Protest Against Research Funding Lawsuit at UVA

Students, faculty members and alumni of the University of Virginia will gather to protest Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of UVA and former UVA Professor Michael Mann Friday at 1 p.m. on the north (street) side of the University’s Rotunda at 1826 University Ave.

The protest has been organized in response to Cuccinelli’s demand that UVA turn over thousands of documents, ranging from e-mails to inter-office memos, related to former Mann’s global warming research, including of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

To challenge Cuccinelli’s demands, the UVA Board of Visitors, led by Rector John Wynne and former UVA President John Casteen, filed papers in Albemarle County Circuit Court petitioning a judge to stop the overreach of the attorney general’s powers. The UVA Faculty Senate also issued a statement opposing the investigation.

At 2 p.m. Friday, the Circuit Court judge will release a statement on whether or not Cuccinelli’s investigation can continue. The protest is timed to correspond with the judge’s ruling.

In addition to having the potential to stifle academic and scientific inquiry across the nation, the Albemarle County Circuit Court judge’s decision will also have national implications in the climate change debate.

Cuccinelli is also suing the EPA to block regulation of carbon emissions. If the judge allows him to conduct an investigation of climate change research at UVA, he can use the ruling as ammunition in challenging the EPA.

Mann now serves as director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and has been cleared of wrongdoing by governmental and scientific investigations, including a PSU investigation that ended July 1.