Mannian paint by numbers? Connect the UVa dots

American Palladianism: The Rotunda at the Univ...

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, designed in the Palladian manner by Thomas Jefferson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[UPDATE: 4:30PM PST The plot thickens. Breitbart is reporting that Sullivan has a history with scientific misconduct charges, as well as investigations that exonerate without actually asking the tough questions. h/t to reader Holly Martin ]

Hmmm, this is more than a little strange. From the Examiner: The Board of Visitors announces: UVa President Teresa Sullivan will step down

====================================

Early on Sunday morning (6/10/2012), UVa Alumni received a stunning email sent by Helen E. Dragas, Rector, and Mark Kington, Vice Rector of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, that conveyed startling news:

On behalf of the Board of Visitors, we are writing to tell you that the Board and President Teresa Sullivan today mutually agreed that she will step down as president of the University of Virginia effective August 15, 2012.

In January of 2010, President Sullivan had been unanimously elected by UVa’s governing Board.  Rector John O. Wynne, who had chaired the board’s special committee on the nomination of a President, had described Teresa Sullivan as a person of integrity and vision, and “an extraordinary talent who brings to the University an enormous depth and breadth of experience in every aspect of public higher education.”

=============================================================

Now, after reading that, wondering about the abruptness of it all, try to connect these dots:

  • Environmental Sciences, at the behest of the Dean of Science, votes to offer Mike Mann the Kington Chair, which was designated as going to a climate person. See Climate Depot story here.
  • Mark Kington, a member of the Board (and Vice Rector) gets wind of it.
  • Kington calls a quorum of the Board of Visitors and fires Sullivan.
  • Maybe this is idle speculation, but why did they have to fire her so quickly and on a Sunday morning? And, just 15 months after her inauguration? Couldn’t it have waited until their next meeting? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

The official firing line is: “A philosophical difference of opinion”. Given what was said about Sullivan at the outset, surely this does not merit an action like this done in stealth mode on a weekend with the bare minimum quorum? This doesn’t pass the sniff test, something smells fishy to me.

In the middle of all this, during Sullivan’s brief tenure, we have UVa spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal contortions trying to prevent Mann’s UVa emails from seeing the sunlight of FOIA requests.

Let the speculation begin.

About these ads

137 thoughts on “Mannian paint by numbers? Connect the UVa dots

  1. He’s got something very disturbing on her and offered her the choice to either resign or to read mikey’s book and attend one of his lectures. She chose the course of least resistance. Wise move.

  2. Did he get unfriended at Penn State?
    The big deal in the background is these sticky incidents hamper donations. Now if some donor at VA says he won’t donate, the Board gets the message the President of the university ignored. VA just doesn’t need the bad publicity.

    Fired early before Church. I still think Mann’s hiring is still at risk.
    She may have been told to kill the deal and refused.

  3. Sometimes coming to WUWT is like visiting a real media outlet, which is almost non-existent these days. It’s oftentimes as if Anthony Watts is an honest-n-true journalist intent on breaking and “sniffing” out stories. Huh. And I thought this just some nerdy science site. (don’t hit me, I mean well)

  4. As always in these things, look at the language carefully, since this has clearly been parsed by a team of lawyers. They work hard not to say anything that anyone could take offense at, BUT if you look carefully you can see that they are also telling all of us quite a lot with this announcement.

    Often one sees in these things that he or she “left to pursue other interests”, or “has decided to resign for personal reasons” after which the board will express its condolences. But that is NOT what was said here; instead it was:

    “we are writing to tell you that the Board and President Teresa Sullivan today mutually agreed that she will step down”

    Not hard to see that she was quite clearly fired with no regrets on the part of the Board, who this points out agreed with this outcome wholeheartedly.

  5. The Mann Stick – tree calibration

    If you have 100 trees and 99 correlate with temperature, then they are quite likely good proxies and it will do no harm to the analysis to include the 1 one tree that didn’t calibrate.

    But if you have 200 trees and only 99 correlate with temperature, then the 101 trees that don’t calibrate tell you that the other 99 are probably not very good proxies either.

    In this case you want to include the 101 that didn’t correlate, so you don’t over estimate the confidence and under estimate the error in the result.

    However if you only report the trees that do calibrate, then both groups of 99 trees will appear of equal quality when in fact the first group is very likely a much better proxy than the second.

    This leads to spurious conclusions because you will then weight each group of trees equal in reliability when in fact they are not at all equal.

    The problem is that climate science (hockey stick) hides the trees that don’t correlate which makes all trees look like equally good proxies, even when a high number of trees in a sample are telling you they are not reliable.

  6. [SNIP: If that was meant to be funny it is in fact defamatory. If you are serious, provide a link. -REP]

  7. It’s hard to “connect the dots” when I don’t understand the significance of the “dots” or the people involved. Can you provide more background information? Inquiring minds certainly do want to know!

  8. Ferd Berple:
    It’s much more like 9,990 that don’t correlate, 7 that correlate weakly, an upside-down lake sediment study, YAD061 and a Greybill stripbark bristlecone that strongly correlate. Until 1960.

  9. Wow, this is a huge happening, whatever the reason(s). Major universities virtually never have a President serve such a brief term. Although the presidential terms aren’t as commonly a decade or two the way they used to be, I can recall very few cases of a term less than 5-8 years for a president of a major university. And to basically fire her so abruptly, well yes, this is big news in the education world, whatever the cause(s). Also, there was much hoopla about Sullivan as the first woman president at UVa, so the Board would not make waves like this unless they thought there was compelling reason.

    Actually, the Board might have decided that Pres. Sullivan was unbearably shallow because she invited Katie Couric to be the 2012 Commencement Speaker:

    Katie Couric on getting her call from President Sullivan

    [from Katie Couric's 2012 commencement address to UVa, re waiting for invitation to be Commencement Speaker for UVa]: “….but year after year that call never came … but finally, this year, the call came from Terry Sullivan. I guess it took the first woman to lead the University in 193 years to get the job done!”

  10. Academic infighting don’t you love it, no wonder I’m thinking about going back into teaching K-12!

  11. A univ president’s job is fund-raising. Nothing more, nothing less.

    If a president gets fired, it’s because of poor fund-raising one way or another. Either she did something specific that caused big alumni to close their wallets, or she’s generally behaving in a way that displeases the big donors.

  12. Is Sullivan the Mann-prop? Or are the Board (Kington and his faction) really on the Hockey-stick Team?
    In the UK – with little knowledge of – and rather less interest in – College politics (our own national politics require a headache pill every time you think of them!): – sorry. something plainly causes nasal receptor overload.
    But – what? Pass.

  13. Connect the dots eh
    Well let me see: 2+2= err um
    this is very much a work in progress, but I will get back to you all!
    Er um

  14. Universities are facing the higher ed bubble that will doom many. Administrative expenses have skyrocketed resulting in massive tuition increases.

    Open course ware, Khan Academy type educations will be cheap. There are no jobs, so why go into debt for 100,000?

    And Mann’s coverup turns off half or more of your potential students. They can and will go elsewhere.

