Friday, April 07, 2006

OSU Forestry School-Industry ties to be reviewed


Oregon State University's College of Forestry faces scrutiny from state senators who will hold a hearing today to examine whether the college's longtime ties to the timber industry undermine its research.

The event is billed as an inquiry into academic freedom. It's the latest reaction to controversy surrounding a study by a forestry graduate student, Daniel Donato, and others including his professor, Beverly Law, that found logging sets back the recovery of burned forests.

Whether you agree or disagree with Donato's conclusions, the attempts to surpress this research was completely unethical and the people behind it should have been fired. OSU's strong ties to the forest products industry have tainted their ability to run a program free of academic lockdown.

The O's story also brought out something I hadn't heard before:

As the issue unfolded, a longtime faculty member wrote to Salwasser and other administrators that the reaction to Donato's research continued a "troublesome pattern" at the College of Forestry.

Fred Swanson, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service who holds a faculty appointment at the college, cited examples of hostile treatment of students and women. He also recalled the college's cancellation of a lecture by Gary Snyder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and environmentalist, after Snyder's son, an OSU student, was questioned about his father's forestry politics.

So much for the liberal colleges and liberal universities plaguing our nation. Its quite apparent that at least in this case..the plague is about as conservative as it gets.