UVa board meeting ends in heckling

Readers may recall my earlier report on the strange weekend ouster of UVa president Teresa Sullivan last week where I suggested there might be a Michael Mann connection because supposedly he was offered the Kington chair, and the fellow whose name is on it allegedly called the emergency weekend stealth meeting leaving some board members behind. UVa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting FOIA requests from the American Tradition Institute and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for Mann’s emails related to his publication of MBH98 done while at UVa, and from what I hear, this issue has been very unpopular with some alumni and has resulted in some fund raising issues under Sullivan’s tenure.

Now, in the middle of this turmoil, word on the street is that Michael Mann will not get the Kington Chair. Meanwhile Larry Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics reveals (via his Twitter Feed ) the mood at the wee hours of the morning end of the UVa board meeting (at 2:39AM) after the weekend coup ousting president Sullivan.

From The Republic it seems the faculty is pretty upset too:

University of Virginia asks rector, vice rector to resign after president’s ouster

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — University of Virginia faculty leaders on Monday demanded the reinstatement of the school’s president and the resignation of two board members involved in her ouster. Officials gave no sign of complying, but acknowledged they could have handled Teresa Sullivan’s abrupt departure better.

“We recognize that, while genuinely well-intended to protect the dignity of all parties, our actions too readily lent themselves to perceptions of being opaque and not in keeping with the honored traditions of this university,” Rector Helan Dragas said in a statement issued by the university.

“For that reason, let me state clearly and unequivocally: You, our U.Va. family, deserved better from this board, and we have heard your concerns loud and clear.”

That wasn’t good enough for members of the Faculty Senate, who earlier met privately with board members to demand the removal of both Dragas and Vice Rector Mark J. Kington. The Senate’s executive committee also requested that faculty be given a voting position on the board, known as the Board of Visitors.

full story at The Republic

h/t to Ryan Maue

[UPDATE: I trust Anthony will not object to my adding that the "Kington chair" he refers to is actually the Joe D. and Helen J. Kington Professorship in Environmental Change. It is a newly endowed professorship, and it was established by their son, Mark Kington, in the memory of his parents. Mark is active in UVA matters, and presumable is the man Anthony refers to as working behind the scenes with the Board. -w.]

About these ads

72 thoughts on “UVa board meeting ends in heckling

  1. Similar to the actions of ex NASA employees speaking up, most people fear to speak up because they fear for their jobs. Thus it often falls to ex employees, retirees, and alumni to correct the evils that flourish when good men (and women) remain silent.

  2. UVa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting FOIA requests from the American Enterprise Institute and Attourney General Ken Cuccinelli for Mann’s emails related to his publication of MBH98 done while at UVa, and from what I hear, this issue has been very unpopular with some alumni … .

    And where have you heard this? I haven’t seen any evidence that Mann had anything to do with the President’s ouster.

  3. I believe the FOIA’s referred to have been filed by American Tradition Institute, not American Enterprise Institute.

    [REPLY: So many Institutes! Fixed. Thanks. -REP]

  4. The kerfuffle has led to fund raising issues, and the following fits:

    QUOTE:
    According to the onetime editor of Woodrow Wilson’s papers, however, long before any of them strode the academic-political scene, Wilson observed often that the intensity of academic squabbles he witnessed while president of Princeton University was a function of the “triviality” of the issues being considered.

    http://ask.metafilter.com/80812/Academic-politics-are-vicious-because-the-stakes-are-so-low

  5. One of the problems at universities is that the faculty refuse to acknowledge that they are just employees.

  6. I’m sorry, but this seems a bit “gossipy.” Shouldn’t we wait for some verifiable information?

  7. Dear Mr. Watts, etal.
    Some good info on the power elites we are all up against over at another blog.

    Denis McDonough, who is very very close to Pres. Obama. He is now the leader on the NSC.
    Seems that he has common problems for you guys and we others.
    He is the guy who is running the protection operation on Fast and Furious as well as he is a user of the CO2 fraud your working on here.