  15. Update.

    My earlier suggestion that the alternative offered to Sullivan was ‘to read mikey’s book and attend one of his lectures’ was clearly in error. I withdraw the suggestion that Mr. Kington would have ever offered such a cruel and unusual (and unconstitutional) alternative. She went of her own accord. :-)

  16. If Mark Kington, member of the Board and Vice Rector, fired Sullivan to prevent Mann from getting the Kington Chair, I heartily applaud his actions (regardless of how politically and/or financially motivated they may be)!

  17. wws says:
    June 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    “we are writing to tell you that the Board and President Teresa Sullivan today mutually agreed that she will step down”
    Not hard to see that she was quite clearly fired with no regrets on the part of the Board, who this points out agreed with this outcome wholeheartedly.

    Wow, Sherlock, did you work that out all by yourself?

  18. I could not imagine UVA bringing Mann back, much less offering an honor of any sort with regards to climate related science. He and the UVA cover-up / refusal to release documents has caused tremendous damage to UVA’s repetation. Mann did to UVA what Phil Jones did to EAU. Only UVA staff made it much worse. I would not hire from either of these universities.

    Interesting that she was placed in her position just 2 months after Climategate I. Would this be related in any way?

    Are we seeing a legal maneuver or are some seeing the writing on the wall? I hope it’s the latter.

  19. Probably had a lot to do with fundraising and budgetary issues. If she was not seen as highly effective in getting UVa’s financial issues in order then that would create the context in which they were ready to move her aside quickly:

    UVa budget problems

    [from article at link]:

    Also among those raising concerns was Vice Rector Mark Kington.

    “We have to rethink the scope of our operations,” he said.

    Later, he added: “As long as we don’t make the tough choices, we’re dragging the entire institution down.”

  20. Luther Bl’t says: June 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    President Sullivan has noted the effect of Gleik on Heartland donations?
    ——————————————————
    So please tell us the trend in Heartland donations. Or did I miss this in a recent thread?

  21. polistra says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm
    A univ president’s job is fund-raising. Nothing more, nothing less.

    If a president gets fired, it’s because of poor fund-raising one way or another. Either she did something specific that caused big alumni to close their wallets, or she’s generally behaving in a way that displeases the big donors.

    One way or the other it’s about money, the budget was submitted last month, there appears to be concern about faculty salaries and the ability to attract new faculty to replace retirements.

  22. She also co-authored a book with Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren. Over the past week or so some uncomfortable questions about the “metholdology” and facts that they used have come up.

    So it may have nothing to do with Mann.

  23. Louis Hooffstetter says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm
    If Mark Kington, member of the Board and Vice Rector, fired Sullivan to prevent Mann from getting the Kington Chair, I heartily applaud his actions (regardless of how politically and/or financially motivated they may be)!
    ========================================================
    A question: Did Kington have access to the files Sullivan and Mann are trying hide?

  24. “… because she invited Katie Couric to be the 2012 Commencement Speaker .. ”

    I doubt this. My college commencement had the President for the School of Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a speaker, so nothing could be worse.

  25. @Dan in California

    According to Heartland, the nett effect of the Gleick affair has been to increase their income. While some corporate donors have withdrawn their monies have been more than offset by an increase in individual donations.

    So Gleick, in attempting by underhand means to discredit the Heartland Institute, has actually strengthened their position. I do not think I will be hiring him as my ‘strategy adviser’ on this showing. His ‘talents’ must lie elsewhere.

  26. I wouldn’t jump the gun. More than likely this was a simple difference of opinion. Sounds as if the University has financial problems, perhaps it is something as simple as “things are much worse than she was admitting”. At best Mann might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    On the other hand. …

  27. Too much speculation here for my tastes — despite my strong dislike for Dr. Mann and his poor science.

  28. You know how fast and loose these “Moonbat” types play with the truth. That is until people start to take a closer look at their work.

    Either way, this is going to be interesting.

  29. “Dan in California says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    So please tell us the trend in Heartland donations. Or did I miss this in a recent thread?”
    ==============================================

    Up. Hearthland donations have gone up significantly since the fakegate.

  30. What’s the significance of “the Kington Chair?”

    If Mann were to get this, does it give him any say or influence over the release of his old emails? Does it give him access to his old email account such that once he got it, he can delete his old emails?

  31. Alan says:
    June 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    It’s hard to “connect the dots” when I don’t understand the significance of the “dots” or the people involved. Can you provide more background information? Inquiring minds certainly do want to know!
    _____________________________
    That is a bit of a hard one. It has been a long legal battle. The Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, went after Mann’s E-mails as “discovery” in a case of misuse of taxpayer funds in the wake of the Climategate e-mails and the trashing of the “Hockey Stick graph” by Steve McIntyre.

    It went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court which held that the University of Virginia is not a “person” subject to a “Civil Investigative Demand” from the attorney general.

    So the second salvo was fired. A FOIA from ATI (Dr. David Schnare) At this point things got sticky. UVA calls the documents “proprietary” and something they don’t want their competitors to have. However they gave copies to Michael Mann who works at Penn State. Penn State compete for research grants, quality students and quality faculty, and thus is a REAL competitor of UVA.

    The judge doesn’t seem too impressed, especially with his “purity of heart” remark..

    Here are links to the story as it unfolded

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/tag/uva/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/tag/university-of-virginia/

    http://http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/27/ati-press-release-on-the-mann-uva-emails/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/24/mann-uva-emails-released/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/02/michael-mann-wades-into-the-uva-thicket-as-intervenor/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/26/first-look-at-michael-manns-uva-emails/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/06/status-update-on-uvamann-foia-legal-fight/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/02/virginia-ag-loses-in-mann-uva-litigation-with-prejudice/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/25/atis-video-pitch-on-the-mann-uva-case/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/02/court-fight-manns-lawyer-and-uva-counsel-vs-ati/

  32. Inside baseball:

    In April, the Department of Environmental Sciences voted to offer the Kington Chair, donated by Board of Visitors’ Vice-Rector Mark Kington, to Mike Mann. This was Mann’s Department when he was at UVa.

    The vote was at the urging of Associate Dean for the Sciences, James Galloway, who also is a very powerful member of the Environmental Sciences Department faculty. He is a far-left greenie, and pretty ruthless. But, such an appointment has to be approved by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Meredith Woo.

    My Enviornmental Science contacts down there are minimizing the Department’s activity, under the assumption that Dean Woo would surely have enough sense to not go along with the Deparment’s vote. That being said, UVa is a “Chair-oriented” university, with the Dean usually not interfering with departmental hiring votes. So it is quite possible that it was approved. I have no information about this and my “friends” have clammed up.

    Kington was one of three BOV members who met to recommend Sullivan’s termination/resignation. Whether Mann and the Department were any factor in this, whether it ever got to the level of the University President (it should have), and what she would have done about it are things that we just do not know.

    One thing is certain: “philosophical differences” aren’t sufficient to support such a drastic and sudden action against a person who I believe was genuinely liked by most everyone there. Nor is a slight donor shortfall. Nor is a decline in research funding because the “stimulus” money ran out (Mann had, I think, about $600K in stimulus money at PSU).

    One candidate is that her sacking of Leonard Sandridge, the COO with Charlottesville connections that go back to the ice age, may have encouraged revenge, and this was it. Whatever, it is dark, dirty and unseemly behavior that begs for a real explanation.

