time you push oil through an open pathway to the surface, it’s like opening a bottle of soda,” said Donald Blake, a University of California, Irvine, atmospheric chemist who has tracked air pollutants around the world, including in Kern County.

BBC, Sept. 18, 2020
The impact of banning alcohol during Covid-19
Emily Owens, who studies criminology and economics at the University of California, Irvine, points to the balancing act that many countries try to strike. “Alcohol is something that people enjoy drinking. It’s pleasant. We get utility out of alcohol consumption. But at a certain point, alcohol consumption really is problematic for society.” She believes that higher taxes and making alcohol pricier would allow people who really want to drink the ability to do so legally, but “maybe discourage people on the margin from consuming as much as they might currently choose to.”

Orange County Register, Sept. 18, 2020
Coronavirus shows science can be messy when it unfolds in real time
Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and population health scientist at UC Irvine [said] “Science is a method. A process. A way of asking questions and coming up with ways to test those questions. To the average person who’s enjoying the O.C. sunshine and doesn’t think that much about science, it’s like, ‘You scientists, you keep changing your minds, you can’t agree with each other, what the heck is up with you people?’ The fact that we change our minds — that’s actually science at its best. Science evolves.” [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]