Speaking before the nation's premier conservative conference in Washington, D.C., Penn State student Samuel Settle explained why he's protesting the university's investigation into Penn State professor Michael Mann.
Settle, chairman of Penn State's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and other students from organizations at Penn State attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where Settle gave a two-minute speech as part of the conference's Stars of the Future panel.
In his speech, Settle said the investigation of Mann's role in "Climategate" wasn't thorough enough.
"Young Americans for Freedom demanded an external investigation," he said to a crowd of about 3,000 conservatives. "We didn't do this because we're conservatives, we did this because the investigation the university conducted was wrong, and it was the right thing to do to call for a real investigation."
An internal report of Mann's role in the scandal is still underway, though he has been cleared of three of the four allegations.
At the end of his speech, Settle urged the audience to sign a petition calling for an external investigation of Mann.
CPAC, which ran from Thursday to Saturday, also featured speakers such as former Vice President Dick Cheney and Marco Rubio, a candidate for a 2010 Florida Senate seat.
James Tuttle, a member of Penn State College Republicans as well as YAF, attended the conference and said keynote speaker Glenn Beck gave a great speech.
"I enjoyed his speech the most," Tuttle (junior-media studies) said. "He strongly communicated conservative values I agree with."
Tuttle also said Settle's speech went over well.
"Sam really got the crowd to respond positively," he said. "Afterwards, a lot of people told him he did a good job."
Both students said one reason they enjoyed CPAC was because it proved to be a learning experience as well.
Settle said the conference was a "new experience" because he had never given a speech in front of a crowd that size before.
And listening to the speech from Rubio, Settle's favorite at the conference, inspired him to keep working for what he believes in politically.
"It really impressed upon we that if you don't go out and fight for what you believe in, things will go to hell in a handbasket," Settle said.
Tuttle said that with the number of students at CPAC -- about 5,000 -- the conference was a chance for young people "to understand what conservatism is about and how it can help the country."