  33. My own alma mater (the University of Nottingham) awards “The Order of the Boot” (Ordo Caligulae) to alumni who do exceptional service to the University. This is an in joke based on the fact that Jesse Boot, of Boots the Chemists, donated the land on which the Uni is built.

    Sounds like UVa are borrowing the title, if not in the same spirit. Sounds like we should watch this space!

  34. Why would Kington be so upset over the Mann appointment that he’d force Sullivan out? And wouldn’t Kington have had some say in who was offered the Chair? There’s a couple of dots that need more connecting here, imho.

  35. This looks like a money issue and either she was either not “bold” enough in her cutting of expenses or not “bold enough” in her increasing the cash flow. Judging from the comment Skiphil posted June 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm, this would seem to be a key concern:

    The pace of change in higher education and in health care has accelerated greatly in the last two years. We have calls internally for resolution of tough financial issues that require hard decisions on resource allocation. The compensation of our valued faculty and staff has continued to decline in real terms, and we acknowledge the tremendous task ahead of making star hires to fill the many spots that will be vacated over the next few years as our eminent faculty members retire in great numbers. These challenges are truly an existential threat to the greatness of UVA,” the statement said.

    What I seem to hear from that is “health care costs are rising quickly, salaries in academia are rising quickly, our faculty has seen their compensation decline, we need ‘bold’ action”. They want someone who will allow them to jack up salaries.

  36. Steve:

    ODD MANN OUT ?

    When Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, it was to provide
    an educational alternative for Virginia residents beyond the philosophically
    hidebound (especially in science) teaching available at Catholic-based William
    and Mary.

    From the UVA Rector Dragas’ Remarks to VPs and Deans at:

    http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=18791

    Nevertheless, the Board feels strongly and overwhelmingly that we need bold and proactive leadership on tackling the difficult issues that we face. The pace of change in higher education and in health care has accelerated greatly in the last two years. We have calls internally for resolution of tough financial issues that require hard decisions on resource allocation. The compensation of our valued faculty and staff has continued to decline in real terms, and we acknowledge the tremendous task ahead of making star hires to fill the many spots that will be vacated over the next few years as our eminent faculty members retire in great numbers. These challenges are truly an existential threat to the greatness of UVA. (emphasis added)

    May we infer that Mike Mann is not the kind of “star hire”
    the Board of Rectors is looking for ?

    Does the overtly espoused philosophy and alleged behind-the-scenes
    underhanded “scientific” and political activities of Mike Mann not
    square with the Jeffersonian precepts that the Rectors seek to uphold ?

  37. Looking at it from another direction, and I could be full of peas, not knowing the personal interactions involved: Is it possible that the Board is on Mann’s side, and she tried to rein them in on both the Chair offering and the megabucks they’re spending fighting the email releases? Could she have told them to knock it off, and they gave her the boot? Again, I realize I could be way off base.

  38. Steve:

    Sorry, that should have been Church of England instead of Catholic based.

    There was a difference… but not much when it came to the sciences.

  39. Neo says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm
    “… because she invited Katie Couric to be the 2012 Commencement Speaker .. ”

    I doubt this. My college commencement had the President for the School of Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a speaker, so nothing could be worse.
    ===============================================================
    Oh, I dunno. How about Al Gore?

  40. Gail Combs says:
    June 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    =========

    Good summary of links.

    Newcomers to WUWT need to get in on what it’s all about with Mann and UVA. I don’t believe the MSN has touched on it much. Mann has been near the center of a lot of the mess with hockey sticks and CAGW and all the related issues.

  41. The “official ” reason is money.

    UVa ousts Sullivan as president
    …a conversation with UVa vice presidents and deans Sunday morning, Rector of the University Helen Dragas said the university faces tough challenges in the coming years, including financial pressures.

    To help deal with those challenges, Dragas said, the university needs faster changes in administrative structure and fundraising efforts. She also listed challenges facing the university in the future, including limited tuition increases, falling support from the federal government and a decline in faculty compensation.

    “The compensation of our valued faculty and staff has continued to decline in real terms, and we acknowledge the tremendous task ahead of making star hires to fill the many spots that will be vacated over the next few years as our eminent faculty members retire in great numbers,” Dragas said. “These challenges are truly an existential threat to the greatness of UVa.”

    Dragas went on to say that the financial picture for the university is not as sunny as the board would like, and a new leader was needed to resolve funding issues and answer calls Dragas said came from within the university to make tough budget decisions.

    “We see no bright lights on the financial horizon as we face limits on tuition increases, an environment of declining federal support, state support that will be flat at best, and pressures on health care payors,” Dragas said. “This means that as an institution, we have to be able to prioritize and reallocate the resources we do have, and that our best avenue for increasing resources will be through passionate articulation of a vision and effective development efforts to support it.”…
    At a news conference Sunday, Dragas said changes in higher education, as well as healthcare, in part prompted the change.

    “We had a philosophical difference about the vision of the future of the university,” she said. “We are living in a time of rapid accelerated change in both academia, as well as in healthcare, two areas in which we operate large enterprises.”

    Dragas declined to elaborate….

  42. polistra says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    You are clearly 100% correct.
    But this may have nothing to with climate science or M Mann.

    The real questions are:
    How can a major US university get into such financial trouble?
    Who else is in such trouble?

    If they had loads of cash they wouldn’t worry about anything.

  43. Oh, for those not fortunate enough to have visited Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s crib), the photo at the top looks strikingly like the view from the backyard. Anyone in the Washington DC area, with the time, should make a day trip out there. Will be worth the time, IMO.

  44. From the story “an extraordinary talent who brings to the University an enormous depth and breadth of experience in every aspect of public higher education.” Holy smokes! Looks like the hirers spectacularly failed Due Diligence 101 – or this mighty babe is one smoooooth talker. Either way, she’ll be getting a spectacular pay day for her trouble. Unless… hooeee, the mind boggles and guffaws all the while it speculates.

  45. Whatever, it is dark, dirty and unseemly behavior that begs for a real explanation.

    That is my experience with any group having a lot of very intelligent people. When you get smart people together, the knives come out as they attempt to slip them into each others’ backs in order to advance their own career. At that level it is often easier to bring someone else down than to rise above them. Cream is already at the top, in order to expand your influence, one must create some curds that fall away to the bottom.

  46. Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting on June 10, 2012

    “The Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia met, in Open Session, at 2:00 p.m., on Sunday, June 10, 2012 in the President’s Conference Room in Madison Hall. Helen E. Dragas, Chair, presided.

    “The following Committee members were present for the meeting: Mark J. Kington, and Hunter E. Craig. Ms. Dragas brought the meeting to order.

