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U-Va. faculty senate: Cuccinelli actions 'directly threaten academic freedom'

Rosalind Helderman

The Executive Council of the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia has now weighed in on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand, which sought a wide range of documents dealing with the work the climate scientist Michael Mann. Mann's former colleagues write that the "unusual" request appears to be motivated by a difference of opinion with Mann's findings and threatens academic freedom:

We maintain that peer review by the scientific community is the appropriate means by which to identify error in the generation, presentation and interpretation of scientific data. The Attorney General's use of his power to issue a CID under the provisions of the Virginia [Fraud Against Taxpayers Act] is an inappropriate way to engage with the process of scientific inquiry.

His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth's climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline. Such actions directly threaten academic freedom and, thus, our ability to generate the knowledge upon which informed public policy relies.

Read the whole statement, issued in the name of Faculty Senate Chair Ann B. Hamric, here.

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By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Ken Cuccinelli, Michael Mann, University of Virginia, Virginia  
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This clown has nothing better to do? Well, then again, maybe now he can investigate the lacrosse program at UVA. And after that, he can move on to coal mine safety non-compliance.

Posted by: 21stCenturyCaveman | May 5, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Cuccinelli is the McCarthy of Global Warming. FAct.

Posted by: slydell | May 5, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought he was busy redesigning "virtuous" lapel pins.

Posted by: lmjs63 | May 5, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Bravo for the faculty senate at UVA to stand up for what is right! Not surprisingly, the administration at UVA caved in to the request without a peep of dismay or resistance; even if the law required them to comply with Cuccinelli's request, they could have made a principled statement. Unfortunately, the one thing that the UVA administration doesn't do, from the President through the Provosts and the Deans, is support its faculty. These administrators are just out for their own jobs and reputations.....

Posted by: harrumph1 | May 5, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah.

Threat of a speeding ticket has a chilling effect on my desire to drive 80 in a 45 zone.

Fraud is a legal concept, not a scientific concept. If there is enough evidence, then the scientific experts can battle it out before a jury of average citizens.

Posted by: blasmaic | May 6, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

"Academic Freedom" that's rich. If it's 100% Leftist, that's what these fools consider freedom..

Posted by: wewintheylose | May 6, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

KOOKINELLI is a disaster but I blame all Virginians who voted for him and McDonnell:

PAY ATTENTION next time:
When people show you who they are:

It was all there in print--What did you expect?

Posted by: suec716 | May 6, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Blasmaic: Fair enough. But I also suspect you're a terrorist. So I'd like to have the local DA investigate you and bring you to trial. If you're not a terrorist (quite likely I admit) then it should be simple enough for you to prove. After all, if you have nothing to hide, why should you worry about the police going through your computer, your kids' computers, your tax records, even your honeymoon video?

I'm sure your neighbors and employer will keep an open mind about whether or not you're a terrorist until after the trial.

Anyway, good luck at the trial! Let me know how it turns out.

Posted by: Froomkin_fan | May 6, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Man this guy's a shmuck. He's got nothing better to do?

Posted by: UnknownHenson | May 6, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

cuccinelli is a threat to common sense and decency.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 6, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

when "science" says corporations pollute, the corporations and their lackeys claim that "science" is politically motivated.
and now that those corporations own a states attorney general, they can get him to claim that the "science" is illegal and fraudulent.
when will it end? when will big oil accept science and heed its warning?

corporations have a financial self interest in science.
Cuccinelli has a political self interest in science.
neither them should be trusted in these matters at all.
I wouldn't trust Cuccinelli to judge a fifth grade science fair let alone understand a scintilla of any complicated scientific research document.

Isn't there anyone in virginia with enough common sense to see the harm Cuccinellis is doing and to stand up to him in a meaningful way?

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 6, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ms Helderman, for keeping us appraised about the actions of Kookinelli.

He is Virginia's fart in a crowded elevator.

Posted by: MAL9000 | May 6, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Are there any moderate conservatives in the state of VA that run for office?

Posted by: no_recess | May 6, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

(that should have been "apprised" not "appraised")

no_recess: the problem is, they can't win anymore. Tom Davis was what I would call moderate but he wouldn't run when he realised the selection process was tilted towards conservative loons.

Posted by: MAL9000 | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Ken "Kooky-Nelly" is just so out there. He is seriously damaging Virginia's reputation as a progressive place to do business. Now he's attacking higher education? Also he's so into vice and poking his nose into other people's business, I wouldn't be surprised if he's visiting on the side, like his friend George Rekers. Look that buffoon up online to see hypocrisy coming to bite someone in the arse.

Posted by: tsqnova | May 6, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I am a graduate of UVa and I strongly support the University's statements regarding this State Atty Gen...he continues to be blight on reasoned thought and action...I pity him.

Posted by: fairness3 | May 6, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Let me see if I've got this right. An Attorney General wants to investigate whether there have been fraudulent actions by a scientist, whose research has been severely criticized in published articles, and this frightens/angers people?

I would be more frightened if those opposed to the investigation got their way and had it cancelled before it began.

If there is no crime, Mann will do no time. Given his recent threat to the "Hide the Decline" people, I would think Mann would welcome the chance to go before a court of his peers and finally clear his good name, reputation, and, more importantly his findings.

To suggest that scientists should be immune to such an investigation is ludicrous.

Let the truth out.....

Posted by: eric1952 | May 10, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

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