Fired OSU instructor challenges job loss

You may recall WUWT’s coverage of Nick Drapela, a climate skeptic who was fired from his teaching job at Oregon State University. My friend and fellow climate skeptic, nationally syndicated radio host Lars Larson tips me about this story:

Chemistry instructor challenges job loss

OSU denies stand on climate change was factor

By JOCE DeWITT, Corvallis Gazette-Times

An Oregon State University chemistry instructor whose contract wasn’t renewed by OSU says he still doesn’t know the reasons why and is considering legal action.

Nick Drapela, who has taught at OSU for 10 years, says he was told in late May that he would not be invited back for the coming academic year. Drapela said he suspects OSU’s decision is because he has spoken out against the idea that humans are responsible for climate change.

OSU says there’s no connection.

Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president of university relations and marketing, said he couldn’t discuss specific details about the case, citing confidentiality laws that he said prohibit him from sharing protected employee information.

But, Clark said, OSU does not have an institution-wide policy on climate change. In addition, he said, personal beliefs and activities do not play a role in the conditions of OSU employment.

Clark said Drapela’s contract was among more than 100 such contracts across the university that were not renewed. The reasons why a contract might not be renewed vary, but might include factors such as enrollment shifts reducing the demand for teachers in certain classes.

“The university does not base its policy of hiring upon people’s individual points of view or personal activities,” Clark said. “We base it on budget, upon academic requirements, we base it on performance and their academic qualifications, not their personal point of view.”

Drapela said in an interview with the Gazette-Times that his troubles with OSU began in the 2007-08 academic year, about the same time he went public with his climate-change doubts. He said, for example, that he became the target of untrue statements made in public meetings at OSU. Drapela said he didn’t want to discuss other issues because they might jeopardize any legal case.

Full story at Corvallis Gazette-Times

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

OSU has a history of pushing out people who are climate change skeptics, State Climatologist George Taylor, also based at OSU and a prominent skeptic was pushed out of his position there due to disagreement over the climate change issue.

 

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55 Responses to Fired OSU instructor challenges job loss

  1. Richard deSousa says:

    OSU is a very liberal institution and it’s no surprise Drapela was fired.

  2. Skiphil says:

    We have seen from long experience in other contexts that “political correctness” in many universities and departments, is pervasive, dishonest, and corrupt. “Academic freedom” is only robust for people who are tenured and/or politically correct according to the current local regime (and those of course are not the people who truly need protections for “academic freedom”).

    I cannot know what all of the facts are in this case, of course, but the circumstances should make anyone highly suspicious.

    There are countless examples of professors and academic administrators behaving with ruthless political correctness and then lying about it.

  3. Scarface says:

    The battle over CAGW will eventually be fought and won by the skeptics in a court of law.
    It might take a couple of lawsuits though.

    I certainly hope that Nick Drapela will win his lawsuit. Good luck!

  4. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    Interview by Alan Jones with Nick Drapela on radio 2GB Sydney, 3 July, 2012.

  5. TG McCoy (Douglas DC) says:

    Can he be tried for Heresy? becaue that is the only argument that OSU could have.
    I wish him well…

  6. newtlove says:

    Apparently, the public cannot know who, how many people, academic or political, had which opinions, and how the vote went, to fire Drapela from the chemistry faculty. Drapela and his lawyer haven’t found a reason in his employee file. But apparently, many nameless people, perhaps even Mikey Mann and (UVA president) Teresa Sullivan know all about it, having been on the conference calls debating Drapela’s fate.

    Hyperbole aside, actions like this illustrate how standard business processes are set up to protect the back stabbers from scrutiny, while exposing the innocents to ridicule. After all, “the seriousness of the accusation warrants the special investigation” of the professor, while nobody knows what the accusation(s) were, and who made them.

    Kangaroo Court, anyone?

  7. RM3 Frisker FTN says:

    If Nick Drapela actually follows through on his legal action then the key will be the discovery process associated with all emails sent to/from decision makers and peers. His legal team should include personal email/voicemail accounts as well (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, aol, etc) due to the widespread knowledge that corporate/gov’t email/voicemail would be subject to the discovery process.

