The University of Washington Should Not Censor Faculty Social Media

From The Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog

This blog will describe a series of serious violations of freedom of speech and academic freedom at the University of Washington.

It will describe how a highly partisan Dean and her senior staff at UW’s College of the Environment (COENV) have suppressed diversity of viewpoints and censored the social media of faculty and staff, including this blog. I will review apparent violations both of the faculty code and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.

What I will describe should concern you, no matter where you are on the political spectrum. Progressive or Conservative, Democrat, Republican or Independent, you should care deeply about the suppression of viewpoint diversity and the restriction of freedom of speech in favor of the partisan agenda of a group of university administrators.

Their actions are a direct threat to the very nature of the University of Washington and our democracy.  And I need your help to rectify the situation.

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” Benjamin Franklin


Initiative 1631 and the Leadership of UW’s College of the Environment

A stunning example of inappropriate behavior by COENV leadership deals with Washington State Initiative 1631. This initiative, on the Washington State ballot in November 2018, was an attempt to pass a carbon fee, with the proceeds distributed by a board dominated by politically connected groups. It was highly partisan and lost decisively (by 13%).

Leadership of the College of the Environment was strongly in favor of this measure and expressed their support publicly in many ways:

(1) Dale Durran, the Chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department and a member of the College’s Executive Committee, asked the faculty to sign a letter supporting 1631, which was later published in the Seattle Times, signed by 21 faculty members. Some faculty felt pressured to sign by the Chair, who has substantial influence over salaries, sabbaticals and advancement in the department.

(2) The College Dean, Lisa Graumlich, and several associate Deans publicly supported the measure, signing widely circulated public letters citing their university affiliation, and tweeting their support (such as one by Associate Dean of Research Robert Wood).

(3) The COENV PCC program website featured Chairman Durran’s letter in support of 1631, which was potentially an illegal use of university resources to support a measure (see below).

But if you were a faculty member in the College of the Environment and you had a different viewpoint than College leadership regarding this initiative, they were prepared to make your life very difficult. And by doing so, they may have violated Federal law and university regulations.


Let me tell you a story. My story.

Although I am a strong supporter of carbon taxes and was a very public proponent of I-732, the previous carbon tax initiative, I opposed 1631 for several reasons. I felt I-1631 was highly regressive, disproportionately taxing low-income individuals and families. It lacked specific guidelines on how the money would be spent. A partisan group of organizations was hardwired to control and direct the funding, and the public goals of the proposal were highly deceptive (“clean air”). In addition, 1631’s carbon fee started out too low to be effective (half that of 732). And the highly partisan nature of 1631 would undermine bipartisan efforts on climate change, which I believe are crucial.

I agreed to be a signatory for the statement against I-1631 in the official voter’s pamphlet and did a few blog posts on the subject. These blogs were in social media completely outside of and had no connection to the University of Washington.

My stance was not popular among the college’s activist students, my department chair (Dale Durran) and the COENV Dean’s office. The pro-1631 students used social media to call me all kinds of names, as did one vocal post-doctoral researcher in oceanography. They stated that I was in bed with oil companies, was on the payroll of the Koch brothers, was racist, misogynistic, a climate denier, and other names I would not repeat in a family friendly blog (see picture below for a tame example).  It is all documented on twitter.  The Seattle Stranger called me Trump’s Weatherman and repeated the student’s accusations and pictures.

Although unpleasant, I tolerated the student name calling and the nonsense in the Stranger in the spirit of freedom of speech, diversity of ideas, and acknowledging the self-righteousness/idealistic nature often associated with youth. Tolerance for differing opinions should be in the DNA of all university faculty.

A few of the activist students went to the department chair (Dale Durran) and the Dean’s office to complain about my blogs on 1631. They particularly didn’t like my blog “If You Worry About Climate Change and Care About the Environment, Vote No on I-1631“ In that blog, I discussed the issue of politically well-connected groups securing funds at the public trough and used the century-old political metaphor of “pigs at a trough”, not in the text, but in a single picture (see below).

This metaphor is frequently used in the media and books, such as Arianna Huffington’s hard hitting book on political corruption in America, which described the greed of the politically connected (see below).
The activist students claimed that such a metaphor was racist because some members of the 1631 consortium were from minority groups. They ignored the fact that the 1631 coalition was overwhelmingly white and well-to-do. The fact I was expressing political opinions outside the UW did not seem important to them, nor did they care about the concept of freedom of speech. They wanted the department and college administration to do something about me and my blog.

Will the College of Environment Deans Accuse Arianna Huffington of Racism? Or Australian Adam Schwab?

And shamefully and potentially illegally, the Atmospheric Sciences chair and COENV Deans, ignoring First Amendment protections and the essential principles of an academic institution, did exactly what the students wanted.

Between the end of October and early November 2018, Department Chairman Dale Durran, COENV Associate Dean of Research Robert Wood, COENV Associate Dean of Administration Stephanie Harrington, and COENV Assistant Dean of Diversity Terryl Ross wrote a letter attacking my blog that was formally approved by Dean Lisa Graumlich.  (all of this is documented in their internal emails).

Their letter, “Message on Departmental Civility”, was sent to MY ENTIRE DEPARTMENT (including staff, faculty, and students—over 120 people) on November 22, stating that my blog “included imagery and text that was racially insensitive and caused offense.” The letter accused me of racism through the statement “Racism is in direct contradiction to our shared values and has no place in our college” as well as suggesting that I harmed the community through my blog.

This letter was not only inappropriate and arguably unethical but a violation of University of Washington faculty code, including the protection of academic freedom.
UW administrators were sanctioning and shaming a faculty member inside the university for expressing political free speech outside of the UW: also an apparent violation of constitutionally protected freedom of speech at a public university. Importantly, freedom of speech is protected BOTH inside and outside a public university by the U.S. and Washington State constitutions.

The actions of the COENV Deans appeared to be a direct violation of UW Faculty code 24.33:

Faculty members have the right to academic freedom and the right to examine and communicate ideas by any lawful means even should such activities generate hostility or pressure against the faculty member or the University. Their exercise of constitutionally protected freedom of association, assembly, and expression, including participation in political activities, does not constitute a violation of duties to the University, to their profession, or to students and may not result in disciplinary action or adverse merit evaluation.

Furthermore, COENV leadership apparently violated several other sections of the faculty code, which required the atmospheric sciences chair to meet with me before making any accusation (Faculty code section 25.71 B), that I be notified of any charges before taking disciplinary steps, and by the Dean’s refusal to meet me in person when I requested it.

But the situation was about to get far more serious.
After the letter was released, I protested that it was both illegal and unfair, which led Atmospheric Sciences Chair (and publicly declared 1631 proponent) Dale Durran, with the knowledge of the Dean’s office, to call a DEPARTMENT WIDE meeting on December 5 to discuss my blog.
Everyone in the department was invited and refreshments were offered (including chicken wings). With the promise of both controversy and catered food, there was a large crowd—including students, staff, and faculty. Department Chair Durran dictated that no outsiders could come to document the gathering. It was a gathering that ended up more like a spectacle at the Roman Coliseum than an academic proceeding at a leading research university.

UW 2018?

The University Ombud, Chuck Sloan, was supposedly going to run the meeting. He did not. The meeting began with Chuck Sloan saying a few words, but rapidly it was taken over by Atmospheric Sciences Chair Dale Durran. And the gathering turned dark quickly.

Durran called on the activist students, who made a range of comments critical of my blog. As I tried to talk about the concept of freedom of speech, Dale Durran started screaming at me, telling me to stop. When I protested I wasn’t finished speaking, he screamed even louder. This went on for a while, with both of us talking at the same time, before the Ombud Sloan said I should be allowed continue.

But a minute later Dale Durran started screaming at me again to stop, preventing me from finishing. Then he called upon several more “offended” students and one staff member, who went on the attack, accusing me of racism and worst. One of the students stated that I would be “held accountable” for my blog and opposing 1631. It was a direct threat. And no one said a word about it.

Afterward, several faculty who had attended the gathering told me they were afraid to speak in my defense. One, a full professor and past chair, told me that what had happened was very wrong but he was scared to talk.