    Good read, but long, notwithstanding we of the Forward Operating Post know that rule one is know what the other guys are doing.

    He is doing things, come to know him and those things.

    http://www.sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for the space to post.
    fob person

    REPLY: Thanks, but no “Dr.” should be attached to my name – Anthony

  8. Dragas and Kinton claim to have ‘heard’, but were they *listening*?
    What do they intend to DO – besides watching their credibility melt faster than the ice in a Mint Julep in June?

  9. The suddeness and urgency of the weekend process that resulted in Sullivan’s dismissal is not consistent with her having financially underperformed nor with her resistance to modernization.

    Those were sort of the official reasons given for her dismissal.

    The actual reason could be something more accute and embarrassing. Waiting for evidence about what the real reason might be for the suddenness of her dismissal.

    John

  10. This thing is crazy. As a UVA student parent and an alumni, I find Dr. Sullivan’s ouster apparently by a select few on the Board, to be disturbing. I suspect Mann’s impact on this is minor if it had any impact at all.

  11. This post does not reveal who the real crooks are at UVA. Is it the ex-president, the Board, the faculty, a combination of each or some?

  12. You’re still wildly speculating on her departure. Hopefully the next president will be a bit more amenable to FOIA requests.

  13. Any university admin that does not know the difference between ouster and ousting is not worthy of the position.

  14. Sullivan is a radical lefty. She gets fired, probably because of things she did because she is a radical lefty. Now the Marxist faculty is having a fit and orchestrating protests and propaganda campaigns. Just watch for all the pro Sullivan trolls, with handle we have never seen before, to start showing up on every story related to this issue.

  15. One point of great significance is that no reason has been given for the dismissal of Sullivan. There are reasons why various people and groups might have liked to see her fired, but, there simply is no real information available.

  16. People, read the first article linked above if you are confused to who is who in this saga. It is a saga because frankly we are witnessing a power struggle that is most probably due to AGW politics. The fact is that it has very little to do with anything other then money. Some people want to keep the climate gravy train going and want to prevent FOIA requests and to give jobs to people such as Dr. Mann who have soiled the name of the university. The people so mentioned are probably mostly faculty and grad students who stand to lose big if the university starts going even somewhat balanced on the issue of AGW. They stand to lose big, but in the end the university is getting hurt more by the nonsense due to people not donating money simply because they disagree with the political aspects of AGW and how the university is covering things up and not having full disclosure and hiring such unsavory people.

    That is the power struggle in a nutshell. I doubt the people fighting against AGW for the most part in this struggle care about the struggle itself…they are fighting against it due to the money angle and nothing else. Their jobs are to make sure the university is flush with cash, and since its losing more then it gains for going pro-CAGW, well in other words the cat is out of the bag and the people who can think are fighting back for no other reason but for the money.

    This is how popular discourse and how websites and blogs like WUWT make a difference. They show the world how science has been hijacked by activists and how you can make a difference by countering free Government pork with not giving money to a university that is not honoring FOIA requests and is in other words digging its head in the giant trough of taxpayer money being given away.

    This is probably the best grassroots way to end this charade of activist hijacked science at the college level in the US. Make the universities pay. When those “phone calls” come from your university talk the ear off of the person calling and tell them why you aren’t donating a cent and why you are telling everyone else not to as well. It seems to have really worked in this case….so its time to expand efforts. And when they do change their ways like in this case, donate the money.

    People might not care about politics and/or global warming, but they do care about the money. Its always about the money no matter how much we talk about the science or the politics involved.

  17. I’m trying to connect the dots. I need more dots here, and less “read between the lines.”

    IMO, Mann should be a discredit to any educational institution associated with his name. Can we show that fund-raising is down, and UVa’s obstruction of the FOIA requests are a factor? Can we show that alumni have raised this issue?

