That’s James Enstrom, a long-time environmental health sciences professor whom UCLA refused to reappoint because, as The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) notes,
…his controversial research failed to accord with the department’s "mission." Dr. James Enstrom engaged in successful whistleblowing against a prominent member of the department, and there had been many years of debate between Enstrom and some of his colleagues over research on air pollution. After FIRE intervened, Enstrom was given an eight-month reprieve until March 31, 2011, or until his appeals are resolved.
Well, Enstrom’s got a hearing that starts today, and here’s hoping that something approaching fairness is running the show this time around.
The Reason.tv video above, produced by Ted Balaker, lays out some of the controvery, including the plain fact that Enstrom unmasked bad science and outright fraud at the California Air Resources Board. Go here for more.
FIRE reports that 12 California legislators have written the chancellor and provost of UCLA, saying that they "remain deeply troubled by the University’s inability to provide credible cause for Dr. Enstrom’s dismissal, and the appearance of political interference in the University’s academic discourse."
This story is unambiguous in its import: If you say the wrong thing and upset the wrong people, even while arguing in good faith, you will get screwed in an academic setting. If you care about free and open debate, and using the same as the basis in academic and public-policy decisionmaking, you should be scared.