The University of Delaware has decided that conservative groups questioning “climate change” are not entitled to requested items under “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) rules.

Compare that to their treatment of such noted purveyors of science and reason — like Greenpeace!

In December, 2009, David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who was the Delaware State Climatologist from 2005 to 2011, received a FOIA request from Greenpeace. It sought Legates’ “e-mail correspondence and financial and conflict of interest disclosures” “in the possession of or generated by the Office of the Delaware State Climatologist” from January 1, 2000, concerning “global climate change.” Legates is an outspoken critic of the evidence used to show the human effect on climate.

Under Delaware state law, FOIA requests to the University for a faculty member’s academic materials are limited to activities supported by state funding. During Legates’ tenure, the State Climate Office received no state (or University) funding. Nor did Legates receive any state funds for his work as State Climatologist, and the State Climate Office never undertook activities concerning “global climate change.” In short, none of Legates’ work fell within the scope of the FOIA request.

Nevertheless, UD Vice President and General Counsel. Lawrence White, decided that Legates must provide more than Greenpeace had requested, not only all State Climate Office documents, but all documents he had on global climate change, whether or not Greenpeace had requested them. White’s expansive list, covering all of Legates’ teaching, research and service materials going back to 2000, included work unrelated to the State Climate Office, whether conducted on Legates’ own time or on University time, through his personal e-mail or his University e-mail, on his personal computer or a University computer, both in hard files and on computer disks. …

…A month after Greenpeace’s request to Legates, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an opponent of Greenpeace, filed a nearly identical FOIA request with UD for information on three other Delaware faculty members. These three had contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group often (and recently) warning of the catastrophic effects of global warning. White said no, “because the information you seek does not relate to the expenditure of public funds.” When asked to explain the disparate treatment, White told Legates that he (Legates) did not understand the law. Muddling his own argument, White said that while the law did not require him to give Greenpeace all the documents he had requested from Legates, the law did not prohibit him from requiring Legates to produce them. His authority as a “senior University official” evidently trumped Delaware law and University policy. Under pressure, Legates submitted all the demanded materials in March, 2010…….This is not the first time the University of Delaware has violated a faculty member’s academic freedom and tried to silence controversial research.