Another faculty member, who was originally from China and lived through the Cultural Revolution told me it was exactly like the shaming sessions of Maoist China, with young Red Guards criticizing and shaming elders they wanted to embarrass and remove.

One of my graduate students was in tears.

UW 2018?

To have such a scene occur at a public university was a violation of both faculty code and the basic principles of the university. But Department chair Dale Durran and the COENV Dean’s office saw nothing wrong with it.

Some local and national media, and nation-wide blogs, found out about the situation from others and described what happened.

Considering the grievous nature of what occurred, I went to the Secretary of the Faculty for guidance. He acknowledged what had happened was very serious and arranged for mediation. The faculty secretary also noted that the UW lacked a policy to deal with the issue of social media and faculty freedom of speech.

Over the past 6 months, a number of media outlets have contacted me regarding doing major stories on what occurred. I have put them off, feeling that the situation was so serious for the UW that it would be better to resolve the situation quietly and internally. I expected that UW leadership (President and Provost), once aware of the situation, would quickly take steps to ensure that such serious violations of academic freedom and first amendment protections did not happen again.

The COENV Dean’s office and Dean Graumlich have refused to acknowledge the inappropriateness and illegality of the letter and shaming meeting, and so far neither the UW President nor Provost have acted to address the situation.

The mediation ended a few weeks ago; that is why I am writing this blog now.


Stephanie Harrington, the Associate Dean of Administration for the COENV, told me that is was appropriate for them to send me the racism-accusation letter and hold the shaming meeting. She explained that since my blog (the CLIFF MASS WEATHER AND CLIMATE BLOG) had no visible disclaimer that it was not speaking for the UW, some people might confuse my blog for an official UW statement. Furthermore, she noted that my blog had an invisible metatag in the html code that indicated I was a UW professor. Therefore, the College had the right to send me a letter calling me a racist. This makes no sense.

The claims of Dean Harrington, a staff member of the College, were baseless and apparent attempts to avoid responsibility for serious violations. Freedom of speech does not require a disclaimer in one’s outside social media. Nor does UW faculty code. So there was no legal basis for her claim. And I should note that after writing over a thousand blogs and received tens of thousands of comments, NO ONE has ever suggested that I am speaking for the UW. My name is on the blog, not the UW.

But now we get to the hypocrisy part. Members of the UW Dean’s office are making partisan and political comments all the time in the media and social media WITHOUT any disclaimers. So Dean Harrington’s “rules” don’t seem to apply to them.

Take Dean Lisa Graumlich. She attended the January 2019 State of the Union speech as a climate scientist protestor as guest of Congresswoman Jayapal (D. WA). Dean Graumlich was quoted widely in the media as the UW COENV Dean, with no attempt to clarify that she was not speaking for the UW when she provided politically laden comments. And her political activities were spotlighted in the College’s official newsletter.

Associate Dean Rob Wood, one of the main authors of the shaming letter, was busy tweeting his support of 1631—done without a disclaimer (see below).

I could give you more examples, but clearly the actions of College leadership do not suggest concurrence with Stephanie Harrington’s novel theory on why the Dean’s office can invade academic freedom.

And talking about partisan activities within the College, in the weeks after Trump’s victory, the chair of my department held a departmental meeting to discuss student fears of the impacts of the new President. This was totally inappropriate in a public university.
Can you imagine an official university gathering on campus to talk about the negative implications of Barack Obama’s election? It would have been correctly deemed racist, inappropriate, and offensive. But apparently such activities are perfectly fine when a Republican wins. This meeting sent a clear message regarding the “approved” politics in my department.   Some moderate and conservative students told me how uncomfortable they were. They felt excluded and minimized, and afraid to discuss their different viewpoints.

The bottom line is that a highly partisan group leading the College of the Environment are willing to dispense with basic academic freedom and constitutionally guaranteed rights to suppress views they don’t like.

Although the 1631 example above shows an apparent breach of values and faculty code in the UW College of the Environment, perhaps even worse has been the suppression of science that does not support the partisan agenda of COENV and departmental leadership. Let me provide two examples.

Oyster deaths and ocean acidification

In September 2013, the Seattle Times ran a glossy series called “Sea Change”, which claimed that ocean acidification caused the deaths of untold numbers of local oysters in factory nurseries. There were serious technical problems with the article, including the fact that the oyster deaths were of a non-native species in industrial nurseries and that the problem was not really the small amount of acidification by increasing CO2, but rather the mistaken ingestion of less basic upwelled water (as noted by many sources, including leading NOAA scientists). Furthermore, several of the oyster farms were spraying herbicides and pesticides over state waters and greatly disturbing fragile coastal areas (issues that came out in 2015 in story by the Seattle Times Danny Westneat).

Anyway, I did several blogs about the subject because I felt that the public should know that there were important errors in the Seattle Times article.
A week or two after my second blog on the topic I got a call from my chair. Dean Lisa Graumlich was “concerned” about my blog and wanted the department chair to talk to me about it. It was also pointed out that the College was receiving a large amount of State funds for a UW acidification center and that the Governor had been hailing the dying oysters as evidence of the grave impact of increasing CO2. In short, a false narrative was supporting the Governor’s claims and providing millions of dollars to the college. The clear message: I should lay off.

So I was being called on to the carpet by the UW Dean for material in my non-UW blog.

Northwest Snowpack

The history of politicized suppression of science goes back to the roots of my college. Back in 2005-2006, a few local politicians (such as then Mayor Greg Nickels) and some UW climate impacts folks were claiming that the Cascade snowpack was rapidly disappearing (50% loss!) and the anthropogenic global warming was the cause. A UW researcher and previous Washington State Climatologist Mark Albright analyzed the snowpack information and found little decline, and he mentioned this fact on a few local electronic mailing lists.

The State Climatologist at that time (Phil Mote) and member of the Climate Impacts Group (now a part of the College) was an author of a paper claiming draconian snowpack loss and warned Mark Albright to refrain from communicating his analysis to others. When Mark rightfully refused, Mote fired Mark Albright as Associate Climatologist. This action hit the media, went viral, reaching local newspapers and even got covered by CNN. A very serious breach of the academic freedom.

When I objected to Mr. Albright’s firing and the exaggeration of the snowpack loss, I was told that although I might be scientifically correct, I would be helping “climate deniers” if I gave the correct information. I needed to stand with those pushing excessive numbers, to get people to do the “right thing.” Even for the wrong reason. According to some of my colleagues, the ends justify unethical and untruthful means. I just couldn’t go there.

During the past ten years, there has been calls by some faculty and even a COENV administrator to have Mr. Albright “retired” or to have his ability to communicate on electronic email lists restrained. Some called him all kinds of unfortunate names (“denier”, skeptic, etc.).
I should note that he, I and Dr. Mark Stoelinga wrote a paper describing only modest loss in Northwest snowpack, a paper that was accepted in a leading peer-reviewed journal. The snowpack loss today? Check the figure showing the Northwest snowpack since the early 1980s; nearly unchanged. Mark Albright was right.

The COENV Dean’s Office Returns to Restraining Free Speech

Recently, UW Research Scientist Mark Albright has been actively contributing to a department email listserv on climate (this is an email distribution list for those interested in the topic). One student recipient was so unhappy about his comments she threatened to quit the list (she was one the prime complainers about my 1631 blog).

A few days later, the Dean’s office contacted my department chair with “concerns” about department’s climate listserv, saying that Mr. Albright’s comments were an inappropriate use of state resources. With pressure from the Dean’s office, the chair suspended the climate listserv. Just chilling.

This week, I got an email from COENV Associate Dean Harrington, telling me that Mark Albright’s contribution to the email listserv was a violation of state ethics laws, and that I should deal with it as his supervisor. Why a violation? Because he criticized the climate viewpoint of a candidate for the Democratic nomination. I pointed out that Dean Harrington was misinterpreting the relevant state law, that Mark’s comments were perfectly legal, and what she was doing was a potential violation of freedom of speech. Dean Harrington has yet to respond to me.

The Return of the McCarthy Era at the University of Washington?

