Environmental group wants U-Minnesota VP's resignation

Around the height of the Troubled Waters controversy, the Land Stewardship Project called for the head of Karen Himle, vice president for university relations at the University of Minnesota, for her role in the mess — if she was “deemed responsible for the decision.”

Looks like the release of e-mails has only strengthened its call for her to step down.

This evening the project put out the announcement below. I’ve put the Himle section in bold.

LSP Statement on U of M ‘Troubled Waters’ Apology

In a statement issued today by University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks and vice-president of University Relations Karen Himle, the officials apologized for the manner in which the censoring of the film “Troubled Waters” was handled.

They also defended the existing and obviously broken policy that allowed an important film to be censored despite being thoroughly and scientifically vetted.

The Land Stewardship Project is deeply troubled that throughout this process President Bruininks has failed to take leadership on making sure that academic freedom and scientific inquiry were protected at our land grant university. Today’s statement is just one more example that he is unwilling to reform what is obviously an ineffective policy and is willing to defend a vice-president that puts concerns about offending corporate agriculture over the public good.

Today’s statement fails to acknowledge the obvious conflict of interest that exists as a result of Karen Himle’s connections to the Agri Growth Council, Minnesota’s largest and most prominent promoter of corporate agriculture. Allowing a public relations official to arbitrarily cancel the showing of a publicly funded documentary is inexcusable and demonstrates that academic freedom at the U of M is at risk.

The Land Stewardship Project calls on President Bruininks to show true leadership by calling for the resignation of vice president Karen Himle and by implementing a policy review to ensure future decision-making that is transparent and free of conflicts of interest.