  18. “Let’s not forget Sullivan and Elizabeth Warren’s paper.” E. Warren? Lieawatha? Fauxcahontas? Danceswithidentitypoliticsvictimstatus? That E. Warren?

    Just Curious.

  19. Physics Major says:
    June 19, 2012 at 8:25 am
    One of the problems at universities is that the faculty refuse to acknowledge that they are just employees.

    I agree
    Who is working for whom. The Board is not employed by the liberal faculty. The President is an employee and may have tried to think otherwise. . Maybe they ought to teach business class and teach the teachers that they are not owners. They are workers required to perform work.

  20. One of my degrees came from UVa and I’m an outlaw of a former Rector. I’ve been a lifelong observer and participant in governance at academic institutions. It wasn’t all that long ago that these institutions were overseen by a handful of “pillars of society” possessing inherited fortunes who were simply carrying out the duties of noblesse oblige.

    Somewhere along the road, academic institutions discovered marketing and salesmanship. With the active cooperation of the gullible and avaricious mainstream media, they exploited the insatiable demand for “prestigious” education by artifically constraining supply whilst simultaneously raising tuitions at twice the rate of inflation ( which they have now done for more than forty years). These institutions have always served as havens for anti-authoritarians and non-conformists seeking careers in academia as alternatives to traditional employment. Many of them bear a close resemblance to spoiled children— along with the same over-inflated ego, sense of entitlement and narcissism. Enabled by the rise of parvenus and noveau riches, “brand name” academic institutions began selling any and everything including— but not limited to— seats on the Board of Visitors/Overseers/Trustees. Not surprisingly, those Overseers/Rectors/Trustees somehow reached the perfectly understandable conclusion that they deserve something in return for all that money they’ve handed over.

    Comedy is the inevitable result.

  21. My thought is that if this proves to be about AGW and Mann’s involvement, will it actually do us any good? My questions center around who was stonewalling the FOAI requests, and was Sullivan one of them? Everybody involved should leave. As long as we’re speculating devoid of much evidence, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole group, president, rector, vice rector and BOV is all on the same side, but had a serious disagreement on how to proceed. Each time something happens at UVA we get the benefit of the Streisand Effect. Infighting actually helps us because it draws the story out over a longer period.

    If they were smart they would use the David Letterman strategy: if a bad story is about to get out, get in front of it, handle it truthfully and get it over with. Dave got a blackmail offer from his producer to fork over a couple million bucks in trade for silence on his affairs in the rooms above his studio. Instead of paying off, he called the police, and went public with his indiscretions. As long as there is no resolution to the Mann story, people will keep digging and keep the story alive. Penn State whitewashed their Mann story, so that will continue to haunt them as well. At some point the story will come out, especially when people retire and tell what really happened at UEA, UVA and Penn. It is only a matter of time.

  22. I had this weird idea that if Mann DOES get the Klingon chair at UVa, not only will we be able to get the UVa emails from when he wasn’t an employee, but we will NOW be able to get the Penn emails for an (soon to be) ex employee, and the icing on the cake – captains log, stardate 2012

  23. Why would any university hire Mann now?

    They would have to care more about using unprofessional methods of supporting the AGW meme than the strength and standing of their university in the long-run.

  24. Pure speculation. There is not a shred of information to suggest that the internal politics of UVa has anything at all to do with Mann. And the commentators referring to the “Marxist” faculty clearly have no knowledge of the economics department or business school at UVa!

  25. As always, there will be those who believe it is in their best interest will be the ones who claim to be upset and of course, everyone is on their side in keeping the gravy chain status quo. NOT!

    A crowd of 2000, from a possible 21,000 students and almost 8,000 staff makes a whopping 6.8% deciding it’s an unpopular board. That assumes that everyone protesting is directly associated with the university.

    If someone who has and probably will make seriously substantial donations to UVa has finally gotten upset about a chair/position/science that involves his name; so be it! It’s about time. Now if only Congress will start making similar noises. Once the gravy chain starts starving malignant growths, there’ll be plenty of CAGW alarmists under the bus.

