U Va Court Victory

A Virginia judge has ruled that Michael Mann’s emails while at that institution are not subject to disclosure on the grounds that they are

Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for faculty or staff of public institutions of higher education, other than the institutions’ financial or administrative records, in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issues, whether sponsored by the institution alone or in conjunction with a governmental body or a private concern, where such data, records or information has not been publicly released, published, copyrighted or patented.

which are excluded under state law.

As Eli says, “any day the people who initiated this inquisition lose one is a good day.”

Eli has more, as well as some relevant links which we will shamelessly steal:

Prof. Mann’s facebook page

Climate Crocks

Climate Science Watch 


Climate Progress

Unfortunately, other states may be less considerate of the privacy of research communication.

I think the idea that the academy is an arm of government is sorely confused and ill-advised. The academy should be considered a third force in counterbalance to government and capital, especially nowadays when the press has essentially sold out to capital.

There are reasons for government to be very constrained. There are equally reasons for academia to be as unconstrained as possible.

The abuse of FOIA to dig up petty embarrassments and blow them up into “gates” is a governance disaster. Academics do need to be held to account somehow, but harassment and denial of service attacks hardly seems the right way. Somebody has to have the unfettered right and the responsibility to reflect on aspects of the world other than commercial ones. The alternative is institutionalized and enforced stupidity, the gleeful drunk as model of public policy.


  1. Re the academy as an arm of government: don't forget that government is increasingly disowning the academy, and should be disclaiming control in proportion. Here in Wisconsin, the figures are hard for me to remember, because they are often broken down into Madison versus elsewhere, and capital versus operating, but over the last several decades, budget from the state legislature has decreased from 40 or 45 percent to 12 or 15, IIRC.

  2. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, September 23, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.