A panel of Penn State faculty and staff concluded the inquiry of Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann this weekend and is slated to release its "Climategate" findings later in the week, university officials said.
The end of the two-month inquiry marks a major point in the worldwide climate debate. Penn State's inquiry began after hundreds of illegally obtained e-mails were leaked last November from a private server in the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, containing comments critics say suggest Mann and his colleagues may have distorted climate change evidence.
The inquiry's findings will
determine if the university will further investigate Mann's work. Penn State President
Graham Spanier addressed the inquiry and the panel's work during the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 22.
"I know they've taken the time and spent hundreds of hours studying documents and interviewing people and looking at issues from all sides," Spanier said.
But conservative groups are already mobilizing to respond to the university's findings. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) -- a Penn State student group working to "advance the principles of individual and economic freedom, limited government and traditional values" -- has taken an interest in the Mann inquiry.
On Feb. 12, YAF will host a demonstration in front of the HUB to protest what the group feels is a violation of academic integrity, YAF member Samuel Settle said. The 9-12 Project of Central PA, a conservative group, will join the demonstration.
Settle (sophomore-political science and history) said the university's handling of the inquiry unsettles him.
"What the university has done is they've taken three Penn State employees and assigned them to deciding whether or not Mann violated university policy," he said. "That's an awful lot of power in the hands of three with no external oversight."