A Penn State student is working to make sure Samuel Settle, chairman of Penn State's Young Americans for Freedom, isn't the only student voice on Climategate.
On the heels of Settle's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Penn State College Democrats President Jessica Pelliciotta said she disagrees with much of what her conservative counterpart said. The conference was held from Feb. 18 to 20 in Washington, D.C., during which Settle gave a two-minute speech on Penn State's investigation on Climategate.
In his speech, Settle said the internal investigation of Penn State professor Michael Mann was not thorough enough. But Pelliciotta and many other members of the College Democrats disagree with Settle's view.
"He's discrediting our university and our professors," Pelliciotta (junior-political science) said.
But Settle thinks the university is disgracing itself by not calling for an external investigation.
"This idea that it is somehow going to disgrace the university to have an external investigation is ridiculous," Settle (sophomore-political science and history) said. "It is almost tantamount to admitting guilt."
Penn State formed an internal panel to investigate Mann's research ethics after hundreds of illegally obtained e-mails regarding climate change data were leaked in November. Mann was cleared of three of the four charges of research misconduct in early February. One remaining charge is still under investigation.
Pelliciotta said Settle does not have the authority over the panel to question its findings. Not only does Pelliciotta oppose Settle's claim that an external investigation is needed, but she said she is also insulted by Settle equating being conservative to being right and being liberal to being wrong.
"He is very flawed in his beliefs and is deterring a lot of people from getting involved in politics," she said. "It's this type of thinking that doesn't allow our politicians to get stuff done."
Settle said he believes conservatives are closer to having the monopoly on being right than liberals are.
"If you don't think you are right on the issue, why do you have an opinion on it?" he said. "Am I supposed to stand up there and tell people something I don't believe is correct?"
While Pelliciotta said her views are not representative of the opinions of every member of College Democrats, she said many of the members were upset about the speech and are looking to take action.
"We need to start putting
our opinions out there," Pelliciotta said. "We can't let a small majority of people act like the majority."