Barbara Coffin, head of the film unit at the U's Bell Museum of Natural History, described the TW fiasco as "our messy internal confusion" to the Star Tribune. She added, "Unfortunately, an impulsive late-hour decision to pull the film from broadcast was made without wide internal discussion." The STRIB also reports that The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has filed a legal request to obtain information about why the documentary was canceled.
David Brauer of the Minnesota Post reports on other cases of industry influence on the U, which resulted in the pulling of a story by a writer who had previously written an article that included some criticism of ethanol. Himle was involved in this case as well and also invoked the word "balance." (Seems like university relations understands balance as giving industry's perspective the same weight as peer-reviewed science...)
Molly Priesmeyer of the Daily Planet tackles the academic freedom angle, with some choice quotes from this blog and Cary Nelson:
"Perhaps Minnesota's public relations office hopes to deflect attention from Troubled Waters by creating a troubled campus," said Nelson, author of the book No University is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom.
"Academic freedom applies to creative projects like films, just as it applies to conventional research," Nelson said. "Of course, if the filmmakers agreed contractually to some form of oversight or approval by the University, that's another matter. If not, the PR office's action is both bizarre and unacceptable."Bizarre and unacceptable indeed. She also had the opportunity to view a copy of the film in the possession of one of the major funders of the project.
Finally, the Daily published an op-ed about "Troubled Waters" in today's paper.