  8. polistra says:

    There’s almost always a more direct and simple reason when an instructor seems to be fired for his beliefs. It was true 50 years ago when they were fired for being Communists, and it’s true now when they’re fired for being non-Communists. Budget cuts are a much more likely proximate cause, especially in a mismanaged state like Oregon.

    The real question is: Why don’t we have alternative institutions that can hire heterodox teachers? Why don’t some of those super-rich alleged conservatives put their money on the line?

  9. jdgalt says:

    With the Supreme Court now “deferring” to the EPA on questions of science, it may only be possible for the good guys to win this fight with a new Supreme Court. If Obama wins re-election we can forget about honest science for a long time to come.

  10. _Jim says:

    Oh please; we ALL know that universities and the educational system in general provide forums, a medium and a ‘platform’ for the free and open exchange of ideas through debate on a wide range of issues and subjects mankind faces every day. The mere suggestion that there may be suppression of an idea or position in contrast with what might seem the ‘norm’ or majority position is unthinkable, should be unimaginable, and last but not least should certainly be untenable by both staff and student body.

    Or maybe not …

    And Happy Independence Day to everyone (if I have not already issued that salutation)!

    .

  11. Keith Pearson, Formerly bikermailman, Anon No Longer says:

    Funny, this exactly the sort of thing tenure was designed to prevent. Best wishes for Mr Drapela, and hope the light of day makes the cockroaches scurry!

  12. RayG says:

    IIRC, WUWT played a major role in publicizing the treatment that an immigrant family in Western OZ received from the local “greens” and their dupes/colleagues over a feed lot operation. The publicity also helped to lead a fund raising that helped sustain the family during their extended fight. This may be another case where it would be appropriate to solicit financial aid on the Drapela family’s behalf.

  13. NetDr says:

    The lysenkoistic thugs fro OSU appear to have won this argument!

    The public needs to kick them out.

  14. W.E. Heasley says:

    “Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president of university relations and marketing, said he couldn’t discuss specific details about the case, citing confidentiality laws that he said prohibit him from sharing protected employee information.”

    How many times does a statement such as the above get rattled off as a non-response response. That employee confidentiality laws make for a nice and neat way of stating a non-response response. Why respond when such an easy out is available.

    OSU is extremely greenie. My son was accepted at OSU and every e-mail, letter, brochure etc. was green, green, green. You could not help but notice. He elected another institution.

  15. plakat1 says:

    Q1: Given sufficient financial resources, does he have a winnable case?
    Q2: Does he have sufficient resources?
    Q3: Is he accepting contributions?

  16. Robin says:

    Anthony–on an earlier post I mentioned having found the NSF workshop documents pertaining to implementing the Belmont Challenge.

    It has a Prof Thomas Dietterich from OSU as a member of the NRC Committee on Computing Research for Environmental and Societal Sustainability. He is leading the “Understanding, Tracking, and Managing Uncertainty Throughout the Science-to-Policy Pipeline.”

    Again it is not about the hard sciences. These are people trying to push the idea that psychosocial prosperity is a more than adequate substitute for economic growth in a green economy.

    OSU is so immersed. As is that behavioral ed lab out there.

  17. Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer says:

    Slightly OT, but not entirely, given Mr (Dr?) Drapela’s rights appearing to be trod upon: Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans, and um….Happy Woden’s Day to all of our good brothers and cousins around the world!

  18. If the univ’s spokes person was correct and Nick Darpela is one among many, that suggests on the surface perhaps questionable connection; however, if you are downsizing anyway, this is a great excuse to banish the politically incorrect. That sort of thing has happened to me. In hindsight best thing that ever happened.

  19. geran says:

    Our colleges and universities have become bastions of corruption and perversion.
    I don’t even need to mention Penn State–Mann, Sandusky.
    I have it on very good sources that at the University of Texas, they have established a “prayer room” for muslims.
    Institutions of higher learning…..

