Academia

The Green Politics of Reprisals: UCLA's Enstrom Gets a Hearing on His Unfair Dismissal

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That's James Enstrom, a long-time environmental health sciences professor whom UCLA refused to reappoint because, as The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) notes,

…his controversial research failed to accord with the department's "mission." Dr. James Enstrom engaged in successful whistleblowing against a prominent member of the department, and there had been many years of debate between Enstrom and some of his colleagues over research on air pollution. After FIRE intervened, Enstrom was given an eight-month reprieve until March 31, 2011, or until his appeals are resolved.

Well, Enstrom's got a hearing that starts today, and here's hoping that something approaching fairness is running the show this time around.

The Reason.tv video above, produced by Ted Balaker, lays out some of the controvery, including the plain fact that Enstrom unmasked bad science and outright fraud at the California Air Resources Board. Go here for more.

FIRE reports that 12 California legislators have written the chancellor and provost of UCLA, saying that they "remain deeply troubled by the University's inability to provide credible cause for Dr. Enstrom's dismissal, and the appearance of political interference in the University's academic discourse."

This story is unambiguous in its import: If you say the wrong thing and upset the wrong people, even while arguing in good faith, you will get screwed in an academic setting. If you care about free and open debate, and using the same as the basis in academic and public-policy decisionmaking, you should be scared.

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22 responses to “The Green Politics of Reprisals: UCLA's Enstrom Gets a Hearing on His Unfair Dismissal

  1. Another black eye for science. It’s almost like they’re trying to make us distrust science.

    1. of course they are. Science sometimes tells them things they don’t want to hear.

    2. Of course we should distrust science! So called “scientists” have hidden agendas, like desiring government grants, global warming money, lucrative deals, etc, etc, etc.

      Think about obesity, the diet and fitness industry is worth $65 billion, do you think it’s not in their best interests to lobby for more government action against obesity? If the nanny state calls you fat and makes you feel guilty, guess where you’re going? That’s right, you’re going to jillianmichaels.com, Bally’s, Green Tea crap, etc.

      Now I’ll give credit to those scientists that come up with SOLUTIONS instead of the ones that cry “your SUV is killing the planet, walk to work instead.”

      A Tale of Two Burnings: Qurans vs. Bibles.
      http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..ibles.html

  2. At least with science, the truth will out. It’s not the same with social “science” and political “science”. Too bad.

  3. Well, Enstrom’s got a hearing that starts today, and here’s hoping that something approaching fairness is running the show this time around.
    No deal. Science isn’t in the constitution

  4. Tenure prevents professors from being fired for political reasons. It is awesome.

    1. Tenure Political Reasons prevents professors from being fired for political reasons given tenure. It is awesome.

      1. THIS. + a lazy eight.

        It is my great personal/professional hope the one day Reason or a similar publication will do a Balko type takedown of ‘qualified’ positions within academia. Have a look at http://chronicle.com/blogs/inn…..isal/29054 to see an indication that the higher ed industry has turned a blind eye here. The comments to the blog posting are interesting.

    2. You know what prevents someone from being fired in the real world? BEING GOOD AT YOUR JOB! Tenure only protects bad teachers.

      No GED? Homeschooled? Texas Democrat wants to Give You a Restricted License.
      http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..ocrat.html

  5. If you say the wrong thing and upset the wrong people, even while arguing in good faith, you will get screwed in an academic setting.

    Actually, this applies even in a non-academic setting.

    1. Just ask Prof. Norman Finklestein.

      1. Go back to stormfront Nazimike

  6. If you care about free and open debate…

    Who would this be? No one I know.

  7. UCLA grads should be outraged. This kind of stuff devalues their degrees.

    1. Tell me about it.

    2. oooohhhhh….. ting tong ding dong ling long….. oooohhhhh

      1. What I want to know is why are the Asian students taking calls on their cell phones in the fucking library???

        ssshhhhhhhhh…….

      2. Right on! And screw the Koreans, too.

  8. If you’re not going to participate in the groupthink, you can’t be part of the group.

  9. Was the science in fact bad? All I’ve gleaned so far was that Dr. Enstrom demonstrated that another faculty member didn’t have the credentials he claimed to have. That’s a serious problem, and certainly grounds for questioning that faculty member’s integrity in general. But ultimately I’m more interested in science than I am in credentials.

  10. I have dabbled in environmental issues over the past decade and am appalled at how little logic and science have to do with anything in that field. I’m not talking the big issues, like global warming, but local land use policy. Our bureaucrats (federal, state and local) all spout the same stuff and tell us “everybody knows,” when in fact, I cannot find any data and they can’t produce any. As for the students at UCLA even noticing that academic freedom is long gone, they’re all busy studying “critical” LGBT Latino feminist traditional knowledge studies.

  11. I cannot find any data and they can’t produce any

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