Atop a milk crate, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) member Samuel Settle called on Penn State to protect its reputation by conducting an outside review of meteorology professor Michael Mann.
Armed with signs and handouts, members from at least six organizations gathered Friday to express opposing views of the climate change debate that has taken root at Penn State.
Climate change critics bundled up to brace the cold and listen to speakers, holding posters with slogans like "Mann-made Climate Change."
Since the university decided to look into Mann's research through an internal investigation, multiple groups have accused Penn State of "whitewashing" the issue by reviewing its own professor. Calling for an outside investigation, the Penn State Young Americans for Freedom and the 9-12 Project of Central Pennsylvania used Friday's demonstration in front of the HUB-Robeson Center as an opportunity to express their disapproval.
Settle said the inquiry -- the results of which were published in a 10-page document earlier this month -- is not what he expects from a major research university.
"I am not a climatologist," Settle (sophomore-history and political science) said. "I'm just here to call for an external investigation. At some point, you just get too close to something to see it anymore."
The inquiry regarding Mann's research began last November after hundreds of illegally obtained e-mails were leaked from a private server in the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Critics say these e-mails imply Mann and his colleagues may have distorted evidence supporting climate change. A university ethics inquiry concluded Jan. 29, with the panel clearing Mann of three of the four suspected charges. The panel of Penn State employees determined that a further investigation was necessary into the fourth charge, which alleges Mann undermined "public trust in science."
At the rally, a representative from conservative research center Commonwealth Foundation came to support YAF and handed out copies of a press release outlining the Foundation's opinions. But environmental groups -- including the 3E-COE, Eco-Action and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) -- also sent representatives to the demonstration, many to support Mann.
Ed Perry, organizer for the NWF climate change campaign, said he is offended that others are questioning Mann's research and ethics and performing what he called "a character assassination of one of Penn State's finest climate scientists."