  20. pat says:

    O/T but such good news out of New Zealand:

    4 July: TVNZ: Carbon market ‘buried in a six-foot hole’ – energy trader
    Government decisions to leave the emissions trading scheme at current settings indefinitely means the New Zealand carbon market has been “buried in a six-foot hole,” says Nigel Brunel, head of carbon and energy trading at OM Financial.
    While Carbon Match principal Lizzie Chambers says “suspended animation” is more accurate, the impact of the government’s ETS reform decisions, announced Monday, will likely keep international carbon emissions reduction units (CERs) cheaper than New Zealand-produced Units (NZUs) for the foreseeable future.
    Even with a likely drop in the price of NZUs, which are trading between $6.85 and $7.05 per tonne of emitted carbon, offsetting carbon emissions by buying offshore credits will make more sense for a major emitter than investing in NZUs.
    A price drop is expected because Monday’s announcements left some major emitters in the electricity, heavy industrial and transport sectors holding more NZUs than they need because their ETS will be unchanged, instead of rising as expected.
    Brunel said “the premium of NZUs over European carbon has been a bit fake because there’s no supply of NZU’s to push it to a discount” and major emitters were now sellers.
    ***”The carbon market is now in the lap of Europe and the control of the banks,” as the latest changes would discourage active involvement in the New Zealand carbon market by carbon-intensive industrial players and plantation foresters, at least until depressed global prices revived, Brunel said…
    http://tvnz.co.nz/business-news/carbon-market-buried-in-six-foot-hole-energy-trader-4955455

    and once this is dead, buried and extinct, OSU and the rest of the CAGW zealots will look pretty silly.

    ——————————————————————————–

  21. Werner Brozek says:

    Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president of university relations and marketing, said he couldn’t discuss specific details about the case, citing confidentiality laws that he said prohibit him from sharing protected employee information.

    We also have FOIP laws in Canada and I cannot discuss a student’s marks with his/her parents if the student is over 18 years, however the student can waive those rights and allow me to discuss things with parents. Can Nick Drapela formally waive his rights so no one gets into trouble for openly discussing the specifics?

  22. pat says:

    Drapela will eventually be vindicated:

    4 July: UK Daily Mail: Get set for a month’s rain in next two days (as four water firms insist on keeping hosepipe ban!)
    More than 2.4ins of rain expected to fall in 36 hours in much of eastern, central and northern Britain
    It is rapidly turning into the summer that never was.
    After the wettest June on record, another deluge is on the way, with at least a month’s worth of rain set to fall today and tomorrow across much of Britain.
    The Met Office last night issued a severe weather warning, predicting ‘heavy thundery downpours’ and up to four inches of rain by the weekend – more than the average for the whole of July…
    The drought declared at the start of the year now seems a distant memory…
    It has been the wettest April-to-June period on record…
    If the weeks of torrential rain were not bad enough, homeowners have a new problem to contend with – rats.
    Experts say scores of rat communities have been displaced by the recent flash floods and they are looking for shelter – in your home…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2168573/UK-weather-Almost-months-worth-rain-fall-just-day.html

    with my queensland australia winter temps higher than those for england’s summer, it does put a smile on my CAGW sceptic face!

  23. DirkH says:

    Robin says:
    July 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm
    “These are people trying to push the idea that psychosocial prosperity is a more than adequate substitute for economic growth in a green economy.”

    So instead of paying you your boss hugs you when the month is over? Hey, as long as you find takers, why not. They should start with their own employees.

  24. tango says:

    I think it is now time that all sacked climate sientists form a group to out smart the belivers world wide ? I don,t think they will get any grants good luck to you all

  25. Clark said Drapela’s contract was among more than 100 such contracts across the university that were not renewed. The reasons why a contract might not be renewed vary, but might include factors such as enrollment shifts reducing the demand for teachers in certain classes.

    “The university does not base its policy of hiring upon people’s individual points of view or personal activities,” Clark said. “We base it on budget, upon academic requirements, we base it on performance and their academic qualifications, not their personal point of view.”

    Hiring and firing not based on a person’s individual point of view. Would have been interesting to have a poll on their CAGW views before and after the “purge”.