    “After adopting the following motion, the Committee went into Executive Session:

    “That the committee members go into closed session for the purpose of amending the contract of a specific University employee as provided for in Section 2.3-3711 (A) (1) of the Code of Virginia. The Committee resumed in Open Session at 2:05 p.m. and adopted the following motion…

    “RESOLVED, the Executive Committee, on behalf of the Board of Visitors, accepts the resignation of Teresa A. Sullivan as president of the University effective August 15, 2012;

    “RESOLVED FURTHER, the Rector is authorized to negotiate and execute an amendment to Ms. Sullivan’s Employment Agreement consistent with discussions in closed meeting.”

    http://www.virginia.edu/bov/meetings/EXEC%20COMM%20MTGS/%2712%20JUNE%2010%20EXEC%20COMM%20MINS.pdf

    “Jeff Selingo, editorial director of The Chronicle of Higher Education, who also writes a blog on the future of higher education, said major public universities across the country are facing budget pressure similar to UVa.

    “Last year we saw two high-profile situations, in Arizona and Wisconsin, where flagship university presidents left under somewhat similar circumstances,” Selingo said. “They are seeing large cuts in funding from the states, they are under pressure to do more with less in terms of income and they are unsure what steps to take next.”

    “Selingo, who said he has no first-hand knowledge of the relationship between Sullivan and the Board of Visitors, said comments made by UVa Rector Helen Dragas to staff and faculty show UVa is under similar pressures.”

    http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/10/sullivans-dismissal-sign-times-ar-1979307/

    It could be partly to do with the budget and net income, but I wouldn’t rule out the Mann factor. His potential re-employment would be a financial risk.

  47. The plot seems credible. However, like with climate science, is this theme underdetermined? That is, is the seat for Dr Mann (along with the money spent resisting divulging emails) one of a number of possible explanations. To give further credence to the thesis it is necessary to show that there were no other factors that could be seriously damaging to the reputation to UVa. It may take time to confirm this, or we may never know.

  48. So who did she bring in with her?

    Sullivan split Sandridge’s (retiring Exec VP and COO) duties with the hiring of Executive Vice President and COO Michael Strine and Executive Vice President and Provost John Simon.

    For Simon I found a course he taught, but this was before Sullivan was hired. Identical name?

    Energy: Past and Future

    3 Credit Course
    Thursday 1430-1700
    Pavilion VIII, 108
    John Brown, Associate Professor
    Spring 2009

    In the near term Americans must change our energy habits (broadly understood) in the face of three threatening trends: the depletion of world oil reserves, the effect of energy resources on international political relations (geopolitics), and global warming. While our energy future is uncertain, the present status and future directions of energy supplies and use largely reflect deep-seated economic trends, longstanding instruments of social power, and fundamental cultural beliefs. Put directly, history provides highly useful frameworks for a critical understanding of the place of energy in society today. This course will explore the cultural, environmental, technological, economic, and regulatory contexts that all influence our society’s ability to evolve toward an improved energy future.

  49. When politics and weather collide! I hear Elizabeth Warren, (currently seeking “Ted Kennedys seat” ) our most famous Cherokee around here, was co- author of some truth-bendy with the Prez. We’ll know more before the sun sets.

  50. Unless he has more evidence than he shared, I hope Mr. Watts will refrain from such rank speculation in the future; it detracts from his blog’s quality. U. Va’s backing Mann was bad on many levels, but Mr. Watts thinks there’s a serious chance the university president got fired over it? Really?

  51. Neo says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm
    “… because she invited Katie Couric to be the 2012 Commencement Speaker .. ”
    =============================================================

    I was definitely being facetious! Colleges and universities have proved over many years that there is no one too shallow or ignorant to be a commencement speaker or receive an honorary degree, so long as they are “politically correct” in at least some coveted dimensions.

  52. Wow! It’s not climate, but it is massaged stats so it’s almost the same thing. It’s all on Breitbart.

  53. Some have pointed to the money issue for the firing. If you look at that aspect, ask yourself how much money the former UVa President spent fighting ATI over $8,500. Yes people the lawsuit between ATI and UVa was not over releasing the emails, it was over UVa trying to charge ATI $8,500 for them and the speed of release:

    The legal action follows a delay by UVA of more than four months since ATI and Del. Marshall made their original request on Jan. 6. Since then UVA officials have demanded an unjustified and unsupportable sum of $8,500 from ATI to produce the documents, despite its admission that it knows precisely where the records exist on a specific University computer server. Still, ATI made a down payment of $2,000 for UVA to begin its search and delivery of Mann’s records – and also a second payment, for a total paid of $4,000.00 – but University officials still have not provided any documents, nor offered a schedule of its intentions to respond to ATI’s information request.

    http://www.atinstitute.org/american-tradition-institute-v-university-of-virginia-dr-michael-mann/

    Now this all happened right after Teresa Sullivan got to UVa. Now the question is did the President decide to play these games on her own authority or did she go in front of the Board first for permission. That I haven’t seen yet, but we do know that she was under pressure from the “Team” to deny ATI the emails:

    The four scientists who wrote to Dr. Sullivan are: Rosanne D’Arrigo, senior research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University; Dr. Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Kevin Trenberth, climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/14/mann-fights-against-freedom-of-information/

    The kicker is Dr. Sullivan wasn’t the one sued by ATI, the Board and the Rector was:

    THE AMERICAN TRADITION INSTITUTE, and
    THE HONORABLE DELEGATE ROBERT MARSHALL
    Petitioners,
    v.
    RECTOR AND VISITORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA,
    Respondent.

    http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ATI_v_UVA_FOIA_First_Petition_final_5-15-11.pdf

    Now the last thing we heard was that the judge was not so sympathetic to Mann and UVa but hadn’t ruled yet:

    But at the end of four hours of argument, the judge did not grant ATI’s immediate request for 12,000 withheld e-mails written while Mann was a professor at U.Va., and did not rule that the school had waived its right to withhold the e-mails by providing them to Mann last fall. Instead, Sheridan acknowledged that however he rules, the case is headed to the Virginia Supreme Court to resolve several key FOIA issues the case raises

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/17/mann-vs-ati-caseunsettled/

    Now here is the speculation:
    As the Respondents the Board and Rector would find out before Dr. Sullivan if the Judge has reached a decision. Maybe the Judge has ruled against UVa and the Board is pissed at Dr. Sullivan for dragging them into court, wasting x amount money and ruining their reputation all because she tried to get $8,500 and dragged her feet on the original deal with ATI. Doing something like that will get you fired on the weekend, so if in the coming days the judges ruling comes down and goes public, you will know it was that ruling that got Sullivan canned.

  54. Gail Combs says:
    June 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    That is a bit of a hard one. It has been a long legal battle…
    ————————-

    Thanks Gail. I was aware of all those shenanigans. I guess my base query is: who’s on what side in terms of all your links? Is this a glad/sad moment in the battle to have the UVA emails released?

  55. “U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan is the fifth-highest paid official at U.Va. and seventh on the overall list of top earners, with an annual salary of $485,000 that includes a base pay of $176,104.” http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/oct/17/payy17-ar-567956/

    http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/cdp-news-local/2010/apr/15/uva_faculty_pay_highest_in_state-ar-72538/

    I’m sure she really did not want to voluntarily give up her salary of $484,000.00 annually. But hey, the provost makes more than $700,000 annually at UVA

  56. She probably didn’t want to spend more time with her familly, so push went to shove.

  57. On the surface it sounds like financial underperformance is the ‘official’ reason Sullivan was fired.

    Remarks of Rector Helen Dragas
    Meeting with Vice Presidents and Deans
    June 10, 2012

    “We had a philosophical difference about the vision of the future of the university,” she said. “We are living in a time of rapid accelerated change in both academia, as well as in healthcare, two areas in which we operate large enterprises.”

