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UEA complains to the Guardian

UEA has complained to the Guardian about Heather Brooke's article about FOI and universities. They object to her saying that they broke the FOI laws. Heather is surprised by their gall. I don't suppose many readers here are though.

No doubt the complaint goes along the lines of "nobody has been found guilty of anything", which of course is a different question to whether anyone broke the law. There is no doubt that UEA staff broke the FOI laws, but no, nobody has been found guilty of anything.

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Reader Comments (30)

I think the poor traduced UEA should take Heather to court. Then we should see justice.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Could someoneplease post a link to the letter to UEA, stating that they must comply with FOI requests?

It seems UEA like drawing attention to themselves about this sort of thing. Has any other University been sent such a letter?

Many thanks

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

IIRC, the Information Commissioner made some comment to the effect that he could not take action because of the 6-month limitation but that there was prima facie evidence of an offence.
Stand by your story, Heather.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Brooke linked to a James Randerson article in the Guardian dated 27 Jan 2010, clearly entitled 'University in hacked climate change emails row broke FOI rules'.

Surely the time for UEA to complain to the paper was then? Or perhaps not, as Randerson was only reporting the findings of the Deputy Information Commissioner.

UEA just don't like to be reminded of their naughtiness.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Just in case Heather gets hauled before her editors, does anyone have further evidence that she may use in her defence, and perhaps turn into a good piece of journalism?

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

UEA have form with trying to surpress debate, pity they did not learn from how it went last time.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreathe of Fresh Air

UEA are a PR disaster, the comment made in the Guardian was only a couple of sentences in a much larger article about FoI. The facts well known and clear.

I only found out because, a Guardian journalist i follow retweeted, Heather Brookes tweet about "the gall of UEA" making a complaint about it.

I retweeted it, as I see have many others and now we are all talking about UEA again,

AND most importantly, UEA and CRU in the eyes of ever more journalists have a strange grasp of reality andjudgement, not least after their involvement with the Outside Organisation, which spun stories to THE PRESS has also been made public, whose staff have just been arrested for very bad behaviour with ref to New of the World, a Rupert Murdoch coonection, and phone hacking scandal

Maybe some journalists are realising that some of the people in some of the departments are not that bright..

Another own goal (just a small amusing one... Gall! )

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Do they really have no common sense at all?

After all the time, effort and money they have spent trying to reclaim their reputation, they now choose to argue about this?! The information Commissioner made absolutely plain at the time that they had broken the rules. They were bang to rights, and the only reason they were not prosecuted is because of the ridiculous six-month rule.

Please, please, please let them persist against Heather Brooks. Because the last lot of institutional deceivers who did that came off really well, didn't they?

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Easy to sort this one out.

Someone send a FOI request to UEA asking them for any recorded instance of UEA having broken the FOI law.

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu


.....or having been found by the Information Commissioner, to have not complied with FOI legislation

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Would you pay £9,000 pa to send the beloved fruit of your loins to UEA for three years to get a degree?

Were I in funds, I'd gladly pay that amount to be as far away as poss. from the unctuous Acton, the slippery Phil Jones and the smooth and slimy Trevor Davies.

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder


Forgot 'loathsome' above. Fit it in anywhere that suits is applicable just about everywhere.

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

With each successive gaffe by UEA, they further damage the employability of their graduates, and waste more of the tuition fees of their undergraduates.

Why isn't the Student Union raising this with the Vice Chancellor?

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

UEA broke FoI law said Times Higher on 28 Jan 2010.

"The University of East Anglia broke the law by refusing to release data requested under the Freedom of Information Act by climate-change sceptics, a watchdog has ruled."

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

When are they going to learn that you should never point a gun at your foot?

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

From the front page summary of Decision Notice FER0238017

The Commissioner has found that the public authority breached regulation 14(2) of the EIR by failing to provide a response to a request within 20 working days and breached regulation 5(2) by failing to provide a response to other requests.

Of course UEA broke the law.

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

PaulM, nice link, presumably not previously noticed by anyone in UEA as it was in a journal they never read

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

UEA obviously don't know the difference between.

1. Breaking the law.

2. Being charged with breaking the law.

3. Being prosecuted with breaking the law.

UEA broke the law but were never charged or prosecuted.

Perhaps the editor of the Guardian should resign in response and offer an apology?

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Any way to get sight of the actual complaint from the Nonsenical Numpties of Norfolk?

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer, I am sure that If Michelle was made aware of this thread, it would be the least she could do, by way of a thank you, for all the free help provided.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

When faced with a rather dim patient GPs used to mark their notes NFN (normal for Norfolk) I believe. This might be the response here too.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrooks

Actual CRU have been found to be in breach of the FOI , its was a minor case not one in which they got away with it by running the clock down , but not I think was not UEA which I think it what there hiding behind . As ever terminology can be all important .

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

As for Heather Brooke its not UEA she has to worry about , the Guardains full , total and blind commitment to AGW comes from the top it is editorial policy, so she better be careful what she says about the beloved CRU.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Apologies for Michelle read Heather

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

In the past week or so Heather has had a go at both Julian Assange and the UEA.

If she's not careful she'll be excommunicated from Guardian world.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

All articles regarding theis university should start " The discredited UEA have...................... The information commissioner could not prosecute because of some time limit. It is a shame he didn't use the laws against conspiracy where there is no time limit?

Sep 6, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

@ golf charley

Why isn't the Student Union raising this with the Vice Chancellor?

At a guess, because the kind of people who run student unions see them as a way of obtaining money, conscripts and legitimacy to support loony causes. It is the block vote principle in action.

Since climate science is an invention of the left, and student unions are creatures of the left, the UEA students' union probably sees this as an excellent way for the university to spend other people's money promoting causes dear to the left - as a blinder well played, no doubt.

As for the university itself, well, you only need three Bs to get into UEA. So if, as seems likely, the management is as intellectually mediocre as the student body, they are probably as inequipped as each other to figure out whether this is a good idea or not.

Sep 6, 2011 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act when handling requests by climate change sceptics (the university escaped prosecution because the case came to light outside the six-month time limit for cases to be brought)."

So I wonder which part of this UEA disagrees with?



Sep 6, 2011 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

So what are the mechanisms that translate being a jerk into being a poor decision-maker? Jerks tend to think their own perspectives are the only ones worth considering, but good decisions require serious consideration of alternatives. Jerks think they're never wrong, but good decisions require acknowledging and learning from mistakes. Jerks are consumed with petty resentments and grievances, but good decisions require clear-headed, objective thinking. Jerks alienate other people, but good decisions require collaboration across a social network. This falls short of a complete description of either jerkdom or decision excellence, but you get the picture.

Jerks often seem to get ahead in firms and advance through the ranks, but that's a dangerous phenomenon. If you want good decisions in your organization, don't hire, promote, or retain jerks.

Sep 6, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Davenport

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