Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bad Week at the Alma Mater

The murder of a well-liked University of Virginia lacrosse player by her ex-boyfriend and men's lacrosse standout shocked the Charlottesville campus early last week. It was a senseless murder whose likelihood certainly seems in hindsight predicted by the alleged suspect's past behavior. Like so many other tragedies (can you say 9-11?) no one connected the dots. It's no Virginia Tech massacre but it's still a nasty tear in the fabric of what is presumed to be a safe society.

The murder may be shocking but even more disturbing is the Virginia Attorney General's subpoena of a University of Virginia professor's research papers in a civil fraud investigation. The AG, a climate change denier believes the professor, whose emails are cited in the "climate-gate scandal", may have committed fraud in using research grant funds. The University plans to comply "as required by law" with the subpoena.

Supporters of academic freedom (myself among them) are aghast at the meek response. We can certainly connect the dots between an ideologically driven politician's agenda and academic freedom even if the University administration cannot.

What would Mr. Jefferson do?



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