  26. “…That wasn’t good enough for members of the Faculty Senate, who earlier met privately with board members to demand the removal of both Dragas and Vice Rector Mark J. Kington. The Senate’s executive committee also requested that faculty be given a voting position on the board, known as the Board of Visitors…”

    Something the UVa may not have thought out. I’m sure that when Kington created that “newly endowed professorship”, there was a healthy donation along with it.

    If they make him too mad, he might just take his chair and go home (and take all that lovely money with it).

  27. There seems to be a great deal of speculation here about this. In connecting the dots, I’d argue that what dots we have are widely scattered and could conceivably be connected in a number of ways that would provide widely different pictures.

    I’d also point out that were there any hint that Ms Sullivan was asked to step down due to her views on CAGW, the reaction and comment here would turn 180 and be calling for the heads of those responsible.

  28. As an alumnus of the University, the last few years have been filled with embarrassment as the University has flouted the law and protected Mann. Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers. I am glad to see the BOV finally take a stand against an administrator. More power to them. The idea that professors have forgotten that they are employees is very true thoughout education, but especially so at the university level.

  29. The resonable place for Mann to be would a position at the Pacific Institute to join “high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick)”.

  30. Greg
    June 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Pure speculation. There is not a shred of information to suggest that the internal politics of UVa has anything at all to do with Mann. And the commentators referring to the “Marxist” faculty clearly have no knowledge of the economics department or business school at UVa!
    ###

    There is not an economics department or business school that is not awash with Marxist. You would know this but your education has been provided to you by Marxist and they sort of left out some details such as the history of Marxism. Besides, it is not running around with a red flag yelling “Workers of the world unite” that makes one a Marxist. If someone sees everything through the lens of a Marxist word-view, one is a Marxist.

  31. At this vague point of unkown reasons and players, it is easier to associate the reason to concern over image related to a questionable academic relationship with Elizabeth Warren and trying to become a premier research institute – leading to firing Sullivan without stating the reason. The protests are simply projection in reaction to not stating the reason. This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible. In that case, the board and Sullivan expect to just ride out the waves of protest and let the whole thing die down. The board’s statement that they heard the protests about the lack of explanation loud and clear and then explained nothing is indicative.

    Still, it could just be an insider power play by someone not liking the current direction and using other controversies as leverage. That seems less likely. The Mann controversy as the “primary driver” seems even less likely.

    As a separate question, If you’re trying to become a premier research facility, how does the riddled work Mann has cranked out in the past and his current lame and self-serving diatribes help you? (It doesn’t, but if you’re trying to get the reputation for research that has had a huge political effect along with notoriety then you might want him back anyway. I think most universites would go with power and notoriety over an integrity first and above all approach. It pays better and controls the research at the same time.)

    Does anyone know whether Kington wants to contribute to establishing a respectable science or was he just promoting climate scientists when that environmental chair was endowed? Were he or Sullivan either for or against Mann? Were he or Sullivan concerned by or in favor of the hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight divulging facts about the prior condut of Mann at UVA? Neither seems to have taken a position and that seems to remove a lot of opportunity for the kind of compromising situation that seems to have arisen to persuade her to resign.

  32. Let me, as a Brit, ask a question that, I’m sure, many other non-US followers of this blog are wondering.

    Why the h*ll is anyone interested in the internal politics of a small, unheard of (outside Virginia) University?

  33. This continues to be the most absurd speculative thread in the history of this (normally outstanding) blog. Sullivan was forced out for economic reasons, with the charge apparently led by Peter Kiernan from the Darden School of Business. By all accounts (save this thread) this is a battle about the financial future of the University and the best strategy for remaining viable.

    The idea that because the President of a University where Michael Mann once (briefly, years ago) taught has been forced out is somehow related to CAGW is just screamingly myopic. There are issues in the world beyond climate change.

