Debra J. Saunders (“Academic Mission or UCLA Speech Code?”, April 12, 2011) reports,
If you think that academia is not the exclusive playground of the academic left, consider the fate of UCLA epidemiologist James Enstrom.In 2008, Enstrom thought that a report on the health effects of diesel emissions presented by the California Air Resources Board was faulty. As it turns out, CARB’s nitrous oxide emission estimates were overstated by 340 percent. Enstrom and others had trouble believing that a Ph.D. statistician would make up some of CARB’s findings. They dug around and found that CARB researcher Hien Tran had falsely claimed to have a doctorate in statistics from UC Davis. In fact, Tran had a master’s degree from UC Davis, but his doctorate came from an unaccredited school.
Tran was mildly slapped on the wrist, but here’s what happened to Enstrom:
In February 2010, after renewing his research grants regularly since 1976, UCLA notified Enstrom that he had lost his funding. Unlike Tran, he would be out of a job.
A July 2010 memo later informed Enstrom that Department of Environmental Health Sciences faculty had determined his work did not meet department requirements and “your research is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department.”
Not aligned with the academic mission? That reads like academic-speak for: politically incorrect. Enstrom has little doubt that UCLA cut his cord because he was a CARB whistle blower. Worse, his 2005 study on the health effects of fine particulate matter essentially found that the diesel exhaust has slight, if any effect, on premature death.
“The timing is almost unmistakable because I had essentially no problems for a position that started July 1, 1976,” Enstrom told me over the phone. “This is extremely dangerous for academic freedom and scientific integrity.”
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is looking into it.
Sources have pointed out that most of today’s scientists have always lived in a nanny state, where dissent (implying lack of co-operation with the authorities) is a much more serious offense than dishonesty (which is merely expected, because the State routinely deceives too, for the public good).