  26. orson2 says:

    In any PC-fascist regime, dissent against protected conformity is dangerous. FIRE.org (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) ought to be contacted, even though this could be a difficult case for them with too many rocks for the enemies of free-thought to hide under. American Traditions Institute, which already has the stomach to combat AGW-fraud, is also a candidate for victims like Drapela.

  27. RM3 Frisker FTN says:

    orson2 has a decent idea with respect to contacting FIRE and ATI. In the event there is actual legal action, the discovery process could be broadened to include those 100 other individuals. Who knows what politically (in)correct remarks were made about this or that adjunct whose contract was not renewed. Perhaps there is a pattern of conduct by officers of the university against the class of individuals whose contracts were not renewed? Important that the discovery process include both official and personal email accounts. Also voice-mail.

  28. Luciano says:

    Warmists lie about climate and are evasive about open discussion thus when they’re confronted about the the reasons for the firing they again lie and evade telling the truth. They really need to be sued.

  29. Aussie Luke Warm says:

    Happy 4th of July Anthony and US readers

  30. Allan MacRae says:

    Wow – just 2 minutes to spare in my time zone!

    Happy Glorious 4th of July, my American cousins!

    Also the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812!

    Better luck next time! :-)

  31. Allan MacRae says:

    Regarding the aforementioned War of 1812 between Canada and the USA:

    The USA is by far the best neighbour Canada could ever ask for. Canada is now the largest foreign supplier of oil to the USA. We are still, I think, the largest bilateral trading partners in the world.

    We have managed to get along and prosper together for over two hundred years, apart from some unpleasantries in 1812, when we burned the White House and the Yanks burned Toronto.

    Confidentially, people from all over Canada agree that Toronto ought to be burned from time to time, so we think we got the better of that deal.

    Then the Americans thought they would have an easier time with the Quebecois, so they invaded via Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. The crafty Quebecois challenged them to a hockey game, and then dropped their gloves before the opening face-off and beat the crap out of the unsuspecting Yanks. It`s been a cherished Canadian hockey tradition ever since.

    Then there was the Oregon Crisis of 1844-45: “54-40 or Fight!“ The USA is really fortunate that it did not win that one – just imagine the impact on USA politics if you had all the lefties in British Columbia allied with all the lefties in California, Oregon and Washington – you`d have a full blown confluence of intellectual putrescence, a critical mass of Left Coast demagoguery, a catastrophic breach in the firmament, fire and brimstone coming down from the sky, dogs and cats living together… .. kind of like the Obama White House, only ‘way bigger.

  32. dumbvoter says:

    Clark says there is a bunch of reasons why contracts are not renewed, surely common decency dictates that Mr. Drapela be told which of that bunch applied to him. I have had to let a lot of people go over the years and its mostly very unpleasant especially in the case of good people, but i have never just said gutlessly to someone, “your finished but i’m not telling you why”.
    Clark is vice-president university relations and marketing. Strikes me he’s very good at either.

  33. ferdberple says:

    people from all over Canada agree that Toronto ought to be burned
    ===========
    Burning Toronto would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Couldn’t hurt, but probably wouldn’t improve its looks much.

  34. Doug UK says:

    My sons partner who did a degree at a University on the South Coast here in the UK was very much on the side of the AGW alarmists when she first attended Uni due to her schools somewhat “rabid” acceptance of Gores film. Then when the UK Courts pointed out the 9 inconvenient lies she started to ask questions and so dfindid others on her degree course. But in one subject – unless you slavishly followed the dogma – “they failed you!” – her words. The result was quite the opposite of what was intended. They produced a batch of sceptics due to their overt manipulations. She is now a true sceptic. So this decision is harsh on the individual who loses their job, but to those they teach and who see what is going on – I suspect the lesson of life is one they will not forget.

  35. davidmhoffer says:

    Allan MacRae;
    apart from some unpleasantries in 1812, when we burned the White House
    >>>>>>

    Alas, you’ve been had.
    In American history books, the White House partially burned in 1812.
    In Canadian text books, we invaded the United States and partly burned down the White House.
    In British text books, the British garrison stationed in Halifax, along with a few recruits pressed into service, marched on Washington and partly burned down the White House.

    For all I know, all three version are wrong!