    There are thousands of people commenting on this story at the Charlottesville Daily Progress (city paper) and the Cavalier Daily (student paper) and have been op-ed pieces in the Washington Post. Not only do none of those commentators mention Michael Mann, I’d venture a good number of them don’t even know who he is.

    • REPLY: to Greg and others I did not suggest that Sullivan’s belief in CAGW or not was a factor, only that the huge cash outlay defending Manns email from FOIA requests might be a factor, along with the Kingman chair issue. I also have other inside information (sent to me unsolicited) that I am not at liberty to divulge at the moment until I can check it out. – Anthony

  34. Greg says: (after commenting that there was just pure speculation at WUWT)
    June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2012/06/teresa_sullivan_fired_from_uva_what_happens_when_universities_are_run_by_robber_barons_.single.html

    Greg that’s an excellent piece. Lot of insight and wisdom.

    The trickery Elizabeth Warren and Teresa Sullivan were accused of (see link above to Breitbart) has an uncanny similarity to Mann’s trickery: obstruction of data, with suspicion that this obstruction has been to hide fakery. So there could be a connection with Mann. And would publicity compare both these obstructions to the highly-damaging obstructive activity at another Uni this year, that for years had shielded a pedophile? Is this the reason for silence?

    How big a dent has Mann’s court case costs been, on the overall UVa budget?

  35. There are several comments above which suggest that our interest in events at small, obscure, second rate universities is; ‘irrelevant’ nay ‘screamingly myopic’!
    Could I just remind these commenters that the ‘s’cientific foundations of the Global Warming Fraud were laid at small, obscure, second rate probably because the likes of Mann and Jones would never have gotten away with it at more reputable Universities.
    We should indeed be interested in what goes on in instituions such as these.

  36. charles – my point is the opposite. UVa is not a second rate university. It is a huge university with a well-known business school, a top-rated law school and a huge hospital. It is much bigger than one associate professor from ten years ago and a single FOI case.

    BTW, this is also the University from which Fred Singer is professor emeritus.

  37. UVA isn’t insignificant. It’s law school is one of the best in the US–perhaps THE best.

    Coach Springer says:
    June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible.

    That’s my current best-guess too. The Board’s unanimity supports this interpretation.

  38. Greg says: (after commenting that there was just pure speculation at WUWT)
    June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2012/06/teresa_sullivan_fired_from_uva_what_happens_when_universities_are_run_by_robber_barons_.single.htm

    Lucy Skywalker says June 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm:

    Greg that’s an excellent piece. Lot of insight and wisdom.

    Yes; excellent article; Siva Vaidhyanathan is one of my favorite hard-to-the-left authors penning/feigned ‘works’ for the likes of: (1) New York Times Magazine (an insert on Sunday to the NYT paper), (2) The Nation (cough-cough caution: HARD LEFT! cough-cough but I love watching Hurricane Katrina vanden Huevel ‘make a twisted argument’ based on what seems to be ‘severely altered reality’), (3) MSNBC.com, and (4) Salon.com while involved with ‘Media Studies’ (whatever those are) and Law (law? … supposedly) at the University of Virginia.

    If he used the term “robber-barons” once he used it at least a dozen times; I had not realized that some adults are still enamored of ‘bogey men’ in their thinking processes supporting their need to apportion blame on others (primarily productive hard-working industrialists from the 1900’s!) for the world’s perceived ills today …

    .

  39. Coach Springer says: @ June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    This seems similar to a bank firing an employee for theft but not wanting to be associated with it or to be subject to legal battles over the firing. Except for private health reasons, sudden unexplained resignations usually happen when a compromising situation arises and it is in everybody’s interest to sweep it under the rug as best as possible.
    _____________________________
    ogerknights says: @ June 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    That’s my current best-guess too. The Board’s unanimity supports this interpretation.
    ____________________________
    Yes that is my best guess also. Either that or she managed to tic-off some VIP(s) donors with mega-bucks.