One of the most shameful incidents in the distinguished history of the UW was the red scare of the 1950s, when several UW faculty were fired or shamed because they were accused of having communist sympathies. Some saved themselves by signing a loyalty oath. Today, UW College of the Environment leadership appears to be following the 1950s playbook, attempting to shame and sanction folks with different viewpoints, particularly on highly political issues. Instead of a loyalty oath, there is my department chair’s letter in support of 1631. Many folks are terribly disturbed by President’s Trump’s plans to “build a wall” but they are happy to build intellectual or procedural walls to keep out viewpoints they disagree with.  Tyranny can come from either the right or left.  Both are bad.

How you can help

Academic freedom and freedom of speech are acutely threatened at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment by the actions of the Dean and other college leadership.

As only one faculty member, I simply don’t have the clout to fix this alone. Furthermore, my ability to tell you honestly about what I believe regarding climate and other topics in my blog is threatened.

Now I need your help. The only individuals with the real power to fix this situation are the UW President, Provost, and members of the Board of Regents. Let them know that you value academic freedom and constitutionally protected freedom of speech (contact information at the end of this blog). Tell the UW administration you expect the COENV leadership to follow university rules and to protect diversity of viewpoints. If you use social media, let you friends know about the problem and ask them to assist.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards are responsible for what happens now. Are they going to deal with serious violations by the leadership of the COENV? Will they protect a diversity of viewpoints at the UW? Or will a highly partisan college leadership group be allowed to continue on their current path?

At the very least, Dean Graumlich should apologize for authorizing the inappropriate letter, acknowledge that it was done in violation of faculty code and constitutional protections, and affirm that such a situation will never happen again. Similarly with ex-chair Dale Durran, Associate Deans Wood and Harrington, and Assistant Dean Ross. President Cauce and Provost Richard must establish a policy that robustly defends faculty and staff freedom of speech.

I do find reason for optimism in the words of UW President Ana Mari Cauce, given in her message of October 17, 2017:

Speech by people we strenuously disagree with …. is the price we pay for democracy and to ensure our own freedom of speech. … If a self-appointed group is able to use intimidation or violence to decide what speech is acceptable — no matter if they are well-intentioned or even if we share their opinions — then we’ve taken a step toward a society where “might makes right.”

There is great wisdom in President Cauce’s words.  Will she take the steps needed to support them? I truly hope so.

Contact information:

[snip.  I have removed the contact info from this repost so we are not accused of any mob behavior.  If you wish to write a respectful letter in order to assist Dr. Mass, go to his blog and find the pertinent info ~ctm]


Brief BioSketch

I am a full professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. I specialize in weather systems, weather prediction, and regional climate research and have published over 100 papers in the peer-reviewed literature. During the past year I have been chair of the College of the Environment College Council, the only democratically elected representative body of the College. I am the author of the book, the Weather of the Pacific Northwest, and was a student of climatologist Stephen Schneider and Astronomer Carl Sagan. I have a B.S. in physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

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Dave Yaussy
October 2, 2019 6:30 am

Scary to think that this is happening at institutions of learning that are supposed to celebrate freedom of expression and encourage fearless inquiry into the truth.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 2, 2019 6:41 am

Scary yes but entirely expected from the type of people who knowingly go along with the climate change fraud. Thereis a simple reason for that which is that its not about climate change and and real threat to the planet, its about power. Power for the activists who are at the front line of the bullying and propagating the fraud. The Nazis, Communists and endless groups of religious zealots have all gone down the same path over the centuries.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 2, 2019 6:56 am

Scarier to think that it’s very likely nobody is surprised that it could happen at any randomly chosen Western university. How many articles have been written about the massively skewed R:D ratio? The places are simply no longer fit for purpose. I just can’t figure out how to stop my tax dollars from funding them.

Reply to  Spetzer86
October 2, 2019 7:14 pm

Revoke their accreditation.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 2, 2019 10:02 am

Sounds just like Peter Ridd at James Cook minus the Greenshirts gathering.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 2, 2019 11:41 am

The obvious solution here is to sue them all.

Identify a public policy legal institution that supports freedom of speech regardless of how “popular” the opposing opinion.

The two most obvious sources of such support are the ACLU and the Pacific Legal Foundation. I strongly recommend that the author and victim here contact both of these institutions. They live to fight political correctness and suppression of freedom of speech. They are both very effective.

Reply to  Duane
October 2, 2019 2:31 pm

Just so wrong but becoming just so prevalent. Peter Ridd, the Michael Mann demand, now this!!
Why is it that the resident protagonists here, Mosh, Stokes, Griff and alike, never condone the actions of theses anti free speech charletons. Surely they must have some scruples.

Reply to  aussiecol
October 2, 2019 8:03 pm

The faithful believe in whatever it takes, the funny bit comes when the public turn on them.

Reply to  Duane
October 2, 2019 6:37 pm

Lived on the Kitsap Peninsula for 10 years. None of this surprises me. It’s a one party state. May have missed a follow up but have you obtained a lawyer. The Pacific Legal Foundation May help. Based on your tale you must take them to court. They will not like that.

Stay strong and keep fighting. It’s important to all of us.

Reply to  Duane
October 3, 2019 3:19 pm

“… sue them all.” I absolutely agree. If they broke the law or if they libeled or slandered you then get a lawyer and sue.

However, I certainly have mixed emotions regarding your plight. You say that you voted no on 1631 because it wasn’t stringent enough and because it wasn’t well enough aligned with your views on social justice. To me, your refusal to investigate and understand the science underlying the bogus CAGW alarmism is disgraceful and stupid.

To me, there is little difference between you and the people you complain about and the Shia and Sunni moslems. They hate each other and are willing to kill each other over “issues” that I think of as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

And, you want me to help you?! I’m happy letting you both fight it out. A pox on both your nearly identical houses!

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 6, 2019 4:14 am

“It’s now against the law in New York City to threaten someone with a call to immigration authorities or refer to them as an “illegal alien” when motivated by hate.”

Wouldn’t be surprised one day if we see the above apply to climate change skeptics.

D. Patterson
October 2, 2019 6:55 am

Cliff, please see:

18 U.S. Code § 241. Conspiracy against rights

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured-

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;….

Hot under the collar
Reply to  D. Patterson
October 2, 2019 9:19 am

D. Patterson, wonder if Michael Mann proposing academics are only hired and promoted based on how much they support of the climate change religion would come under this code?

Reply to  Hot under the collar
October 2, 2019 8:05 pm

Yeah that was a genuinely scary call and the fact not a single academic stood up and said that is wrong shows you the pressure.

October 2, 2019 6:56 am

I genuinely am sorry for your plight. You now know the face of intolerant left. You are being eaten by your own.

For years folks have been saying that this global warming issue had nothing to do with climate, but was about control of the population. You are going to be controlled or else.

I admit to being ambivalent about doing anything to assist you since you admit you would willing make me poorer and controlled with a carbon tax.

CO2 does not cause the climate to warm and none of what you would do or your tormentors would do is necessary.

Reply to  mkelly
October 2, 2019 8:17 am

Yes. It is a bad thing, what is happening, and it should not happen – but I have no sympathy for Dr. Mass.

An updated ancient saying: “If you run with the Marxists, you have to expect knives in your back if you deviate from their path.”

Reply to  Writing Observer
October 2, 2019 4:17 pm

Dr. Mass may actually have realized he is a Republican after all. At least, a Libertarian. Be understanding and patient. Remember, Ronald Regan started as a Democrat. It took a while to see through the lies and cement an understanding of the truth of things.

Reply to  Mark
October 4, 2019 6:22 am

Mark, “Libertarian?” You may want to learn about titles you use, rather than be clueless and misuse the terms.

michael hart
Reply to  Writing Observer
October 2, 2019 6:20 pm

As an embarrassed UW alumnus, I’ll admit to being in two minds about writing to the higher-ups at UW. Should this just be treated as another department that has gone off the rails, and not a serious stain on the reputation of the whole University?

Back around the turn of the century I recall regularly walking past a highly visible banner put up on the walkway between the Atmospheric Sciences building and Bagley Hall (Chemistry Department) proclaiming “The Coast is Toast”. It took me a while to figure out that it was probably some pseudo-political statement about sea levels. Where was Cliff Mass then? Has he been advocating (or just tolerating) undue politicization of an academic department all these years and now finds out where it has led him? I’m concerned but genuinely unsure about the best course of action.