  36. Pelicanman says:

    I was let go as a lecturer on translation merely because I bucked the party line in reading materials and asked students to question the sources and information they receive as news. So with so much more at stake, to the extent that one articulate professor’s views could lead to a successful challenge of university orthodoxy, it’s not hard to believe that this professor was given the boot for his stance on global climate warming disruption, or whatever the term is at the moment.

  37. Drapela said that his troubles with OSU began in the 2007-08 academic year, about the same time he went public with his climate-change doubts. He said, for example, that he became the target of untrue statements made in public meetings at OSU.

    yeeeeeeeess, it smells. 2007-8 was when Gov. Ted Kulongoski asked the president of Oregon State University to stop George Taylor from calling himself the state climatologist because of Taylor’s skeptical stance on global warming.

    And this c**p of accusations that hide the accuser while victimising the accused. I’ve been there, it’s why I took a different name online – to stand outside that particular mess of false accusations.

  38. Drapela said. “This is not something I relish doing, they’re not giving me any options… It has affected my career and reputation irreversibly. People don’t want to hire someone who has been fired and won’t say why. I don’t really have any other recourse.”

    He deserves support. And not just for his sake.

    It would be poetic justice if OSU, suppressor of Art Robinson’s important list of dissenting scientists, were to become the new rallying-point.

  39. I said

    It would be poetic justice if OSU, suppressor of Art Robinson’s important list of dissenting scientists, were to become the new rallying-point.

    and from last WUWT article on Drapela

    Because Robinson fought back, we understand that the OSU administration backed down.

  40. H.R. says:

    I appreciate the good wishes on the 4th of July from the non-U.S. ilk (humor; ref. recent post on MM tweet) that comment here. The international community that comprises WUWT is one of the reasons WUWT is so informative. It is always interesting to see how the same news item is often perceived differently depending on country or culture.

    My thanks to you all.

  41. John Slayton says:

    In California textbooks, Bush did it…

  42. Polistra says

    “It was true 50 years ago When They Were fired for being wellness communists, and now it’s true When they’re fired for being wellness non-communists.”

    The conclusion is: Better not be anything. At least not lose your job!
    Perhaps the amoebae remain forever in their work.

  43. more soylent green! says:

    So nobody really knows why Drapela was fired, but people really suspect it has to do with his dissent on climate change. How many other non-tenured professors and instructors are going to self-censor in order to keep their jobs?

    So much for the myth of academic freedom, eh?

  44. pyromancer76 says:

    I like polistra’s idea (July 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm). We need new institutions with integrity from conservation (used to be “environmental” issues, like Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, or Nature Conservancy who went marxist/AGW on us) to news media (Fox news just barely, barely makes it; where is investigative journalism rather than “the leftist mantra” with everyone writing the same party line at the exact same moment) to higher education (with the higher education bubble there will be, must be, more and more contract non-renewals or non-renewal of tenured professors. The university usually does not “fire” except for unusual reasons. Unfortunately, these institutions should start reducing their financial obesity with all the additional “administrators” and “special programs” outside of faculty perview, but many of these are related to “grants” and to “lobbying”). In my opinion, universities also should be prohibited from contributing to politics; they are some of the largest contributors to the Democratic Party.

    Someone in a non-tenured position is especially vulnerable to “curriculum changes” or “departmental reorganization” — for good reasons. The university must be able to change. The change must be planned and documented. If they did not with respect to Drapela, then a lawsuit might be just the thing. Discovery would be juicy. I hope “conservatives” (in historical terms, these are “liberals” of the classical variety interested in freedom, integrity of institutions, and the free market) would fund the suit.

  45. Darrin says:

    I grew up in Corvallis, OR and at that time OSU was considered our conservative ag/science university. Less than an hour south is U of O which was our liberal arts college that had aptly been given the nickname of Northern Berkley. Now the only difference is U of O gets tons of money from Phil Knight (Nike) for their sports programs and OSU doesn’t. Guess we should call them Twin Northern Berkley’s.

    I do like to listen to Lars Larson when I can and he mentioned not only did OSU not give a reason for letting Drapela go, they were advertising to hire more chemistry professors. So they were not planning to downsize the department for lack of interested students.