    But that reason does not appear to be consistent with the startling suddenness of the process and decision on a weekend that terminated Sullivan’s employment at UVA.

    So, I would think there probably is an immediate improper activity or threat by Sullivan that was a significant ‘unofficial’ reason for her being fired in such an unusually crude abrupt manner. I think there is something she did which, if it hit the media before UVA action to fire her, it would have done serious harm to UVA reputation. What it might be, I haven’t a clue.

    Is her firing possibly related to Mann’s controversy wrt FOIA request litigation against UVA? I think the very pubic Mannian controversy might possibly be a component to Sullivan’s firing from UVA, but I do not think it could be a compelling component.

    John

  58. There is another possible reason for the resignation. It appears that Sullivan was charged with scientific misconduct on a book written in 1989. A previously unreleased report was claimed to have exonerated the authors. It appears that this secret report has been leaked and does not resolve the charges. One of the co-authors is Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the democratic nominee for US Senate in Massachusetts. One of the apparently unresolved charges was preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/06/11/The-Academic-Scandal-Elizabeth-Warren-and-Harvard-Dont-Want-You-to-Know-About

  59. Mann back to UVA would certainly explain why UVA has fought release of Mann’s emails every step of the way. I wonder if the donor’s of the chair might have done a little due diligence by reading some. After all, being on the board of Regents and having donated the chair in question just might warrant a few privileges.

  60. A person who endows a chair has absolutely no say in who gets it.

    Unless that person is still on the board of Visitors or Trustees or whatever they call it.

    Google Auburn University Trustees to see just how deeply they can become involved in a school. These people wield enormous clout and got into their positions because of that clout. As someone who worked in University research for ten years and who watched the fall and rise of John Christy’s fortunes at UAH, there is much more than meets the eyes here.

  61. As Life Member alum of UVA and grad of the Darden School, I today received an email from the Dean announcing the “surprise.” I’ll add that as an alum, I have been embarrassed by the U’s contortions and wasted money (some of it my donations) in an effort to shield Mann. I was genuinely concerned that the UVA I knew – the home of what had been a rigorously enforced honor system – had been corrupted by politicians and ideologues masquerading as educators. I am relieved that the alumni have apparently made there views felt and that the Board of Visitors has finally acted.

  62. It sounds as though the Board wants a president who will reverse the University’s decline. They will not find one.

  63. Funny. All of sudden, some of us are posting a link to the article at Breitbart website.

    Breitbart is here. :)

  64. Mr. Mark J. Kington has been Managing Director of X-10 Capital Management LLC since 2004. Mr. Kington serves as President of Kington Management Corporation. He is the Principal Officer and investor in several communications firms. He was a Managing Partner of Columbia Capital LLC and joined it in 1990. Prior to joining Columbia Capital, he served as Vice President of Communications Lending at First Union National Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina and Vice President of Investments of Malarkey-Taylor Associates in Washington, D.C. He serves as a Member of the Board of Visitors at University of Virginia, The, Northern Virginia Health Foundation and INOVA Health System Investment Committee. He serves as a Director of Boston Communications Group Inc. He has been a Director of Dominion Resources Inc., since 2005 and serves as its Member of Finance & Risk Oversight Committee and Member of Compensation, Governance & Nominating Committee. He served as a Director of Phoenix Wireless Group, Inc., JKB Global, LLC, Columbia Spectrum Management and Spaceworks, Inc. Mr. Kington received his B.S. from the University of Tennessee and his M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Background bio on Mark Kington, but the chair in question is called the Joe D and Helen J. Kington Professor in Environmental Change.
    You might wish to peruse this web site: http://blogfromonhigh.blogspot.com/2012/04/thats-just-swell.html

  65. Holly martin says:
    June 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm
    Great minds, and all that.

    Nerd says: June 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    Funny. All of sudden, some of us are posting a link to the article at Breitbart website.
    Breitbart is here. :)

    Got my t shirt a month ago. Like Obi-Wan, he became far more in death than they can ever imagine.

  66. RE: Taphonomic says:
    June 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I think Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart is on the scent. However I also think a lot may be involved, concerning what you so aptly describe as, “One of the apparently unresolved charges was preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information.”

    A lot of this data-hiding has been going on, enabling people to exaggerate at the least, if not commit outright fraud. Recently, while running for Ted Kennedy’s seat, Liz Warren’s exaggerations were exposed by people who found ways to check her past. The more people dug the more silly stuff they found. For example. Liz wrote a “Cherokee recipe” for a cookbook, recipe turned out to be clipped and pasted from a famous French resteraunt in NYC. Now a link to Ms Warren is discovered, and Ms Warren is linked to Mann: One big, happy party of data-hiders.

    At some point a college has to draw the line, before (as Techgm says at 4:23) they are “corrupted by politicians and ideologues masquerading as educators.” Call it a “tipping point” if you will, but I feel the point has been reached.

  67. @ Skiphill

    re the “Couric connection” … From the President’s 2010-2011 Report (p. 6)

    February 2011
    the University dedicates the $74 million Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, named for the late Virginia state senator. Her sister, Katie Couric, journalist and special news correspondent, speaks at the ceremony

    We’ve no way of knowing what the rules, regulations and/or protocols might be wrt selection of “speakers”; so even if Couric’s encore appearance (May 2012) was the result of a transgression on Sullivan’s part, it seems to me that this would have come to light long before now.

    On the funding front (since it is assumed that the funding buck stops with the President) this same report notes (p. 3):

    Despite a weak economy, we continue to make steady progress in the Campaign for the University of Virginia, with current and future support commitments totaling more than $2.47 billion as of the end of August. For the 2011 fiscal year, which ended June 30th, overall giving by alumni, parents, and friends was up $27 million (35 percent) over fiscal year 2010.

    Typically, it takes a few months after the end of an organization’s fiscal year before the annual audit is completed. So Board initiated action on this front would seem to be somewhat premature.

    Additionally, this President’s Report gives respectable nods (3 each) to “sustainable” and “climate change”.

    Sullivan’s CV (which is longer than anyone’s arm I’ve ever seen!) indicates that her background and areas of interest (Sociology, bankruptcy, women’s studies, population studies) are very far removed from anything that might impinge upon the holy writs of “climate science”.

    The closest thing I could find to which a dedicated climateer might object was her participation in the NRC’s 2007-09 “Committee on Ensuring the Utility and Integrity of Research Data in a Digital Age”. Assuming that there are some publicly accessible “findings” from this Committee, it might be worth a look.

    Certainly, much of the UVA resistance re release of Mann’s emails occurred on Sullivan’s watch; but considering her background and interests, it is somewhat difficult to imagine that this was her idea – or one that she might have advocated for.

    The Kington professorship appointment of Mann (assuming it came to fruition at some point after Morano’s speculation in April) must surely have had Kington’s blessing:

    Mark Kington (Darden ’88) and his siblings were raised to honor the natural world and to be aware of their responsibility to be good stewards of the earth.
    [...]
    Pending approval by the Board of Visitors, the professorship will be established in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, attracting an eminent scholar who will teach and conduct research in the area of regional and global environmental change, with a mission to protect and preserve the natural world.