J Mac
Reply to  michael hart
October 2, 2019 10:00 pm

I am plagued with the same ambivalence. I am an advocate of transparency and full disclosure in all things science related. This is what leads to reproducible and reliable scientific progress, as well as reliable engineering of all things requiring high human safety factors. I am also an advocate of 1st Amendment rights, outside of the work place. In addition, I’m not convinced that mankind has any influence on worldwide climate that rises above the noise level of normal variability in natural climate change. So how to respond to this plea for assistance, from one that is a proponent of man made global warming that has been accosted by the global warming fanatics that find his stolid support insufficiently radical and alarming?

After much reflection, I will send an email to the University of Washington excoriating them for their fascist suppression of Dr. Mass’ minor differences in view points from the alarmist diktats of the rigidly intolerant COENV (COVEN?) cabal. A faithful soldier of climate change alarmism is being excommunicated and condemned to the Green Gulag for a minor diversity of personal opinion. Applying this rigid fidelity code to the climate change cadres is just wrong, at every level of human examination.

The University of Washington’s COENV inability to embrace the least deviation from their climate change catechism does not surprise me, in the least. Fascism remains the same, only the facade changes.

Reply to  J Mac
October 3, 2019 12:33 am

By supporting the professor you need not advocate for his ideas, but for his ability to share what he believes. Something that is far more important than scoring any partisan points.

Reply to  mkelly
October 2, 2019 9:00 am

I wholeheartedly agree.
A Carbon tax is a direct attack on the poor in our society. It denies them the right to have the full access to energy that a technologically advanced country can provide. It is an abomination.
Worse still, is the attempt to deny poorer countries their right to develop by using cheap sources of energy which results in perpetual poverty.
I despise the hubris and ubermensch mentality of those who ‘believe humanity can control natural processes which no one fully understands and take great delight in ridiculing them at every opportunity.
I do not suffer fools gladly.

Reply to  mkelly
October 2, 2019 11:30 am

So you support someone’s right to express an opinion under the First Amendment only when you agree with that opinion. Sounds just like the mob that shouted down Cliff Mass. Apparently you missed the point.

Reply to  stinkerp
October 2, 2019 1:13 pm

No you failed to read. Only his tormentors said not to speak, write, or think what he wanted. I disagree with him about his tax idea and whether CO2 effects climate.

I just lack sympathy for him and will offer no assistance because what he wants is a minor version of what his tormentors want. I lose either way.

Learn to read and comprehend.

Reply to  mkelly
October 2, 2019 2:16 pm

mkelly – I think that stinkerp has a valid point. Freedom of speech is about everyone being free to express their opinions, including those with whom we disagree, as in: “I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It”.

So I would ask you to make your view on freedom of speech clear to COENV, as well as making your view on a carbon tax clear to Cliff Mass.

Reply to  stinkerp
October 2, 2019 4:32 pm

I read the comment twice, and I can’t find the implications in it that have so incensed you.

Being unwilling to help is not the same thing as demanding that someone be shut down.

The guy admits that he wants carbon taxes, and he wants them to be even larger and more damaging. The only reason he opposed this measure was because he didn’t approve of the gang that would be distributing the funds. (Probably thought that not enough of it would be coming his way.)

The enemy of my enemy is not always my ally.

Garland Lowe
October 2, 2019 7:03 am

The liberals have been working for years to take over education. Unfortunately they have mostly succeeded.

Reply to  Garland Lowe
October 2, 2019 1:19 pm

Suggest the complaint propose in his blog, to ban parking at the said university. At least for his department.

How can the dean object?

October 2, 2019 7:04 am

Punishing those who are insufficiently pure has always been part of the left wing DNA.

October 2, 2019 7:09 am

Look’s like it will take a while for Peter Ridd to raise the extra $1.5M AUD he needs against JCU. He has $400K so far. I’ll likely donate more. OZ dollars are cheap!

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 2, 2019 10:52 am

I suspect many, like me, are waiting to see if the court orders an appeal. At the moment JCU have only asked the court for such an order; it is by no means automatic.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 2, 2019 6:52 pm

Ric that can’t be true. When I visited the site on the first day posted here it was already at 590k.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
October 2, 2019 8:06 pm

It includes the original $250K or whatever it was so subtract that from the total it is covered in the preamble.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
October 3, 2019 5:33 am

Yeah, it’s confusing. Might have been better to start a new campaign, but it’s also nice to have the whole financial history in one place.

From his 22 September 2019 update when he report the need for $1.5M AUD:

Note: because the public already donated $260K to this fund for the original court case, the target is set to $1.760M ($260K plus $1.5M). Note this does not include the funds that Cheryl and I have contributed so far (about $200K). Any funds that might be left over will be donated for Science Quality Assurance purposes or to promote academic freedom.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 2, 2019 10:52 pm

Now over $650,000 including my modest contribution.

J Mac
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 2, 2019 10:55 pm

Agree. I’m in for a second round contribution.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 3, 2019 5:28 am

Update from Peter Ridd on the GoFundMe page:

Today by Peter Ridd, Organiser

Dear All, In addition to the cash seen on the gofundme page we have also received just over $105500 in direct transfers, cheques and other commitments so we have cracked the $500K figure. Things have slowed down for the moment, but it is a phenomenal effort considering there has not been much media interest. We have some plans for the next few weeks.

We had some good news that the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has applied to the court to be represented at the appeal and will argue, like us, that Judge Vasta’s decision is correct. The NTEU, of which I was a member for about 25 years, has an obvious interest in academic freedom and if they are accepted by the court, it will do our chances no harm at all. We expect JCU to oppose. It says something about JCU that we have got support from the IPA and the union, which are often philosophically at opposite ends of a debate.

The funds requested in this gofundme campaign is to get us all the way to the High Court, although the first step of the appeal will be heard in the Federal Court. We have little faith that JCU will accept the Federal Court ruling if/when they lose. And we have no great hopes that either the state of federal government will take any action to stop this waste of money. The dates for the federal court appeal hearing have still not been set, but could just possibly be as early as November – and if not, February is another possibility. We should find out in the next week or so.

We are still a bit short of what we will need for the Federal Court component, about $750K, but we are in striking distance.

Many thanks again to all of you.

October 2, 2019 7:13 am

Everyone who accuses Cliff of racism because of that pigs-at-trough picture needs to be ridiculed badly for being so ignorant about it’s common cultural meaning. I watched it happen and it was nothing more than an attempt to destroy Cliff’s career via malevolent identity politics. The harridan who started it on twitter goes out of her way to persecute Cliff, and then bitterly accuses him of persecuting and bullying her when he fights back. UW is lucky to have a person of Cliff’s academic integrity and caliber.

Curious George
Reply to  icisil
October 2, 2019 8:13 am

Not much longer, I am afraid. Unless there is a justice other than a “social justice” left.

Do you know the difference between a justice and a social justice? The same as a difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.

October 2, 2019 7:15 am

Although I am a strong supporter of carbon taxes and was a very public proponent of I-732, the previous carbon tax initiative…

Climate change is 100% natural, so a carbon tax can’t ever change the climate, therefore it’s a patently pathetic lunatic fringe idea that should never be enacted.

Reply to  Bob Weber
October 2, 2019 5:39 pm


And Cliff, if you are paying attention, what they are doing in their attempt to control you is roughly analogous to to what you are in favor of doing to the rest of us.

The harridan that is most vocally against you may well think pigs at a trough is a racist thing (since she equates pigs at a trough with minorities she probably believes that you do as well), but her underlying goal is to control you. The fact that you advocate for control over others through taxation and force, in order to accomplish your (perceived) altruistic own goals, shows how closely related you are to your accusers.

Control through silencing of speech, or control through force & taxation? Both are shitty things to do. They are assholes for doing what They are doing….

Joel O’Bryan
October 2, 2019 7:17 am

Climate change is about money and power. Climate need not apply.
This very similar to the treatment Dr Jordan Peterson faced when he openly opposed speech codes for universities in Canada. And also Dr Peter Ridd at JCU speaking out about bad GBR science to push a false narrative.
All in all, one more reason re-elect Donald Trump and help the climate maoists go further into a meltdown derangement and expose their real agenda of oppression of counterviews.

