The Spectacle Blog

Deeper Investigation Into Mr. Hockey Stick’s Behavior

The findings from Penn State University's investigation into Climategate scientist Michael Mann were due this week, and today the university announced today that one allegation warranted further scrutiny.

By on 2.3.10 | 12:50PM

The findings from Penn State University's investigation into Climategate scientist Michael Mann were due this week, and today the university announced today that one allegation warranted further scrutiny:

In looking at four possible allegations of research misconduct, the committee determined that further investigation is warranted for one of those allegations. The recommended investigation will focus on determining if Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities." A full report (http://www.research.psu.edu/orp) concerning the allegations and the findings of the inquiry committee has been submitted.

In the investigatory phase, as in the inquiry phase, the committee will not address the science of global climate change, a matter more appropriately left to the profession. The committee is charged with looking at the ethical behavior of the scientist and determining whether he violated professional standards in the course of his work.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the university have informed climate skeptic Ronald Armstrong (and probably others), who requested Mann's emails via a Freedom of Information Act request and under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, that Penn State is not subject to either transparency law because it is not an "agency:"

Consequently, the information you requested will not be disclosed since it is confidential and not made available to the public.

Legal weasel words, of course. In a high-profile misconduct case Penn State could certainly choose to release the records, but much like the Climategate conspirators, they can't afford to let the public see. So they hide behind lawyers who are willing to do their dirty work for them -- in this case, Katherine Allen at McQuaide Blasko in Central Pennsylvania.

What's the matter, doesn't PSU have some attorney hack on staff who could have cranked out this deflection, rather than paying outside counsel hundreds of dollars an hour to be their bad guy for them?

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