ALBANY, Ore. — A chemistry instructor at Oregon State University suspects he is out of a job because he’s a critic of the idea that human activity is changing the climate, but the school hasn’t said why his contract wasn’t renewed.
Nick Drapela, 47, earned his doctorate at the school and has taught chemistry there for 10 years.
He says, though, that when he started going against the scientific grain on climate change, he got the cold shoulder, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported Monday.
“As soon as I began publicly questioning the global warming theory and giving skeptical talks about the subject (in) 2008, I stopped receiving any awards or raises,” he wrote in an email.
On May 29, Drapela said, his department chairman since Feb. 1, Rich Carter, told him that his year-to-year contract would not be renewed. It runs through September.
But Carter told him “this is not the time or place” to say why, Drapela said
A school official said privacy laws kept OSU from disclosing why Drapela was let go.
“Oregon State does not make personnel decisions based on people’s outside activities or beliefs,” said Steve Clark, vice president for university relations and marketing.
Drapela described himself as “probably the most visibly outspoken critic of the global warming doctrine at OSU … I think they finally just said, ‘We can’t have this.”’
Administrators told Drapela reasons for the decision were in his personnel file, but it contains nothing relevant, said his lawyer, Ben Rosenthal of Portland.
It contains no warning or any comment from the current department head, only routine comments from the previous chairman that came a few days before the contract was renewed last year.
“We’ll find out eventually,” Rosenthal said. “They’ll have to say it in court.”