    As you said U Va is a major law school so the use of University funds (and therefore donor funds) to do a CYA on Mann while he is at Penn may not have sat well with someone(s) trained in the law.

  40. I doubt this imbroglio has much of anything to do with Cuccinelli v. UVa, There’s not much public evidence that would justify jumping to that very speculative conclusion.

  41. PatK says:
    June 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    As an alumnus of the University, the last few years have been filled with embarrassment as the University has flouted the law and protected Mann. Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers.

    Extend and amend?

    Reading for comprehension, PatK, a number greater than just a few of us are probably with more than just a little certainty concluding that your intention was to include a ‘not’ as part of this sentence as revised to include that term as shown below:

    “Sullivan was hip deep in it as she was a full subscriber to the idea of the faculty being an enlightened class who should not have to be accountable to the general rabble of the public and taxpayers.”

    I am happy to amend and extend your remark for this minor but important change on your behalf as both a taxpayer (although not in VA) and a member of the ‘general rabble’ who likes to see accountability generally (and generously) applied to all.

    .

  42. You all may want to read this.
    I can only speculate, but I do note that often times, when academic people are hired, they may be required to disclose in their application materials among other things, any past incidences where they have been investigated for one thing or another. I could speculate that she Sullivan might have been asked when she was brought into the position, whether or not she had ever been investigated for academic misconduct. If she did not disclose this incident to the team that was evaluating her as a prospective hire, that failure to disclose may itself have been reason to let her go (regardless of whether any academic misconduct ever occurred or was established to have occurred). But that’s just speculation. Of course, the board might be even more concerned if they felt that she was stonewalling on the Mann issue, but that is a different matter.

  43. According to Leahy, “I sent Sullivan and Westbrook a ‘heads up’ email in which I told them the documents President Sullivan had sent me earlier in the week are not exculpatory. President Sullivan sent me these eight documents with the intent of showing they exonerated her, Elizabeth Warren, and Jay Westbrook from charges of scientific misconduct. But subsequent investigations revealed exactly the opposite. Far from exonerating Sullivan, Warren, and Westbrook, these documents (all of which will be shown in subsequent Breitbart News articles) cast doubt on the integrity of the academic work she conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth Warren and Jay Westbrook.”

    Whereas, Sullivan had told him, “Scientific misconduct is not simply one more nasty thing you can say about somebody. It is a specific indictment, and must be handled through a regulated process of investigations and conclusion. We undertook that process and were exonerated.”

    If Leahy is correct in his interpretation of the documents, it is possible that the exchange seriously damaged Sullivan’s credibility on the subject of scientific misconduct in the eyes of the board, hence why she is no longer with UVa. But that’s just my speculation. Someone should try to find copies of the supporting documents Sullivan sent Leahy.

  44. E-mails from the rector and vice-rector have been released due to an FOI request, they don’t say much but are entirely consistent with the mainstream media reported story of financial planning issues being the reason for the firing.

    Of course the fact that the FOI request was responded to in one day may be a topic for continuing this thread. :)

  45. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_VIRGINIA_PRESIDENT_RESIGNS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-06-19-19-36-33

    Apparently Mark Kington has resigned. Doesn’t say whether he “took his chair with him” or not…

    UVa may not be “internationally reknowned” but it’s a pretty big deal in the US. Founded by Thomas Jefferson, one of our oldest Universities (first? of our State Universities?). It isn’t a “cow college”!

    Pass the popcorn.

  46. One must take everything Sabato says with a grain of salt. He is an avowed shill for the left, and will spin any story to fit their agenda. I have had to endure many years of his misguided prognostications and out right propaganda for the left’s causes.

  47. The controversy surrounding Sullivan’s removal has led Democratic state Del. Joe Morrissey to ask for a legislative investigation of board members’ actions.

    Will UVA cooperate with this investigation? Or will it spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to block the investigation?

