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… University of Iowa professor is dumping on ethanol, and this pisses me off so I write to my buddy – President Pro Tem, Regents, University of Iowa, and I say Bruce, what the fuck?  So Bruce – prominent contributor to Governor Brandstad’s campaigns, by the way, and himself an ethanol guy – contacts the university’s president and complains about this “uninformed” professor who says bad things about ethanol and Bruce says let’s do an intervention,  have him talk to the industry, etc.  And she says sure, and next thing you know this guy – just because he criticized ethanol at an academic conference – has the university president and industry and a trustee breathing down his neck!


Is this a great country or what?

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6 Responses to “So I’m a corporate ethanol guy, and I go to a conference where some ….”

  1. Mr Punch Says:

    Happens all the time. Iowa is just not the right place to be anti-ethanol — as, for example, Massachusetts is not the right place to question the effectiveness of anti-missile defenses. Why we have tenure.

  2. Alan Allport Says:

    “Why we have tenure.

    I was thinking the same thing. This is a textbook case-study of the value of that much-maligned institution – and no doubt the reason why Schnoor seems to have been remarkably relaxed about the whole affair.

  3. Brian Ogilvie Says:

    If Monte Shaw’s point was simply to get information to Prof. Schnoor, he could easily have looked up Schnoor’s email or postal address and sent it (or have his PR department do it). Getting a regent involved makes me suspicious. Again, why we have tenure.

  4. dmf Says:

    and why there won’t be tenure in the future, especially in state schools….

  5. John Murray Says:

    “Aha, the old pamphlet no. 5 trick!” Maxwell Smart might have said.

    In the economics oral/urban legend tradition the state of Iowa holds a prominent place in the genesis of tenure. During WWII TW Schultz at Iowa State proposed in a gray literature publication that margarine made a pretty good substitute for butter. Dairy interests had a fit, and when the president of ISC tried to issue a revised pamphlet no. 5, fifteen faculty resigned, including Schultz, a future Nobelist.

    These episodes show that tenure has not outlived its usefulness.

  6. Jack/OH Says:

    John Murray, I scanned quickly the link you provided, which seemed to me extraordinarily interesting. Locally, there’s suggestive, anecdotal evidence that some faculty are indeed willing to draw upon their ties to area interests to whomp the bejesus out of a colleague who crosses some intellectual line.

    BTW-does tenure alone offer the protection for intellectual inquiry its proponents claim? I can easily imagine a tenure-protected prof caving in to harassment, intimidation, false allegations, etc.

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