Sunday, June 24, 2012

Press Conference: Report Card on the UB Shale Resources & Society Institute -- Launch of UB CLEAR

  • WHO: University at Buffalo (UB) Faculty, Students, Alumni and Concerned Citizens
  • WHAT: Press Conference with UB CLEAR -- Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research
  • WHEN: Thursday, June 28th, at 12:00 P.M.
  • WHERE: UB South Campus, at corner of Main Street and Bailey Avenue; In case of rain, at covered entrance to Squire Hall
UB faculty, students, alumni, and concerned citizens will present the Administration and the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute with a larger-than-life report card and give brief talks.

Information below describes the Background of the controversy surrounding the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute, and presents UB CLEARS's demands. Also below is an extensive bibliography, with links to articles on the UB Shale Institute, compiled by UB Professor Jim Holstun. For additional information on the press conference, please contact Jim Holstun 

This spring the University at Buffalo Administration announced the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute. The Institute’s formation violates UB procedures for creating centers and institutes. Its funding sources and plans are obscure. It solicits gas industry funding by presenting itself as a reliable advocate for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In exchange for contributions, it offers corporations privileged access to research and a special role in governance.

An official UB press release accompanied the Institute’s first report on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling. This report is fatally compromised. It was announced as peer-reviewed when it wasn’t. Its fails to reveal its authors' financial  connections to the gas industry. And it is riddled with procedural flaws and errors of fact, including basic mistakes in arithmetic.

The ensuing controversy includes a widely-distributed AP story and an article in the New York Times. The Shale Institute report has damaged UB’s hard-won reputation and its credibility as a major research university.

In response, a group of SUNY faculty, alums, students, and other citizens have established UB CLEAR. The press conference will launch a statewide campaign in support of demands listed below.

We call on the UB Administration to take the following steps to prevent further damage and regain public trust in the university:

Time Out -- Suspend all funding, publications, and other operations of the Shale Resources and Society Institute.

Be Clear --  Release all documents bearing on the formation of the Institute, its staffing, governance, oversight, and funding. Explain how and why the Institute’s first report came to be described publicly as “peer reviewed” and associated with the University itself and not just its authors. Practice full and active transparency, not just the minimum disclosure required by law.

Investigate -- Establish a genuinely independent body, outside UB and the oil and gas industry, to investigate the Institute’s formation and its relations to industry and other donors.

Discuss -- Hold a forum in which all interested UB and other community members can raise their concerns about the Institute, receive candid answers, and offer advice.

An extensive Bibliography, with links to online articles about the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute, was compiled by Prof. Jim Holstun and can be accessed here.

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