Bruce Cobb
October 2, 2019 7:23 am

Shocking as this story is, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. Warmunists always treat those whom they deem as heretics of the Climatist Faith the worst. If nothing else, I would think it would lead to a re-examination of where you stand regarding CO2 and climate. It appears as if you are a product of some rather extensive brainwashing on the matter.

October 2, 2019 7:32 am

The reason I post anonymously is that I fear SJWs (social justice warriors).

It’s very important that people are able to publicly say unpopular things. Thus, anonymous pamphleteering is protected in law. link

Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority …

A few people are able to withstand the SJW onslaught. Jordan Peterson, Lindsay Shepherd, Peter Ridd, and Cliff Mass come to mind. Lots of people have been driven from their positions. Judith Curry comes immediately to mind, and then there’s Evergreen College.

I am a coward, I have the spirit of a wizard and the body of a long distance sprinter.

Pat Michaels
Reply to  commieBob
October 2, 2019 12:14 pm

Same thing happened to me.

Reply to  commieBob
October 2, 2019 4:34 pm

The tyranny of the minority can be just as bad. Especially when the majority decides to look the other way.

Reply to  commieBob
October 2, 2019 8:08 pm

Not alone and why I also post anonymously.

steve case
October 2, 2019 7:42 am

WUWT has posted quite a few depressing articles recently.

The climate war is only part of the larger picture where one side plays by the rules and the other doesn’t. Wars aren’t won by playing by the rules made by the other side.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  steve case
October 2, 2019 8:31 am

Which is why Trump so honestly shocked the Left when he refused to play by their rules. And now why they want to remove him as President because in their entire field of candidates, not one can beat Trump in 2020.

steve case
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 2, 2019 9:45 am

Joel O’Bryan October 2, 2019 at 8:31 am

Democrats are in a bidding war to see who can claim they will pledge the United States to be carbon free by the earliest date. It’s pretty much group insanity.

Reply to  steve case
October 2, 2019 10:42 am

While it appears that they have jumped the ass, with trillions of dollars annually in redistributive change, they are, in fact, quite sane, cold, and calculating.

That said, diversity or color (i.e. low information attribute) judgment, in the conventional, or post-normal sense, includes color (racism), sex (sexism), etc., as a sociopolitical construct to exploit for political, social, and economic leverage.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 3, 2019 5:53 am

and bernie sanders just had a heart problem and is sidelined
so the democrats will be in utter panic mode id guess

alastair gray
October 2, 2019 8:00 am

If it is an insult to call someone a pig then syrely it can be no greater an insult to apply it to a Muslim or a Jew thean Hindu, Pagan, Christian or Pastafarian. Notthat Mass did he smplyused a picyure ofpiggish behaviouso if the hat fiots ….
This pretended outrage and so called racism is ridiculous. It reminds me of an incident in England a few years back. Some loony left wing city hall decided to remove the three little piggies from childrens books as it was demeaning to Muslims and ( althjough not said), presumably also to Jews
A local Imam was consulted about this by a newspaper
“The issue is frankly ridiculous” he said, “Of coures Islam decrees that a pig is unclean from the point of view of consumption. However it is one of Allah’s creatures and if you care to use it as a parable for the moral; guidance of chidren then that does not offend against Islamic law”.
Good for the imam and would that more religious and university and poliical leaders coud take a leaf out of his book

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  alastair gray
October 3, 2019 10:10 am

Your phone’s spellcheck is horrific.

Curious George
October 2, 2019 8:02 am

“Although I might be scientifically correct, I would be helping “climate deniers” if I gave the correct information.” Lying becomes a way of life. Soon, you will be afraid of producing the correct information.

Many years ago, in a Communist country, I opened a morning newspaper and read what new nonsense the Party produced. Suddenly, I realized that I I instinctively labeled it “nonsense” without even considering how to do it right. I was afraid to think outside of the Party line! Next summer, I left with a backpack to start a new life of my own.

October 2, 2019 8:06 am

“Although I am a strong supporter of carbon taxes…” Stopped reading.

Reply to  Aeronomer
October 2, 2019 11:38 am

Understandable if you have an inflexible brain that can only handle bumper sticker politics. Nuance is lost on you; things like defending someone’s First Amendment rights.

Reply to  stinkerp
October 2, 2019 12:08 pm

Or, perhaps, NOT fund someone diametrically opposed to you merely because their side is eating their own. It’s the same as the pro-2A people moronically still going to Hollyweird movies- actively funding gun control.

I doubt *your* inflexible brain can grasp that nuance.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Dergy
October 2, 2019 2:21 pm

I’ve often wondered how, since Hollywood is in California, just how they can have so many full auto real military assault weapons in their prop rooms. Sometimes with drum magazines.
Hollywood can have them but the law abiding citizens of CA can’t have semi-auto versions?
“What’s up with that”?

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 2, 2019 4:42 pm

They get an exemption.

Reply to  stinkerp
October 2, 2019 4:41 pm

Speaking of inflexible brains stinkerp, yours could use some limbering.
Out here in the real world most people are busy. We can’t help everyone. Picking and choosing who is most deserving of help is basic human nature.

Richard S Courtney
Reply to  Aeronomer
October 2, 2019 11:59 am


If you only oppose injustice against your friends then you fail to champion justice.

I am a staunch AGW skeptic but I oppose any who try to remove the right and ability of Cliff Mass (or anybody else) to disagree with me (or to agree with me).

I think you would benefit from reading the very recent WUWT article about noble cause corruption.


Mark Broderick
October 2, 2019 8:07 am

Social Media Censor ?

“Vile Greta Thunberg post leads to Italian youth soccer coach’s dismissal”

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mark Broderick
October 2, 2019 1:56 pm

His post was vile and completely unwarranted. He deserved to be sacked IMO.

Mark Broderick
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 2, 2019 2:19 pm

Yes, I agree.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mark Broderick
October 3, 2019 10:12 am

Off-topic, again. Mods?

Joe Crawford
October 2, 2019 8:10 am

“…it was exactly like the shaming sessions of Maoist China, with young Red Guards criticizing and shaming elders they wanted to embarrass and remove.”

When kids are no long taught critical thinking nor unbiased history and are no longer held responsible for their own actions they become easily indoctrinated. The theories of the left have great emotional appeal to those that want to ‘save the world.’ It’s just a shame those theories are based on an unfounded belief in ‘the ultimate goodness of mankind’ an will only work if that were true. We, at least here in the U.S., are in the process of raising our own Red Guards and are beginning to suffer the consequences thereof.

October 2, 2019 8:11 am

Maybe I didn’t read closely enough, but how is a reference to pigs racist? — I don’t get it.

What about a picture of school of piranha eating a pig?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
October 2, 2019 11:03 am

The “Pigs” reference was just a way to introduce the racist claim. It doesn’t matter that there is no relationship between racism and pigs. Cliff Mass didn’t call any minority a pig, his accuser just falsely implies he did, as a means of calling him a racist

Calling someone a racist is one of the first things radical Leftists do to shut the opposition up. They call Republicans racists all the time for just this purpose. This time they are calling Cliff Mass a racist because they don’t like what he is saying and want him to shut up.

The racism charge is standard operating procedure for the Left. It’s one of the tools in their toolbox. They use it often.

Cliff Mass ought to sue the University of Washington for violating his constitutional rights. Put a little fear in his tormentors hearts for once.

Washington University should lose any federal funding it is recieving over this attack on the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
October 2, 2019 2:31 pm

I guess in the same way that one of “The Squad” told the Chief of Police of Detroit, who happens to be black, that having a white person working with their “face recognition” software was racist. (Guess she doesn’t own a mirror.)
Can’t make this stuff up.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Gunga Din
October 2, 2019 3:20 pm

My dad had a saying for that… “Just consider the source!”

Andy Pattullo
October 2, 2019 8:39 am

Having in the remote past a loose research association with UW I find this report somewhat personal and very troubling. Somehow (perhaps because I don’t do social media) I have been able to do talks and provide reading materials about scientific process and the widespread misuse of science for policy/political/financial and personal agendas without drawing such negative administrative ire and retribution, as completely inappropriate and illegal as that is.

