Media Contacts

Office of Media Relations
2121 Eye St., NW
Rice Hall 5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20052

Phone: 202-994-6460
Fax: 202-994-9025
E-mail: [email protected]


“The Tension Between Academic Freedom and State Open Records Laws: Is There Need for Re-Examination?”

This Conference is Hosted by GW Law, April 1
March 28, 2014

Angela Olson, 202-994-3087; [email protected]                           
Liz Field, 202-994-5609; [email protected]

The George Washington University Law School and The National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law host a conference to explore how open records (FOIA) laws can affect academic freedom. The discussion will center on a Virginia Supreme Court case in which emails sent and received by a former University of Virginia faculty member are being sought by a group that holds a differing view on his climate change research.

The conference has two main goals: to inform faculty and the general public that FOIA laws can have serious consequences for academic freedom and to explore solutions that both preserve academic freedom and recognize the right of the public to know how state funds are used.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014; 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The George Washington University Law School
The Jacob Burns Moot Court Room
2000 H St., NW, Washington, D.C., 20052
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Orange and Blue lines)

Media interested in attending should contact Angela Olson at 202-994-3087 [email protected] or
Liz Field at 202-994-5609, 202-510-1702 or [email protected].  

9:30 a.m.: Welcome
9:40 a.m.: The Basic Problem
10:10 a.m.: Panel I: The UVA Case
11:30 a.m.: Panel II: The Rationales for Disclosure & Withholding More Generally
12:45 p.m.: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: Panel III: Possible Solutions
3:00 p.m.: Panel IV: Special Questions and Problems

Panel speakers will include counsel for the American Tradition Institute, the University of Virginia, and the faculty member whose records were requested in the case.
•    David W. Schnare, lead counsel for the requesters in American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia (ATI v. UVA)

•    Madelyn F. Wessel, associate general counsel, University of Virginia; co-counsel for the university in ATI v. UVA

•    Peter J. Fontaine, partner, Cozen & O’Connor; counsel for Michael Mann, whose records were requested in ATI v. UVA

Other participants will include representatives of nonprofits and co-counsels for amici curiae. For a full list of speakers, please visit:

GW Law, long recognized as one of the top law schools in the country, pursues a distinctive research and learning mission that engages the leading law and policy questions of our time and provides students with an education that will position them to help change the world. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, the Law School was founded in 1865 and was the first law school in the District of Columbia.