  48. Max Phillis says:
    June 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm
    Far from exonerating Sullivan, Warren, and Westbrook, these documents (all of which will be shown in subsequent Breitbart News articles) cast doubt on the integrity of the academic work she conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth Warren and Jay Westbrook.”
    Whereas, Sullivan had told him, “Scientific misconduct is not simply one more nasty thing you can say about somebody. It is a specific indictment, and must be handled through a regulated process of investigations and conclusion. We undertook that process and were exonerated.”

    It’s the new, post-modern dictionary definition: “ex·on·er·ate: tr.v., to undergo investigation for scientific or academic misconduct”…

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

    It narrowly focuses on the question of making data available to Professor Shuchman in a way that fully accepts your argument that it would be unethical to provide the full data set to Professor Shuchman.
    =================
    It does appear to be an issue related to scientific misconduct. It is an interesting co-incidence that the issue revolves around the question of making the full data set available.

    The question of making the full data set available is at the heart of the ongoing AGW controversy. That AGW rests on a foundation of cherry picked data to advance a specific point of view. That AGW researchers have knowingly withheld the full data set, and in the case of tree rings advanced a statistically flawed “calibration” process that creates bias (hockey sticks).

    The problem is that the scientific community is very slow to act on these matters out of fear. Fear that if they scrutinize the work of one, they will have to scrutinize the work of all, including their own work. Those at the top that control the investigations, they have nothing to gain by allowing investigations to go forward, and much to lose. So they let sleeping dogs lie, no matter how bad they smell.

  50. Here’s a good article by Megan McArdle detailing the significance of the Warren/Sullivan studies that seem to have come back into play recently: “Elizabeth Warren and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Utterly Misleading Bankruptcy Study”, at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/06/elizabeth-warren-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-utterly-misleading-bankruptcy-study/18826/ .

    The study results appear to have been massaged in order to drive health care reform.

    My understanding is that this information is (finally) coming to public light as part of the Warren candidacy. Sullivan is just gravy.

  51. http://www.cavalierdaily.com/2012/06/19/kington-wulf-resign-following-boards-refusal-to-reappoint-sullivan/

    Again. This has nothing to do with scientific misconduct or Michael Mann. Sullivan was moving too slowly on things such as online education, and some big funders decided to throw their weight around. The story is amusing, and the situation has been badly handled on all sides, but it really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Michael Mann or Breitbart or any of the other conspiracy theories being flung about.

  52. ferd berple says:
    June 20, 2012 at 7:50 am
    The problem is that the scientific community is very slow to act on these matters out of fear. Fear that if they scrutinize the work of one, they will have to scrutinize the work of all, including their own work. Those at the top that control the investigations, they have nothing to gain by allowing investigations to go forward, and much to lose. So they let sleeping dogs lie, no matter how bad they smell.

    And the problem stems from the fact that those on top are bureaucrats first and foremost — never underestimate the power of bureaucratic inertia…

  53. Gail Combs says:
    June 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm
    As you said U Va is a major law school so the use of University funds (and therefore donor funds) to do a CYA on Mann while he is at Penn may not have sat well with someone(s) trained in the law.

    Actually the opposite appears to be the case:
    Over thirty professors from the University of Virginia Law School send a letter (pdf) to the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia “affirming the importance of academic freedom” and urging them to contest the Civil Investigative Demand (CID) “to the fullest extent possible.” The professors write that, “[t]he CID is an effective tool of intimidation because it appears not to require the Attorney General to make any factual showing of the need for its issuance.” The professors continue: “There appears to be a serious legal basis for challenging the constitutionality of the Attorney General’s CID.”

  54. charles nelson says:
    June 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm
    There are several comments above which suggest that our interest in events at small, obscure, second rate universities is; ‘irrelevant’ nay ‘screamingly myopic’!
    Could I just remind these commenters that the ‘s’cientific foundations of the Global Warming Fraud were laid at small, obscure, second rate probably because the likes of Mann and Jones would never have gotten away with it at more reputable Universities.