    Mr. Kington is the managing director of X-10 Management Corporation in Alexandria, Va., and a former member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. He now serves on the University of Virginia Foundation Board and the University of Virginia Investment Management Company Board, where he is privy to the University’s reputation among donors.[emphasis added]

    The above (from an undated page) seems to be in conflict with the President’s Report (p. 9):

    JULY 2011
    Governor Robert McDonnell appoints five new members to the Board of Visitors:
    [...]
    Helen E.Dragas of Virginia Beach will begin her term as the University’s rector, and Mark J. Kington of Alexandria will become vice rector.

    Although it is conceivable that Kington’s vice-rectorship appointment was, in effect, a “recycling” exercise.

    Considering Kington’s “green” roots – and Sullivan’s apparent lack thereof – my guess would be that if there have suddenly emerged some anticipated “funding” shortfalls for the current fiscal year, perhaps Sullivan suggested that (re maintaining the barricades against Mann E-mail disclosure) it was time to say enough is enough!

    In addition, perhaps she had drawn a line in the sand regarding the Board’s “approval” of the Kington professorship. And she decided to resign rather than sell her soul (and integrity) to the green-growthers.

    There’s also the possibility that Mann agreed to accept the position only if Sullivan was deposed (because her credentials were not sufficiently green for his liking?!); so Kington, who seems to have some powerful tentacles [pls see above], did some behind the scenes lobbying – and engineered a coup d’état.

    See also:

    Leaders of the University of Virginia’s Faculty Senate said Monday they were blindsided by the Board of Visitors’ decision to remove President Teresa Sullivan and that they will investigate the matter.
    [...]
    In a statement, Sullivan attributed the move to “a philosophical difference of opinion” while Board of Visitors Rector Helen E. Dragas cited the need for “a bold leader who can help develop, articulate, and implement a concrete and achievable strategic plan to re-elevate the University to its highest potential.”

    The university said the board and Sullivan “mutually agreed” on her departure.

    In its statement Monday, the Faculty Senate called the board’s statement “inadequate and unsatisfactory.”

    http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/9997b0f2042b4b3cab54312e15d9e6d1/VA–UVa-President-Resigns

  68. In a period of financial stress, the green eyeshades have to come out, and the nice to haves have to be cut to zero. She either couldn’t or wouldn’t. Probably was paralyzed by the prospect of laying off everything and everybody with the word “Studies” attached to their name. Probably couldn’t stomach the idea of leaving STEM untouched. Probably proposed cuttng football and boosting women’s lacrosse. Probably proposed going after some more of that sweet sweet global warming research funding. Probably missed a couple of Board deadlines. When she finally showed up, the Board went “what is this c**p, are you serious?” and when she said she was, it was “ok, you’re outta here, hasta la bye-bye”.

    Notice that tic “compensation of our valued faculty and staff has continued to decline”. When you are talking universities, the faculty are the superstars that bring in money, and the staff are the drudges that spend it. If you think staff make a university great …

    Sometimes, clarity is good, Sometimes, your best effort just isn’t good enough, and so it’s time to hit the bricks.

  69. Caleb says:
    June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    At some point a college has to draw the line, before (as Techgm says at 4:23) they are “corrupted by politicians and ideologues masquerading as educators.” Call it a “tipping point” if you will, but I feel the point has been reached.

    Rather than a tipping point I view the situation as a reservoir filling with toxic sludge. Once the reservoir is filled the sludge begins to overflow – This is where we are now! Beyond that the dam begins to erode until we get to the point where the dam fails.

    Unfortunately after the dam fails we still have the toxic sludge coming from upstream.

  70. To start with the Breitbart story starts out with a major error, they got the date of publication wrong. Combine that with no link to the supposed “documentation” and I would tend to dismiss the story. If they can back it up — especially with the supposed documents from the NSF — then I will pay attention. Failure to provide any link to them looks pretty bad.

  71. hro001:
    Certainly you may be correct in your assessment, however, above all, Kington seems to be a legitimate businessman and simply may not agree with Mann as someone that would uphold the ideals of his father. Speculatively speaking, of course, while noting there are at least a few dyed in the wool types that have expressed disgust in Mann’s behavior.

    Mark

  72. Sorry, the original publication date seems to be 1989, edition listed on Amazon (and linked to in the article) is shown as 1999.

  73. The link in the update is really interesting. Sullivan (and Elizabeth Warren!) were accused of scientific misconduct by Professor Shuchman for arranging matters in a way preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information. In support of his accusation, Shuchman notes:

    A common instance of misconduct in science occurs when “there [is] no way to verify whether or not [the] research was accurate.’ Woolf, Deception in Scientific Research, 29 Jurimetrics J. 67, 83 table 5 n.4 (1988).

    Wow. For those of us following the climate debate, and in particular the hockey stick wars, this charge is oh too familiar.

  74. Uva is chock full of hard core leftists. Judging from her bio and known associates, former el presedente Sullivan is right in her element. Most probably a Paul Eherlic disciple.

    Kington came from one of the slimyest big banks around. They were so bad and their rep was so bad that when First Union ate Wachovia they took their name.

    The long and short of it is that academic integrity has been long gone at Uva.

  75. A quid pro quo cover-up (among colleagues) for scientific malfeasance/flawed inductive reasoning combined with a working knowledge of the complaint process. It could take 25 years to get through the complaint system…..oh wait……when did this happen?

  76. Rattus Norvegicus says:
    June 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm
    To start with the Breitbart story starts out with a major error, they got the date of publication wrong. Combine that with no link to the supposed “documentation” and I would tend to dismiss the story. If they can back it up — especially with the supposed documents from the NSF — then I will pay attention. Failure to provide any link to them looks pretty bad.

    ===========

    As far as I can tell, Breitbart isn’t showing the whole thing at once right away. Did you see the part where they wrote -

    “The next three articles in this series will address the conduct of three institutions enmeshed in this scandal: The University of Texas, the National Science Foundation, and Harvard University.”

    Next time read carefully. I did read Breitbart’s book “Righteous Indignation” and I know how they operate. Maybe you should read the book and find out why.

  77. Gunga Din says:
    June 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    Neo says:
    June 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm
    “… because she invited Katie Couric to be the 2012 Commencement Speaker .. ”

    I doubt this. My college commencement had the President for the School of Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a speaker, so nothing could be worse.
    ===============================================================
    Oh, I dunno. How about Al Gore?

    ———————
    Isn’t that redundant?
    cn

  78. Nerd, how about a link to the text quoted in the Breitbart article. This is the web, you know…

  79. BUMMER!

    Couldn’t she have quit AFTER hiring Mike Mann?

    We, at Penn State, were willing to help, by writing GLOWING letters for Mike.

  80. Read Schauchman on Warren. He had her number 20 years ago and it wasn’t 1/32nd. It was academic fraud, hiding data and code and otherwise perversely corrupting science, such as her field was. A dismal record.
    ===========

  81. Well, heck. You all are way ahead of me on Schuchman. That’s what I get for taking a break to clear the air.
    ========

  82. Again, maybe I’m out of date, but has the source of the funding for UVA’s Piltdown Mann been revealed? A lot of money came in a hurry, quietly.

