UCLA Professor Fired For Politically-Incorrect Findings on Pollution
For more detailed information, check the FIRE website.
What the professor (James Enstrom) did was to publish scientific research that was politically incorrect. He reported finding no correlation between particulate pollution and death rates. The ran afoul of the interests of the environmental lobby, and some of his colleagues.
He also discovered that the lead author on a study that claimed to find a large number of deaths from particulate pollution had lied about his Ph.D.
The analogy to the “global warming” issue is obvious, and has been discussed here.
We have indeed published politically incorrect research. When Democratic Governor Doyle appointed a commission to study “disproportionate” incarceration of blacks in Wisconsin, we did a study showing that all the “disproportion” was the result of disproportionate criminal activity.
We experienced some blowback from the usual suspects, but nothing serious since (1.) we have tenure, (2.) neither any of our colleagues nor anybody with power over us has a vested interest in the issue, and (3.) we violated the canons of racial political correctness, but not gender political correctness nor gay political correctness. The latter are what politically correct academics care about these days.
But this shows how fragile notions of “academic freedom” are. Professor Glenn Reynolds notes that:
A cynic might suggest, of course, that notions of academic freedom were developed in the first half of the 20th century largely in order to protect communists from being fired, and that since Enstrom isn’t a communist, academic freedom shouldn’t apply . . . .Clearly, academics are not a particularly tolerant lot, and the administrators who run academia have little vision, and at best do little to temper the authoritarianism of faculty, and at worst are fully on board with it.