    As far as I’m aware UMass is not regarded as a ‘small, obscure, second rate” university so I think your argument is flawed.

  55. “Sullivan was moving too slowly on things such as online education, and some big funders decided to throw their weight around”

    You likely know the situation better than I, but if I had to speculate, (or even if there was no real need for me to speculate but I just wanted to), I’d raise three points:

    a.) This seems to be an abrupt, surprising, alarming sort of way to have handled a difference of opinion over the long-term institutional direction of a major university of national reputation;

    b). The timing of this abrupt firing coincides very closely with the coming-to-a-head of an issue of national importance – indeed, the kind of import that can topple administrations – that involves questions of academic honesty and competence, and which conceivably could drastically affect the subject’s reputation world-wide – and it does seem significant that talk about this issue began to surface prior to any noted or acknowledged discussion concerning a lack of enthusiasm for on-line learning.

    c). I have to believe that UVa’s Office of General Counsel has been involved in this from the start. When someone in Sullivan’s position is terminated for reasons such as philosophical mismatches, financial underperformance, and the like, there are set phrases that a public employer uses to convey psuedo-information to the public that minimizes the impact on the reputation of the terminated employee – not out of concern for the reputation of the terminated employee so much as out of concern that the terminated employee not be handed the grounds for a profitable lawsuit for defamation. However, in this instance, Sullivan’s professional reputation has been taking a beating since Day One (if only by dint of the extensive on-line gossip and speculation about the reasons for her firing), and UVa was incredibly slow in mitigating this damage even as they watched it occur. This tells me that none of the standard set of innocuous, meaningless announcement progressions fit this situation, and UVa was floundering for the correct posture. To me, this implies a reason for firing that lies outside of the “we’re just looking for a new direction” genre of termination.

    But I’ll admit that I’m biased. I had some involvement in reviewing the BK study back when, and came to the conclusion that the three people involved were skilled liars who produced an intentionally misleading study for the purpose of supporting their leftist-socialist philosophies. Sadly, and to our huge national cost and damage, they pulled it off at the time. So I have no inhibitions about speculating.

  56. wobble says:
    June 20, 2012 at 6:04 am
    Will UVA cooperate with this investigation? Or will it spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to block the investigation?

    Virginia state law states “The rector and visitors of the University of Virginia shall be at all times subject to the control of the General Assembly.”

  57. 06/22/12 Today’s Wall Street Journal has a brief but interesting report on the situation:

    “Ruckus at the Rotunda: Ouster of the University of Virginia President Sparks Turmoil on Campus and Debate About Financial Challenges for All Colleges ” by Valerie Bauerlein in The Wall Street Journal on June 22, 2012 at page A6

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304441404577480972353515802.html

    This quote explains what it is all about:

    “David Leblang, chairman of the politics department, was among several hundred people at a Wednesday afternoon silent vigil, held in 95-degree heat in front of the university’s iconic rotunda. Dr. Leblang said he fears that if the board could remove a president so readily, the next step could be to change the curriculum. ‘If the board is able to roll the faculty here, this will happen at public institution after public institution’.”

    And this quote highlights the real problem:

    “Even some defenders of Dr. Sullivan acknowledge that the university, like others, must build a more sustainable model, as tuition increases have saddled some students with debt, and some costly programs bring in little revenue and offer scant job preparation for students. Undergraduate tuition for state residents at Virginia for next year will be $9,622, nearly double the $4,841 of 10 years earlier.”

    The students and their parents, who are the real victims in this mess are not going to be helped by caving into the tenured (and well-to-do) faculty. I have no idea if the Board will help the students, but I am mortally certain that if the faculty wins, tuitions will continue to soar and faculty will place their pet projects far above the student’s needs. This might be a situation that calls for the use of the legendary neutron bomb.

Comments are closed.