    Send shysters, gats, and loot.
    =====================

  83. Beale says:
    June 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm
    It sounds as though the Board wants a president who will reverse the University’s decline. They will not find one.>>>>

    Well clearly they learned nothing from Mann. So much easier just to hide it….

  84. I have a picture with Teresa Sullivan at UT-Austin. She gave me my diploma (Ph.D in chemical engineering) in 1997. I think she was dean of the graduate school at the time.

  85. Nerd says: June 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm
    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    June 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm
    Next time read carefully. I did read Breitbart’s book “Righteous Indignation” and I know how they operate. Maybe you should read the book and find out why.

    Obi-Wan Andrew taught his Padawans well. God Bless those guys, Tip of the Spear!

  86. Personally, I kinda doubt her “departure” was due to offering Mann the Kington Chair.

    On the other hand, if it was, watch out for the other shoe to drop. Kington is (amongst other things) a senior member of the board of Dominion Resources which is a major player in the energy sector. If this really is tied up somehow with trying to appoint Mann to the Kington Chair, it will only be a matter of time before someone spin’s it as “big oil” getting her fired.

  87. It looks like a change at the top at UVa. May we hope a change of policy with regard to the Mann emails will follow. They surely must be getting sick of pouring money down the drain in legal fees fighting to keep Mann’s emails secret. A new administration is likely to care less about revelations that might make the old administration look bad.

  88. Rattus Norvegicus says:
    “Sorry, the original publication date seems to be 1989, edition listed on Amazon (and linked to in the article) is shown as 1999.”

    The article at Breibart links to the book at Amazon. The paperback version was published in 1999; the hard cover at Amazon shows 1989. http://www.amazon.com/As-Forgive-Our-Debtors-Bankruptcy/dp/0195055780/ref=la_B001ITTT3Q_1_2_title_1_har?ie=UTF8&qid=1339479061&sr=1-2

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    “Nerd, how about a link to the text quoted in the Breitbart article. This is the web, you know…”

    Rattus, you have cited the Breitbart article without providing a link. Why do you want others to provide a link to an article that you have discussed but apparently not read completely? Go back, re-read the article, and pay attention to the last paragraph.

  89. The money comment, by GaryS:

    Sometimes coming to WUWT is like visiting a real media outlet, which is almost non-existent these days. It’s oftentimes as if Anthony Watts is an honest-n-true journalist intent on breaking and “sniffing” out stories. Huh. And I thought this just some nerdy science site. (don’t hit me, I mean well).

  90. Just a quick comment in passing–as a non-academic who was fired for being too old (I have the NEOC and EOC paperwork) I will tell you that trying to work out university politics is like trying to understand what went on in the dungeons of old castles–the only thing that is ever clear is that somebody wanted to inflict serious pain on annoyers.

  91. This is a good time to ask the perennially unanswered question:

    How many ancient trees that had survived the rigors for centuries, died to provide Mann’s collection of wheels?

  92. As another poster pointed out, Kington is on the board of oil & gas company Dominion Resources. He is also a big contributor to Republicans, particularly Eric Cantor, so he might have taken serious issue with bringing one of the leading blowhards against eeeevvvilll big oil companies back into the fold following the $$$$$ thrown down a rathole by UVA essentially defending him by fighting the FOIA request.

    Essentially this will come down to money. It’s likely that UVA lost a lot of Republican donors by spending money fighting the FOIA request that was being led by a Republican Attorney General and hiring Mann back was going to make the situation worse, not better. It seems that this would have been cleared by Kington in advance, but if not, Sullivan has a tin ear if she was going to appoint Mann to a seat endowed by a Republican with ties to oil. Perhaps she mistakenly believed that anyone who would endow a chair in Environmental Sciences automatically means that they are alarmists and would worship Mann.

    Times they are a-changin’.

  93. to me, the dots are beginning to connect…

    hro001 says: June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm
    Sullivan’s CV… indicates that her background and areas of interest… are very far removed from anything that might impinge upon the holy writs of “climate science”. The closest thing I could find …was her participation in the NRC’s 2007-09 “Committee on Ensuring the Utility and Integrity of Research Data in a Digital Age”.

    Michael Patrick Leahy:
    In 1990, Rutgers Professor Philip Shuchman charged Elizabeth Warren, along with Teresa A. Sullivan and Jay Westbrook, her two co-authors of the 1989 book, As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America, with “scientific misconduct.” Warren’s friends and former colleagues at the University of Texas quickly completed an error-filled investigation.

    This secret report was accepted… But the central charge made by Professor Shuchman was neither investigated nor refuted

    “This book contains so much exaggeration, so many questionable ploys, and so many incorrect statements that it would be well to check the accuracy of their raw data, as old as it is. But the authors arranged matters so that they could not provide access to the computer printouts by case, with the corresponding bankruptcy court file numbers, this preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information.”

    The secret report that “exonerated” Elizabeth Warren never asked this simple question: Did the authors arrange matters so that they could not provide access to the computer printouts by case, with corresponding bankruptcy court file numbers, thus preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information?

    Nelson says: June 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm
    Kington is on the board of oil & gas company Dominion Resources. He is also a big contributor to Republicans… It’s likely that UVA lost a lot of Republican donors by spending money fighting the FOIA… Perhaps [Sullivan] mistakenly believed that anyone who would endow a chair in Environmental Sciences automatically means that they are alarmists and would worship Mann.

    Perhaps Sullivan’s been supporting the fight to keep Mann’s data obstructed… like she did herself back in 1990 but her dirty washing is now coming to light… and what was she doing on that “Committee on Ensuring the Utility and Integrity of Research Data in a Digital Age”? with her record of accusations of obstruction… now we see Heartland actually gaining financial support after Gleick, perhaps, little surprise to see Kington heading the group that convened to sack her (?)…

  94. Best I can figure out she was fired because she’s a woman . . . or a member of some other oppressed minority.

  95. A history question: Back in the day when I was a student, there didn’t seem to be much ethics overview of research involving human subjects. All kinds of research was done that wouldn’t pass muster now. Is it possible that the “human subject safeguards” fiasco was just a result of rules and mores that were rapidly changing?

    “…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.” Goethe

    The question may not be whether the authors deliberately obfuscated their data but how people dealt with the problem when it was exposed.

  96. There are other reasons possible here – one that strikes me is that Professor Sullivan was not seemingly interested in international links, which are basically the thing you have to do to get ahead in academia nowadays (whatever you say about the Climate Team, they are doing well on this front). She apparently once doubted (and this is hearsay, but from someone who met her professionally) why her faculty needed to travel outside Virginia. Considering the political links (and perhaps academic background) it is possible that Professor Sullivan’s problem is purely and simply that she is actually a leader of the last decade or even century, rather than one for now, and her vision was far too narrow. This would explain her popularity with faculty and students (universities are intensely conservative in nature and tend to resist change), but the lack of vision would be a problem for those charged with seeing UVa forward (the Rectors) and would be less attractive to donors, potential hard-hitting staff and funders and partners.

