UVA Fights Back?


    Let’s hope so.

    The University of Virginia has hired the big law firm Hogan Lovells to help the school evaluate its options in responding to a civil subpoena from the state attorney general seeking documents related to the work of a former professor. It’s the strongest indication yet that the school is seriously considering fighting the subpoena in court, as various academic groups have urged.

    “The University and its Board of Visitors believe it is important to respond to this [civil information demand],” said John O. Wynne, the Rector of the university, in his first statement on the issue. “Research universities must defend the privilege of academic freedom in the creation of new knowledge. Hogan Lovells will help us to explore the appropriate options for a response.”

    In short, it’s crucial – for academic freedom at UVA, throughout Virginia and America – that UVA fight back against Ken Kookinelli’s ideologically-driven witch hunt against Galileo Galilei climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann.  Message to UVA: if you need any financial help to do so, just let us know and we in the Virginia progressive blogosphere will do what we can to raise the money.  Thank you, and to paraphrase Jim Webb’s favorite song, “don’t back down!”

    • kindler

      I will gladly open up my wallet to support academic freedom at Jefferson’s great university — and everywhere else.  

    • VADEM

      UVA is RICH! They have a dozen lawyers sitting around in Madison Hall. They have whatever money they need, but they need the will to fight a state government who only gives them 8% of their budget.

      So the question becomes will they stand up or stand down? May be time to dip into that billion dollar bank acount to fight the Kook.

    • I was just able to fill my husband in on what is taking place at UVa — he’s a law school grad.  Needless to say, he was horrified.  Not only for the ideological reasons (he’s more environmentally conscious than I am) but simply because the idea of the government “investigating” scholarly research as fraud simply because you disagree with it was, truly, horrifying.  And quite a few conservatives agree, as we’ve discussed before.

      UVa isn’t hurting financially, but there is also a large alumni network that has benefited tremendously from the education they have received from professors (on both the left and the right) at UVa.  I’m sure if the University needed resources, those alums would be there for them.

      The important thing is to fight this, and to let people know about it.

    • VADEM

      cannot believe Casteen or the BOV would stand for this. Ideally UVA would say forget it, Kook would have to spend tax payer money to pursue this in court, could take years for it to go through the court system and by then Kookoo would be out of office.

      UVA should use the delay and obstruct tactic. I suspect he wouldn’t have the fortitude to follow through on anything.

    • Glen Tomkins

      Damn good thing that our universities are awash in spare cash, and that money that UVA is going to have to spend to defend itself from our AG will not be missed.

      We haven’t heard from the AG’s office on this point yet, but I’m confident that, just like the lawsuit over the Commonwealth’s Obamacare Nullification Law, they will be able to conduct this litigation, and analyze the mountain of unfiltered information they will get from UVA if they are successful in court, for less than $350 of state money.

      Of course, the AG can sue on the cheap because he gets wingnut welfare.  Unpaid, volunteer, legal aid, from graduates of Bible College Law Schools, lets Cuccinelli do it on the cheap.  I guess that analyzing all those e-mails, if the suit is successful, will also be farmed out to the vast right-wing non-conspiracy.

      Hey, UVA can do the same thing, and save the state litigation costs all around.  They can just let volunteers from the Bible Colleges handle their defense.

      What could possibly go wrong with that plan?