I don’t share Cliff Mass’ views about global warming/climate change or carbon taxes. As far as I can tell anthropogenic global warming and the many accompanying disasters have not been detected but only predicted in validated climate models. Real climate change is an issue bringing either prosperity and health or hunger and death depending on the whims of nature and our solar systems predetermined movements. I support Cliff’s right to believe and say otherwise in healthy debate and I thank him and congratulate him for standing up to the over-protected, cowardly bullies of his univesity.

That said I share Cliff’s horror at the behaviour of a university administration and academic faculty abandoning the principles of science in favour of advocacy and indoctrination typical of the Soviet Union under Stalin with Lysenko as his “sciency” lap dog. The claim of doing the “right thing” for the wrong reason is completely hollow. If they didn’t reach their conclusions through proper science but rather through a religiously steeped belief system then none should give credence to their perception of right and wrong, nor their prescriptions for how to improve the world. Only disaster lays that way.

This seems to have become not an exception to the rule but rather standard operating behaviour for academic organizations who were once thought to be the sanctuary of free unrestrained thought and discovery. At the very least, not a single penny of public funds should be invested in any institution that sanctions this behaviour. More, it would be highly appropriate to bring the force of law (civil or criminal as appropriate) and just retribution to such actions.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
October 2, 2019 9:01 am

Correct to my comment above. It was to read “unvalidated climate models”

October 2, 2019 8:59 am

Apparently there is a lot of funding to be had by supporting certain narratives and most research universities are grant mills. Any action that interferes with that funding cannot be tolerated. Washington Gov. Inslee is likely the most over-the-top climate alarmist governor and UW want to support him just as they expect him to support them. Face it, universities might as well be Corporations now and guess what, if you work for a large Corporation that pays good salaries, you can expect your speech to be restricted. Perhaps its time that universities re-write their employment policies to stop the illusion about seeking the truth but acknowledge it really about funding and supporting a narrative that brings in the most most money.

By the way, how many people who have gone to top notch universities have stopped giving to their alma maters because they don’t want to give to a political cause?

Stuart L Nachman
October 2, 2019 9:01 am

I would like the author to tell us the correct number for ECS and TCS since according to his colleagues and presumably him as well “the science is settled”.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Stuart L Nachman
October 2, 2019 11:13 am

The author doesn’t know that number. Noone on the planet Earth knows that number.

Yet many politicians are ready to spend TRILLIONS of dollars on fixing the Earth’s climate even though noone on Earth really knows if there is a problem or not with CO2.

Observations so far, say CO2 is not the cause of anything; that there is no unprecedented warmth or weather systems going on today;. We should refrain from spending TRILLIONS of dollars until we know this number.

Climate Science is about as unsettled as it can be: We don’t even know how much net heat CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere. The number could be zero. We don’t know nearly enough to go turning our society upside down and bankrupting ourselves trying to fix a climate that may not be fixable or need fixing.

Jeff Alberts
October 2, 2019 9:12 am

I still find it odd that Cliff Mass, who constantly debunks the alarmist responses to weather, wildfires, etc, STILL thinks we need a carbon tax, and to take action on CC. I’d very much like to know why he thinks those things are necessary.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 2, 2019 11:33 am

He has a blog, Ask him.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  stinkerp
October 3, 2019 10:18 am

I did, my comment hasn’t appeared yet.

October 2, 2019 9:22 am

The conventional meaning of “diversity” refers to color [attributes], not limited to race, and excludes principles, perspective, etc.

October 2, 2019 9:29 am

Since they like to do plays in Washington schools about segregation, get a playwright to put together a play with Cultural Revolution-style street events shaming the college educated for their position and anti-Party behavior. I once worked with a survivor of such Chinese Cultural Revolution punishment. He was sent to work in an underground coal mine for 10 years for having some college education at the time and being on the “bad” list.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 2, 2019 4:47 pm

Segregation ended almost 60 years ago. The grandparents of those kids might be able to remember it. No one younger does.

If the leftists have to go back 60 years to find a victory that they are proud of, then they’ve got nothing left.

Pat Frank
October 2, 2019 9:32 am

Cliff, “ I was told that although I might be scientifically correct, I would be helping “climate deniers” if I gave the correct information. I needed to stand with those pushing excessive numbers, to get people to do the “right thing.” Even for the wrong reason. According to some of my colleagues, the ends justify unethical and untruthful means.

If they must lie to make their case, they don’t have a case.

Moral cowardice seems to be the default of college administrators. The alternative conclusion is malignity.

October 2, 2019 9:34 am

Sacrifices have to be made of the underlings in jumping ahead of others politically.

October 2, 2019 9:36 am

“Over the past 6 months, a number of media outlets have contacted me regarding doing major stories on what occurred. I have put them off, feeling that the situation was so serious for the UW that it would be better to resolve the situation quietly and internally.”

It was so serious that he wanted to be sure that nobody knew about it and thus that UW was free to do it again. Rank nativity like this runs rampant in academia. It’s why this nonsense thrives there.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Craig
October 2, 2019 10:01 am

“Rank nativity”

There you go bringing the baby Jesus into it.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 2, 2019 10:30 am

Stupid spell check.

October 2, 2019 9:47 am

Leftists have such low opinions of minorities. This time they see minorities as pigs, previously they have claimed that minorities are too stupid to obtain ID cards and too stupid to compete with whites for jobs or an education.

My opinion is that we are all equal, and pigs could represent any of us, if our actions warrant the comparison.

Q: Why is it that leftists see racism in everything?

A: Psychological Projection.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Gator
October 2, 2019 3:34 pm

:..and pigs could represent any of us, … ” But some are better suited to the title that other… probable 25-30% of the population of D.C. and half the population of the five surrounding counties. It’s interesting to watch people’s reaction when there’s a lot money floating around. Diving into the gutter to collect a few bills is a most common practice.

October 2, 2019 9:58 am

The mistake people make is to appeal to reason when dealing with progressives. Their highest value is not, truth or reason or any such thing. It is how they feel. That is their truth. When you point out their foolishness that is ‘your truth’. Before you can tell them that they are wrong about their suppression of speech first you need get them to value truth. The person shouting down the author didn’t care that he was wrong. What he cared about was how good it felt to impose himself on someone else without consequence. The roots of this problem are deep.

Reply to  Starman
October 2, 2019 11:41 am

Exactly. Well said, Starman.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Starman
October 2, 2019 3:46 pm

“The mistake people make is to appeal to reason…” Herbert Simon, in his theory of Bounded Rationality, told me that you can never win a bar argument, you can’t convince a “true believer” that he is wrong. All you can do is occasionally present him with anecdotes that don’t fit into his life experiences. When they become too many for him to rationalize away he will go through a paradime shift, and change his view on life to one where more fit in. People don’t like to have to think.

October 2, 2019 10:02 am

Greta Update:

Zero Hedge just did an article on her. Included is a photo of her parents. Make note of that.

I just learned that here parents were reported to Swedish Child Services…

Greta’s Parents Reported to Child Services in Sweden This Morning!

Earlier today, a private person posted pictures of their concern report about Greta Thunberg for child abuse by the parents. The report was allegedly sent to the Kungsholmen’s district administration in Stockholm and is being taken very seriously.

“We have an obligation to assess within 24 hours,” the childcare unit told Swedish local News agency

Here it is:

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  john
October 3, 2019 10:20 am

This is not the “Greta update” thread.

October 2, 2019 10:44 am

“These UW communists ….” Hardly surprising in a city like Seattle where most toe the ‘progressive’ line, or in a state like WA with a governor like Inslee obsessed with AGW and trying every which way to institute a carbon tax. Practically all the media outlets, as well as state representatives have all jumped on the bandwagon.

However, in the interests of the fast-accelerating decline of free speech, whatever Cliff’s ‘professed’ beliefs (he may just claim to support carbon taxes etc. to keep his job), it’s standing up for freedom of speech that’s the more important. Perhaps Pastor Niemoller’s lament is a timely reminder:-

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

October 2, 2019 11:11 am

As a resident of Washington (east side) and regular reader of Cliff’s blog, I’m a great fan of his excellent
weather information. Very accurate and informative. The buzzing from the “hive” will just get worse, so
unless Cliff and others like him want to become one of the zombie ants, it’s time to leave Seattle and
come east to support splitting the State in two, Galt Gulch in the east and the Hive in the west.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Eric
October 3, 2019 10:21 am

I live in the northwest side. I don’t want to be left with nothing but looney blues. And no, I’m not moving. I like my property.