    This may or may not tie into the Michael Mann issue. It is unlikely to be the issue itself – this is not headline news (unless in Virginia?) so we cannot say it was mishandled from the university’s point of view, but it may be indicative of the problem in some way, or even one of the issues raised.

  97. It think the reasoning in this article is a little far-tetched. UVA has a academic faculty of over 2000 and an endownment of over $5 billion. Saying that Mann is the cause of this is like saying that a tree in Yamal proves AGW.

  98. I’m in Charlottesville visiting a friend, and the firing is a big topic. Sullivan is not a UVA alumnus, and not connected to the big donors. Female donors gave more, but averall fundraising was down 10%to on her watch . She is also philosophically opposed to online education. No one here seems to even be aware of the ATI suit.
    Academic politics is a murky business, but the pres has got to bring in the money, it’s job one for any university.

  99. Nelson says:
    June 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    As another poster pointed out, Kington is on the board of oil & gas company Dominion Resources.

    Dominion is not an ‘oil and gas company’. It’s primarily an electric utility and gas delivery utility.

    Senator John Warner retired in 2009. Long serving Senators can easily steer lucrative federal government research contracts to their local universities. Virgina doesn’t have any long serving Senators anymore.

    Climate research can be big money for a University…

    http://www.uidaho.edu/newsevents/item?name=recipe-for-success-20-million-grant-supports-collaborative-climate-research

    The five-year, $20 million USDA award will fund the work of a research team led by University of Idaho entomologist Sanford Eigenbrode. His team includes researchers from Idaho, Washington State University and Oregon State University, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The team will study impacts of climate change on Northwest wheat and barley production.

    So a disagreement with the Rectors over how much investment should be made in what academic departments in order to attract federal research dollars is entirely reasonable.

    List of top 25 research universities.

    http://mup.asu.edu/research2010.pdf

    In 2008 the University of Virginia helped itself to $200+ million in Federal Research money.

  100. Based on the Breitbart piece, it would appear that Sullivan’s downfall may be collateral damage from Warren’s troubled candidacy for the MA senate seat. Breitbart is showing up the MSM by tossing out scoop after scoop. Go there and WUWT to get the newest news.

  101. The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch has a spin of its own: ” the chairman of the U.Va. business school’s foundation said he knew of “this project” to oust her weeks ago.” The executive council of the faculty senate says “We were blindsided by this decision,” and “”we still don’t have a good understanding of what’s happening.”

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2012/jun/12/11/tdmain01-uva-president-learned-of-ouster-friday-af-ar-1980925/

  102. Dave Walker,

    The Insider Higher Ed article indicated that there was a disagreement with the Rectors over a move to online ed.

  103. Looks like we can eliminate Mann as a factor in Sullivan’s dismissal. In an exchange today with a colleague in the Department of Environmental Sciences, I was told that Dean Woo rejected the Department’s recommendation to offer Mann the Kington professorship. Although this individual did not know Woo’s reasons, the speculation was that Mann was simply too much of a political liability.

  104. Even if there were any contention within UVA’s admin. or faculty over appointing or not appointing Mann I don’t think one issue like that could lead to the U’s president being dismissed. It is far fare more likely to have to do with fundraising, planning and budgetary issues as some of the articles have referenced. The Rectors would lose confidence in the pres. if (1) fundraising was inadequate, and/or (2) bad feedback was coming from major donors, and/or (3) the pres. was not following Board guidance (esp. on major financial matters, and/or (4) the Board did not see the pres. as capable of providing the leadership that would resolve major problems faced by the U.

  105. Looking at various news stories, the board is boasting about its transparency, while others are saying the board has a record of non-transparency. Where have I heard that before?

  106. Why apply “human subject safeguard standards” to bankruptcy records, which are a matter of public record? All the humans are identified there, specifically so everyone knows who they are. Hiding their identities doesn’t protect the human subjects.

  107. AnonyMoose said on June 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm:

    Why apply “human subject safeguard standards” to bankruptcy records, which are a matter of public record? All the humans are identified there, specifically so everyone knows who they are. Hiding their identities doesn’t protect the human subjects.

    It protects the researchers from admitting how facts were “tweaked”. For example, it is “progressively” acceptable to say a personal bankruptcy was due to medical costs. It is less acceptable to admit those costs would be manageable except for their unrealistically-large mortgage payments, or that someone was justifiably fired and lost their medical insurance. That is, admit it was their own fault, not society’s, not the medical system’s.

    With real names you could get real facts, re-analyze, and realize the researchers were really full of it.

  108. I’m not academia nor science but, generally most things make sense but, this doesn’t.
    We have a scientist who seems to firmly believe he can read the temperature of the earth by reading treerings and now someone wants to make him a head science guy. Are not there more rational choices? Was Bill Nye not available or do they think this would be a real steal from PS?
    Maybe they’re starting a Voodoo Science Department.

  109. This will be interesting to follow – “Virginia Watchdog on Monday submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request for documentation, including recent communication between Sullivan and Board of Visitors. The university responded in part to the request on Monday with Sullivan’s initial presidential employment agreement, and has until next week to respond to the rest of the request.”

    Will this FOIA also be considered by UCS to be threats/attacks on academic freedom as was the case with Mann? Will The University of Virginia decide to fight the FOIA as they did with Cuccinelli and ATI in their quest to obtain Mann’s communications? Will Virginia Watchdog be villainized by big media and big academia for seeking under FOIA the communications of faculty/staff at UVA in the same manner as the attacks leveled at the Virginia Attorney General and AtI by big media and big academia? If not, why? Wasn’t the argument by big science and big academia in Mann’s case that it was all about the ability to converse with colleagues without fear of private communications becoming public? I’m thinking once again we will be entertained by the abundant hypocrisy big media and big academia engage in on a daily basis.

  110. harrywr2 says:
    June 12, 2012 at 7:08 am
    Nelson says:
    June 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    As another poster pointed out, Kington is on the board of oil & gas company Dominion Resources.

    Dominion is not an ‘oil and gas company’. It’s primarily an electric utility and gas delivery utility.

    I stand corrected — Nelson

  111. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/06/16/Did-Breitbart-Investigation-Play-Any-Role-in-Sudden-Resignation-of-UVA-President

    “Wednesday, June 13:
    Continued speculation centered around the “philosophical differences” between President Sullivan and the Board of Visitors. These differences seem to center on issues related to budgets and failure to hit fundraising targets.
    Looming in the background are political differences between President Sullivan and the two most powerful politicians in the state–Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. As Inside Higher Education reported:
    Sullivan has taken high profile positions against the positions of the two most powerful Republican politicians in the state (while she has also worked with them on other issues). She has questioned the push by Governor Bob McDonnell to cap the use of tuition dollars to pay for financial aid for other students. (Governor McDonnell issued a statement of praise for Sullivan on Sunday.)
    She also resisted many of the efforts of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II to obtain records of a former faculty member who works on climate change. Cuccinelli argued that the records might show flaws in climate change research while many academic groups argued that he was trying to intimidate researchers who hold the consensus view that climate change is real. The Virginia Supreme Court in March backed the university’s position that Cuccinelli did not have a right to all of the papers. “

Comments are closed.