Statement from E. Bruce Pitman, PhD, Dean of the College of
Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo:
The University at Buffalo views academic freedom as a core
principle. Faculty members are free to conduct research on any
topic, including controversial ones, and to disseminate their
findings without prior review or approval by the university. The
university's role is to create a forum for objective research and
informed debate--not to dictate the positions taken by its faculty
Under this principle, the findings presented in a recent report
produced by the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) are
the work of the authors, and any conclusions drawn are their views,
not the views of the institution. Any questions related to the
analysis and interpretation of the data must be referred to the
The College of Arts and Sciences formed the Shale Resources and
Society Institute (SRSI) in April 2012, with the goal of providing
scientific research and analysis on all sides of the issues
surrounding shale gas.
This topic is important and timely, and the work of such an
institute is fully consistent with the university's mission of
teaching, research and public service.
On May 15, the institute released its first report,
"Environmental Impacts During Marcellus Shale Drilling: Causes,
Impacts and Remedies."
In the days since, some criticisms of the authors' conclusions
have been raised. UB will examine all relevant concerns, in
accordance with the university's strong commitment to academic and
There also have been questions raised about funding for the
institute and for the report. UB has received no industry funding
for SRSI. The institute's expenses and the salary of its part-time
director, John P. Martin, have been paid entirely by the College of
Arts and Sciences using discretionary funds, which come from
sources that include indirect cost recovery from research grants,
investment income and unrestricted gifts.
The University at Buffalo remains committed to conducting
research and providing opportunities for public debate on subjects
of vital importance, including questions related to shale gas,
other alternative energy sources and the environment.