October 2, 2019 11:17 am

Over the past 6 months, a number of media outlets have contacted me regarding doing major stories on what occurred. I have put them off, feeling that the situation was so serious for the UW that it would be better to resolve the situation quietly and internally. I expected that UW leadership (President and Provost), once aware of the situation, would quickly take steps to ensure that such serious violations of academic freedom and first amendment protections did not happen again.

The one and only reason Lindsay Shepherd got out alive was the prompt and widespread publicity of what the university was doing to her. The university leadership at all levels were shown to be worms, and like all worms, could not stand the light of day.

Only a few people have offered helpful ideas, so I will try.
1) Go back to those media outlets, see if they will run the story now, perhaps with an update.
2) Fight Back! FIRE.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – They are the Go-To group for academic freedom of speech issues.

October 2, 2019 12:50 pm

I needed to stand with those pushing excessive numbers, to get people to do the “right thing.” Even for the wrong reason. According to some of my colleagues, the ends justify unethical and untruthful means. — Groupthink or you are dead meat on a fork, eh?

While I have some sympathy for Mass for the bullying he has been subjected to, he’s not really done a couple of things that he could have, one of them filing a legal complaint against the university’s management and whatever group of students he was referring to regarding THEIR violation of his 1st Amendment right to speak and publish freely.

No one has to agree with Mass. I know that Mikey Mann, for instance, has lied his behind off about a lot of things for the sole purpose of getting grant money. He’ll keep on doing that until the grant money dries up and/or someone complains about him and shows somehow that he’s been committing fraud, and I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.

It’s no fun being bullied by a bunch of loudmouthed, ignorant, uneducated social justice warriors who will use ANY and ALL excuses to label someone. But until or unless he files a legal complaint of violation of 1st Amendment, fraud, extortion, intimidation, and possibly mob action/extortion against UW’s management, whimpering about ‘look how mean they are to me!’, nothing will happen.

I would love to see these unruly “students” sprayed with firehoses as used to happen in the 1960s, because Washington is a lot colder than the US South. Stifling speech by someone else because you’re offended by what he says, or mislabeling something just because you can, is just as criminal as denying someone his basic civil rights as a human being.

Fire hoses or not, the students have a right to disagree with Mass, and he has AN EQUAL RIGHT to speak and publish what he believes to be true. If the students and faculty don’t like it, tough bananas.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. – Evelyn Beatrice Hall She penned that in her biography of Voltaire. It is not attributed to him by anyone but her.

bruce ryan
October 2, 2019 12:51 pm

You can’t reproach the UW for taking an evolutionary attitude towards their existence. They realize their lives will be very much better by behaving a certain way. Being heroic and moral won’t expand your wallet or beltline.

Mike Maguire
October 2, 2019 1:06 pm

Many here may not know who Cliff Mass is. As an operational meteorologist the past 37 years, I pass on some of his impressive credentials.

I’ve also followed his blogs from time to time and found them, not only very enlightening but always objective and ALWAYS based on facts born out that he shows and solid science based reasoning.

He is the complete opposite of representing the extreme version of the skeptical side as he’s being portrayed by one side. To me, he comes off as somebody that was/is trying to decrease divisiveness on this issue and ironically he is being portrayed as the opposite here.

Mike Maguirem
October 2, 2019 1:22 pm

Cliff Mass:

I forgot to include this in the last post to show his credentials.

Mike Maguire
October 2, 2019 1:23 pm

Cliff Mass:

I forgot to include this in the last post to show his credentials.

Laurence Zensinger
October 2, 2019 2:30 pm

I have great sympathy for Cliff Mass being treated this way by his colleagues, but he needs to realize his travails are just a small example of what is occurring across the globe regarding issues of academic freedom and scientific research when it comes to the issue of climate change (See Peter Ridd and John Cook University in Australia). While I get some enjoyment watching the circular firing squad that is going on among the University of Washington AGW faithful, and deeply regret that there are supposed senior faculty members “afraid” to speak up (that is the biggest shame of this story), I have heard this story all too many times, going all the way back to climate-gate. So, mainstream climate science first removed itself from actual science, and now has removed itself from any semblance of democratic social norms. Very discouraging.

Reply to  Laurence Zensinger
October 3, 2019 11:44 am

John Cook University
James Cook University?

Laurence Zensinger
Reply to  Mr.
October 3, 2019 1:31 pm

Sorry, thanks for offering the correction.

Reply to  Laurence Zensinger
October 3, 2019 8:58 pm

If John (97% consensus) Cook ever gets a university named after him, the world has passed the tipping point into abject batsh1t craziness.

John F. Hultquist
October 2, 2019 2:55 pm

When the State’s governor is a climate science Dufus it is not surprising that others of the State’s highly paid elites behave the way they do. Thus, writing to any of them is likely a waste of time. An open media uproar locally, and a shaming of UW nationally and internationally will do more good. Maybe Josh could work up a cartoon.

About 2 years ago when Cliff was having a tiff with a woman with media access, I wrote a letter to the people at UW. Lot of good that did!

I live in WA State and voted against the ‘carbon’ tax bills, and will again — when they come-round again.

Snow: Occasionally wildfires create a great deal of airborne soot. This lodges in the vegetation and then gets on snow, causing a faster melt. It takes about 3 years for the environment to clear itself of the soot.
Snow studies can be misleading when the sample is poorly chosen.

October 2, 2019 3:09 pm

Consortium News under the direction of the late Robert Parry was a beacon of information. Unfortunately, the publication of such articles as this one by Jonathan Cook
and the censorship associated in commenting it does not honor their founder.
A comment by Susan J. Leslie sums up the gullibility of these people: “Personally, I stand by Greta – she is the first person who has truly reached my heart and soul. ”
I guess if plate tectonics scientists do not “truly reach her heart and soul” we’re in trouble…

Paul Penrose
October 2, 2019 3:23 pm

While I don’t agree with many of the things Cliff says about CAGW, I will defend to the death his right to say it without fear of persecution by the government or any of it’s willing surrogates. If people want to counter his speech with their own, that’s fair. But government and the various government funded institutions can dwarf the individual with their out-sized voice, which is why the right to free speech in the US is NOT afforded to them. And if we don’t stand up against this kind of bullying against people we don’t agree with, then we can’t expect anybody to support us when they come for us.

Jake J
October 2, 2019 3:33 pm

My letter to the higher-ups at the U of Washington:

I write as a resident of Washington State, and as a graduate of two highly-regarded universities — the University of Wisconsin (1979, bachelor’s degree) and the University of Pennsylvania (1990, master’s degree).

I am appalled at the treatment of Prof. Mass detailed in his recent blog posting.

As it should happen, I disagree with him on a number of points, but have always found him to be intellectually and academically rigorous and independent. I would point, and have pointed, to him as an example of what academic scholarship ought to be.

Prof. Mass has been treated with gross disrespect and unfairness by the Dean of UW’s College of the Environment and others there. The accusations made against him not only violate the UW’s own codes, but are contrary to the spirit of free speech and academic freedom. The treatment he’s received is something to be expected in a place like China, not the United States or the State of Washington.

I urge the recipients of this message to immediately investigate the treatment of Prof. Mass; to discipline those guilty of it; to apologize to Prof. Mass; and to take meaningful steps to assure Prof. Mass, other academics, and the Washington State taxpaying citizens that the university will not stand for this behavior and that it will not happen again.

Is the University of Washington an academic institution, or are you now running a propaganda operation? This is a clear-cut case. He is right, and his accusers are wrong. Step up to the plate and put a hard stop to this.

October 2, 2019 3:44 pm

While we might not agree with everything Cliff Mass says, we need to be supportive of his free speech. The ones who are doing the censoring are the ones on the wrong side of this issue. We are committed to open and honest discussion, and that means bearing hearing things that we may disagree with. Cliff Mass is a staunch warmer, but at least he essentially sees the futility of driving us back to the stone age. He’s seeing first hand how heretics are treated by the Orthodoxy of climate change. It may well be that if he sees us as the reasonable side, he may be inclined to be allied with us. I remember from Debate in High school that to win the debate, the negative only has to disprove any one point of the other side. The drive to destroy Western Civilization only needs to have one leg pulled out from it to make it stumble. He doesn’t need to get everything right – just agree with us about a few points.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  tmonroe
October 2, 2019 9:02 pm

When you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Because I know or know of many of the individuals mentioned in the post, I will confine myself to general comments.

