Home > Uncategorized > Is There a Hostile Climate For Scientists At Rutgers?

Is There a Hostile Climate For Scientists At Rutgers?

(Source:  PEER graphic)

(Source: PEER graphic)


An important caveat in a NJ Spotlight story yesterday caught my eye.

NJ Spotlight reporter Scott Gurian prefaced a quote by Rutgers professor Rick Lathrop with this curious eliptical caveat: (emphasis mine)

According to Professor Richard Lathrop, who runs the Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis at the Rutgers Climate Institute (and who stated he was not speaking on behalf of the university or any of his colleagues), scientists have calculated an 85 percent chance that sea levels along the Jersey Shore will rise more than one foot by the middle of the century, and an 8 percent chance that they could exceed two feet. So he noted the new federal standards are within the bounds of the higher end of those projections.

Why would Lathrop feel the need to distance his opinions from Rutgers or his colleagues?

Isn’t the fact that he is a Rutgers professor important to both Rutgers and the strength of Lathrop’s expertise, findings, and credibility?

Isn’t the fact that Lathrop works with world class scientists at Rutgers something to be proud of and boast about?

Perhaps Lathrop is aware of the recent political attack on fellow Rutgers professor Julia Sass Rubin, a tenured faculty member and researcher at Rutgers University’s Edward Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. For that story, see Bob Braun’s piece:

Or, a little closer to where Lathrop actually works, perhaps Lathrop is aware of the Christie DEP’s attack on fellow Rutgers professor, scientist Mike Kennish,  who criticized DEP and Governor Christie Barnegat Bay Management Plan, a controversy that we alluded to in this recent report, see:

I’ve long sensed some trepidation on the part of and been critical of Rutgers climate scientists for soft peddling their  findings and evading key policy issues inherent in their work, see:

Bucking that trend, I was enormously pleased to read recently that Rutgers scientists were calling on Gov. Christie to veto a bill that would threaten Liberty State Park, see:

It’s no secret that right wing climate deniers and energy corporations have waged a war on climate science and the scientists who do that work.

So, while Lathrop’s caveat is disturbing, it is understandable that scientists would have some concerns about public reaction or political retribution for discussing their work.

Still, the thought that such a climate of fear could be present in a so called liberal northeastern state is deeply troubling.

That’s why PEER set up national program to defend scientists, called the Science Legal Resource Center.

So, if you’re experiencing difficulties along these lines, give them a shout – contact info and links to documents in the above link.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.