University of Virginia

Cuccinelli v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 283 Va. 420 (2010)

In a 2012 decision the Virginia Supreme Court rejected attempts by then Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to compel disclosure of university research records.  Cuccinelli who publicly opposes the theory of global warming, used his position to formally request emails and other documents relating to former faculty member and climatologist Michael Mann from the University of Virginia (UVA) arguing that he had authority to subpoena these records pursuant to the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA).  The Supreme Court of Virginia held that state universities, as agencies of the Commonwealth, do not constitute a “person” under the FATA and therefore Cuccinelli had no authority to require release of the records and his appeal was rendered moot. (In another related case, the Virginia Supreme Court rejected a request for these records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.)

Threat to Academic Freedom in Virginia

7/6/10 Update: A Pennsylvania State University investigative committee cleared Michael Mann of ethical misconduct.  

Virginia Attorney General Vs. Science

10/21 update: On 10/20, the University of Virginia made two court filings in its fight against Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli's harassment of climate scientist Michael Mann. 

The Costs of a Climate of Fear

When scientists are attacked professionally and personally, independent science and the public suffer.

UVA Should Defend Academic Freedom

The attack on professor Michael Mann is similar to the recent attack on University of Wisconsin professor William Cronon.

AAUP Supports University’s Effort to Protect Academic Freedom

 A joint amicus brief to the Virginia Supreme Court explains why scientists and other scholars must be able to communicate freely, without fear of government intrusion. 

Ongoing Battle Over Academic Freedom in Virginia

The AAUP and three other defenders of academic freedom joined together in April to file an amicus brief asking the Virginia Supreme Court to affirm a lower-court order setting aside a demand from Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli for the private communications of a global-warming expert once on the faculty of the University of Virginia.

Signatories to the brief are the AAUP, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

UVA Should Protect Its Scientists

The AAUP joined with three other groups in writing a letter to University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan urging her to reconsider a May 2011 agreement the university made with the American Tradition Institute. 

Governing Board’s Ouster of University of Virginia President

The AAUP's Annual Meeting passed a resolution expressing its deep concern over the action of the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors. 


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