Featured speaker Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University) is director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, with faculty appointments in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.
Last year Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli sought records from the University of Virginia related to the communications and research of professor Mann, a former UVA professor. Among the broad range of records sought were emails that Mann sent to and received from colleagues since 1999.
The AAUP, ACLU of Virginia, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression joined forces to file an amicus brief (.pdf) in support of UVA’s request that the court set aside Cuccinelli’s demand. In a victory for academic freedom, the judge dismissed the attorney general's subpoena.
Cuccinelli, however, continues his harassment of professor Mann. In its most strongly-worded court filing to date, UVA has characterized Cuccinelli's investigation as “an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research” and has said that Cuccinelli is targeting Mann because he “disagrees with his academic research regarding climate change.”