  46. Larry Geiger says:

    “Allan MacRae says: July 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm” Dude!
    Thank you Allan for the best smile of the day!

  47. D. J. Hawkins says:

    Darrin says:
    July 5, 2012 at 8:20 am
    I grew up in Corvallis, OR and at that time OSU was considered our conservative ag/science university. Less than an hour south is U of O which was our liberal arts college that had aptly been given the nickname of Northern Berkley. Now the only difference is U of O gets tons of money from Phil Knight (Nike) for their sports programs and OSU doesn’t. Guess we should call them Twin Northern Berkley’s.

    I do like to listen to Lars Larson when I can and he mentioned not only did OSU not give a reason for letting Drapela go, they were advertising to hire more chemistry professors. So they were not planning to downsize the department for lack of interested students.

    That is absolutely key! Unless the University can now come up with some solid metrics for why Drapela’s contract was not renewed, they could find themselves in the hurt locker right quick.

  48. Gail Combs says:

    lan MacRae says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Regarding the aforementioned War of 1812 between Canada and the USA:

    The USA is by far the best neighbour Canada could ever ask for…..

    Confidentially, people from all over Canada agree that Toronto ought to be burned from time to time, so we think we got the better of that deal….
    __________________________________________
    And you think we don’t want DC burned from time to time too? A dose of reality is always good for politicians and ivory tower academia.

  49. tarpon says:

    Wasn’t it Jefferson who told of the perils of trusting courts?

  50. clipe says:

    ferdberple says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    people from all over Canada agree that Toronto ought to be burned
    ===========
    Burning Toronto would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Couldn’t hurt, but probably wouldn’t improve its looks much.

    Keep your head down, like I do. City? What city?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/ravines-a-defining-aspect-of-toronto/article579001/

    A case of good government implementations, post Hazel.

    http://glendon.irisyorku.ca/a-campus-in-a-garden-with-a-forest/the-glendon-forest-and-the-don-river-ravine-system/the-origin-of-the-glendon-forest/

  51. Don B says:

    George Taylor was unpopular partly because he told the truth about snowpack in the Pacific NW. He insisted that snowfall was cyclical, while alarmists falsely claimed that global warming had reduced snowfall. Taylor has been vindicated by the heavy snowfalls with the return of the cool PDO.

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/pacific_northwest_snow_pack_the_true_story/

  52. Allan MacRae says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    July 5, 2012 at 12:10 am
    Allan MacRae;
    apart from some unpleasantries in 1812, when we burned the White House
    >>>>>>

    Alas, you’ve been had.
    In American history books, the White House partially burned in 1812.
    In Canadian text books, we invaded the United States and partly burned down the White House.
    In British text books, the British garrison stationed in Halifax, along with a few recruits pressed into service, marched on Washington and partly burned down the White House.
    For all I know, all three version are wrong!
    >>>>>>

    Dear David,
    With respect, most Canadians really don’t care about the details of burning the White House during the War of 1812 – we’re just happy that Toronto burned to the ground!
    Best, Allan

  53. Gary Pearse says:

    Hasn’t Oregon been bitterly cold the past several years? The Force must be getting pretty testy having to pull on their Mackinaws in summertime to make AGW speeches.

  54. Brian H says:

    As mentioned, a rigourous discovery process would likely turn up many more scurrying bugs under the rocks. OSU may have bitten off more than it can chew.

  55. Neil Jordan says:

    Oregon State University alumni newsletter carries this article from its “Daily Barometer”, update on Drapela dismissal at:
    http://www.dailybarometer.com/news/chemistry-off-between-osu-drapela-1.2879636?compArticle=yes#.T_y-R_W8GKA

    “There are two sides to every story, especially when the story is clouded in controversy and speculation.

    “On May 29, former Oregon State University Chemistry Professor Dr. Nicholas Drapela was informed by the chair of the chemistry department, Rich Carter, that his services were no longer needed and that he would not be brought back to teach next year.

    “While that fact is clear, little else is. The reason for the decision is a mystery, and one that may never fully come to light.”

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