Virginia: Attorney General Investigates Professor’s Research

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Virginia

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  • Another State Court Upholds a University’s Decision to Withhold Requested Faculty Records

    April 17, 2015

    Exactly one year ago today, Virginia’s highest court issued an important ruling balancing government transparency with academic freedom for public university faculty. And last month, an Arizona state court did the same. On April 17, 2014, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the University of Virginia did not violate the state’s Freedom of Information Act by withholding certain emails and research by former UVA professor Michael Mann in response to a request filed by the American Tradition Institute and a state delegate. In finding for UVA, the Virginia Supreme Court cited affidavits filed by scholars testifying to the negative impact […]

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  • Va. Supreme Court to Hear Appeal Involving ‘Climategate’ and Academic Freedom

    March 11, 2011

    Last week, the Supreme Court of Virginia agreed to hear an appeal by Kenneth Cuccinelli II, Attorney General of Virginia, regarding his investigation of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann for possible fraud involving Mann’s environmental research. A lower court had set aside his investigative demands without ruling on whether fraud had been committed. FIRE had expressed concern over the academic freedom implications of such a broad request for documents in such an investigation.

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  • Virginia Attorney General Issues New Demand for University of Virginia Documents

    October 6, 2010

    On September 29, Virginia’s Attorney General, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, issued a new Civil Investigative Demand (CID) for a huge amount of documents relating to his investigation of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann. Mann is one of the people at the center of the well-known “Climategate” controversy. Cuccinelli’s previous CIDs were set aside by Judge Paul M. Peatross, Jr., who ruled that four out of the original five grants that were being investigated were not state grants and therefore out of the scope of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). Cuccinelli had issued the CIDs as part of […]

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  • Judge Sets Aside Virginia Attorney General’s University of Virginia Document Demands

    August 30, 2010

    Citing a failure to show “reason to believe” that fraud had occurred at the University of Virginia (UVa), Judge Paul M. Peatross, Jr., has set aside the Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) issued to UVa by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, who has sought a huge swath of UVa documents in order to investigate possible fraud under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). The sweeping CIDs would have required UVa to find and hand over more than a decade’s worth of documents involving dozens of researchers related to former UVa professor Michael Mann and his five UVa-related research […]

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  • University of Virginia Invokes Academic Freedom to Fight ‘Climategate’ Fraud Investigation

    July 6, 2010

    The University of Virginia filed a brief last week opposing Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II’s demand for a huge amount of documents relating to Cuccinelli’s fraud investigation of Michael Mann, an American professor at the center of the “Climategate” controversy. The brief expands on the university’s academic freedom argument and other arguments, and it mentions FIRE twice.  In general, FIRE opposes investigations of professors for fraud when no evidence has been provided. Cuccinelli’s initial demands provided no evidence, which would have set an extremely troubling precedent if they had gone unchallenged in that form. FIRE thus pushed Cuccinelli to reveal […]

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  • University of Virginia Fights Attorney General’s Sweeping Demand for Research Documents

    May 29, 2010

    Thursday, the University of Virginia filed a petition to the Albemarle Circuit Court in Charlottesville, Virginia, asking the court to set aside the demands of the state’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, for a huge set of documents relating to the research and correspondence of a former professor, Michael Mann. As the petition notes, the origin of these demands was the set of “Climategate” documents that began to make international news in late 2009. As FIRE wrote earlier this month in a letter to Attorney General Cuccinelli, we are concerned that this demand for documents may be a politically […]

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  • FIRE Criticizes Virginia Attorney General’s Investigation of Professor

    May 12, 2010

    In a letter today, FIRE criticizes Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s decision to open a civil investigation of former University of Virginia professor Dr. Michael Mann. On April 23, Attorney General Cuccinelli sent a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (UVa) pursuant to his authority under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA), requesting that the university produce the “data, materials and communications” created by Dr. Mann in conjunction with five research grants he and others obtained during his employment at UVa. Our letter documents the clear threat to academic freedom and […]

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