I was introduced to WUWT in 2009 by a state climatologist who was involved in the surface station project and would be described today as a climate skeptic. He was a very nice guy, kind, sincere, and very intelligent. His skepticism eventually resulted in a public shaming by the Governor, no less, and eventual dismissal from the state university.

Early on, many WUWT posts discussed the employment hardships experienced by climate skeptics. Today, a decade later, most universities have been completely purged of any faculty who dared to question the PC orthodoxy. This includes every department, whether in so-called earth sciences, or any science, or any liberal arts department. The number of climate skeptics remaining at US universities can be counted on one hand.

Dr. Mass is not a skeptic but rather is someone who has stated frequently that “Global warming is a profoundly serious threat to mankind,” or words to that effect. By his own admission (above) he favors carbon taxes. His “sin” is one of minor revisionism on technicalities, not skepticism per se.

There are no climate skeptics left in universities for the hardcore climate alarmists to demonize and purge. They have all been ousted long ago. So today the climate Bolsheviks are left with cleansing of their own party ranks.

Without a doubt academic freedom is a sad joke, however my sympathies are lacking — too much water under that bridge. Academia needs to heal itself, but I’m not holding my breath.

Surfer Dave
October 2, 2019 7:07 pm

Shades of Peter Ridd!
You mean this Dean…?
Oh, she uses tree rings to (re)construct (fake) climate histories! Where have we seen that (ab)used before?

Geoff Sherrington
October 2, 2019 8:42 pm

In 50 years of involvement, I have found it useful and productive to avoid developing any sort of relationship with any person who self-describes as an “environmentalist”.
Such people usually have brains that work in different ways to mine. They are usually insecure, forever seeking approval, unaware that they usually have nothing more to offer than platitudes and hate for those who are not offended by killing baby kittens.
There are many people in the world who are self-confident, self-sufficient, who do not give a rat’s ass about protesting to save the environment. These are the core people who have actually done things to improve the environment so that it is in a better state than ever before. It takes money, not slogans. It takes strong achievers, not wishy-washy girlie types.
In short, “environmentalist” can be synonymous with “steer clear of this person”.
Some readers here might wish to re-label themselves. Either that, or take a dreamy university position, away from the world that achieves. And matters. Geoff S

October 2, 2019 11:11 pm

Diversity of individuals and perspectives was deprecated with the normalization of sociopolitical constructs including: affirmative discrimination, political congruence, conflation of logical and physical domains, etc.

October 3, 2019 12:01 am

Notice, everyone, one of the key markers of a mass delusion is showing here:

The emotion and vituperation that is associated with dissent on a given matter is greater in proportion as the matter itself is unimportant.

The matter gets treated as a marker of righteousness, that is why.

Another similar characteristic of these episodes is that intensity of belief among the rank and file of the movement rises as the original tenets of the movement are disconfirmed, and as the leadership starts to get very nervous and starts to back off from the apocalyptic predictions that have increasingly found favor at lower levels. We are seeing this, too, as Global Warming increasingly fails to materialize as predicted.

It is, in the eyes of the mob, desperately important that there be no public dissent from the merits of I-1631. But the passage of it would make no measurable difference to global emissions or the global climate.

The fury at the publication of dissent is justified by involing the global climate, but in the form of an attack on the dissenter as member of an undesirable tribe: in this case, the supposed climate deniers. There is no defence of the measure to the effect that this measure will reduce the threat of global warming. Because manifestly it cannot and will not.

We have moved from doing something about the climate to doing something about our ideological opponents.

The accusation of racism is also typical of these episodes. Once the dissenter has been identified and stigmatized as being a member of the anti-party clique, it is then assumed that all the other supposed sins of members of this group must be found in him or her, and the most far-fetched free associations are felt to be sufficient evidence.

We are reaching the point where dissent is evidence of either neo-facism or communism, where to Democrats, or at least the left of the Party, Republicanism is simply not a legitimate choice, but is evidence of moral turpitude, and where to Republicans, or at least the right of that Party, to be a Democrat is similarly beyond the pale.

Worry. This is the way to Weimar. And its also the way to what lay beyond Weimar.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  michel
October 3, 2019 4:42 am

“Worry. This is the way to Weimar. And its also the way to what lay beyond Weimar.”

Yeah, the Democrats and the MSM are doing their best to tear the United States apart. I don’t think they are going to be successful, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

The election of November 2020 will decide a whole lot of matters. Everyone will know where everyone else stands in the United States.

I think Trump will get considerably more votes in 2020 than he got in 2016 (63 million votes) and I think Hillary will get considerably less votes than she got in 2016 (66 million). Assuming Hillary is the eventual nominee of the Democrats. The other Democrats are even weaker than Hillary, so I think Trump is going to win in 2020, and that will mean that Trump’s conservative ideas are the mainstream of thought in the United States, not Democrat/Socialist Lunacy.

And then Trump/we can move on with continuing to improve the lives of Americans and can dismiss the Democrat/Socialists and the MSM as the Minority View.

October 3, 2019 12:02 am

This is analogue of behavior at Berkley, behavior that Trump threatened to stop.

If you want them to smell the coffee, cut off their funding.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Philip
October 3, 2019 4:52 am

I think Trump is serious abouit going after people who stifle freedom of speech while collecting federal funds. He has threatened to cut off federal funds to offenders..

Cliff Mass should send a complaint about the University of Washington’s efforts to silence him to the White House. Trump may not be aware of this latest attack on Free Speech from an American university.

October 3, 2019 1:25 am

It’s been going on for a long time and well before uni but maybe the worm is turning if the doomsdayers are turning kids against their parents with the brainwashing-

Eamon Butler
October 3, 2019 3:53 am

There is part of me feeling sympathy for this man, but also a part of me that’s thinking, ‘well, now you know what it’s like for the Sceptics, who are opposed to your dishonest stance on the scaremongering of climate change.’
On balance, it is a good thing he has raised this ugly issue and I stand along side him on freedom of thought, speech and expression.
He is part of the problem that created a monster. Now he finds the monster is turning on him. He may decide to examine his own views. He may change them and become a Sceptic. Then again, maybe pigs will fly.

October 3, 2019 4:28 am

“how a highly partisan Dean and her senior staff at UW’s College of the Environment have suppressed diversity of viewpoints”

A science with fatal methodological weaknesses needs this kind of protection. The carbon budget for example.

No Name Guy
October 3, 2019 8:45 am


An analogy.

You sound like the poor sap Communist Party member being led out from his show trial to his execution protesting that when Comrade Stalin finds out about this injustice of wrongfully killing a loyal party member, there will be hell to pay, not realizing that it was Comrade Stalin who ordered show trial and subsequent execution.

Then, the root of the problem was the entire Communist party and the very ideology of communism at its root.

Likewise, the root of the problem you lament is the very notion of CO2 driven anthropogenic climate change. In practically the same breath that you complain about your attempted academic show trial and execution, you then go on to push for taxes on creating carbon dioxide (not carbon – sorry to be pedantic) from fossil fuel sources. That sir, is you being a “loyal party member” while not realizing you’re part and parcel of a fundamentally evil and corrupt coalition, the cabal of misanthropic modernity haters.

Welcome to your treatment at the hands of the CO2 NKVD. Don’t like it? Time to rethink the very system you cheer on.

October 3, 2019 12:41 pm

When you hit back twice as hard, most bullies will shrink.
They learn a lesson, and you earn respect.

October 3, 2019 12:44 pm

There will be more and more Peter Ridds and Cliff Mass’s. This is the progressive authoritarian left. We raised a million to support Dr. Ridd and we will raise a million to support Dr. Mass. The bullying from the left will not be tolerated.

October 3, 2019 4:49 pm

Cooling may be the only cure for the madness, and cooling is destructive.

Just how did we get in to this desperately ironic mess?

I hope our grandchildren can explain it to themselves because it is a lesson that needs to be learned in order to avoid further, and possibly even more destructive, social manias.

The clues are all there, kids; take the ball and run.

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