Who at the U had concerns about Troubled Waters?

So far I’ve found references — some of them second-hand — indicating that President Bob Bruininks, associate deans Jay Bell and Gregory Cuomo, associate professor Jeff Strock, deans Bev Durgan and Al Levine had concerns about the film.

Strock does not appear to have been on the original review panel, however, and Levine seems to have suggested that the U not delay the film.

From a Sept. 9 e-mail from Bell Museum Director Susan Weller to to Bell Coordinator Barb Coffin:

… One of the factors that has contributed to my decision is that I have been told that one of your biggest supporters, President Bruininks, is now alarmed by the film’s content.

… Another factor … is the lack of support among the Dean’s council for the film. They need to be on the frontline with politicians and other stakeholders. The fact that two take serious issues with the facts of the film is troubling. Associate Dean Jay Bell (tenure home: soil, water and climate) has now finally viewed the film and expressed concerns as well.

From a Sept. 7 e-mail from Dean Bev Durgan (who was on the review list) to Karen Himle and Al Levine:

I just spoke with Jeff Strock about the video. He has not seen the entire video — even though he asked to see the final version several times. He did try to provide input into the content (other than his section) but met a lot of resistance. He was very relieved to hear that the video was probably not going to be shown. He was not happy with the overall experience.

From an e-mail redacted by the university. I believe the dates are on or around Sept. 5, and it appears to be an e-mail exchange between Associate Dean Gregory Cuomo (who appears to have been on the original review panel) and Rob Blair.


“Lastly, several of us have seen the final version of the upcoming TPT show “Troubled Waters.” From some of our perspectives, it presents an inflammatory view of agriculture. Peoples’ opinion of what is “balanced” varies. We are preparing for some potential responses. …”


Interesting comment about “Troubled Waters.” I am curious to hear who is included in the “several of us” who are concerned about the content of the project and why. What elements of the film are inflammatory? Are there factual errors in the film? …

Karen Himle seems to remark in an e-mail that Dean Bev Durgan, who appears to have been on the original review panel, believed (in Himle’s words) that the film was “not based in science.”

And from Dean Al Levine, in a Sept. 8 e-mail to President Bruininks and Karen Himle:

In my opinion the documentary/film is unbalanced journalism. However, stopping the film will appear as censorship.