Author: Joshua Thompson
As you may recall, as a result of PLF's lawsuit, the University of California President recently nominated five new members to the Scientific Review Panel (SRP), an independent scientific body that advises the California Air Resources Board. Previous members of the SRP had served significantly longer than they were statutorily authorized to do, and PLF challenged their de facto tenure on this independent body. Injecting new scientists into the SRP is not only statutorily required every three years, but it also makes sense to have periodic turnover on a body with such influence on a California regulators.
PLF was tipped off to the illegal SRP members by James Enstrom, a researcher in UCLA's School of Public Health for the past 34 years. In the past, Dr. Enstrom has been openly critical of the Air Resources Board's promulgation of strict regulations on diesel engine emissions. Now comes the news that Dr. Enstrom's appointment this year was not renewed by UCLA. Dr. Enstrom felt that his views on the diesel regulations and his whistleblowing to PLF with respect to the SRP were the reasons behind UCLA's decision not to renew him.
But Dr. Enstrom is not sitting idle. He enlisted the help of our friends from FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE wrote UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block on August 26, 2010, pointing out that it is unconstitutional to refuse to rehire a faculty member because of his protected expression. FIRE's letter worked. FIRE reports that "[o]n August 30, Enstrom learned in an e-mail from Associate Dean for Administration Kathleen Kiser that his appointment was again being extended to March 31, 2011, pending the outcome of his formal challenges regarding his treatment."
For more information and the latest happenings in this case, please read FIRE's latest press release.