Thank you for acknowledging the University of Virginia’s agreement to provide us certain records under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act [“Harassing researchers,” editorial, May 30]. Over the past 18 months, U-Va. employed a series of ever-changing rationales to avoid doing so. Of course, like U-Va., The Post failed to articulate an argument grounded in the statute for treating one class of records, or people, differently from the rest of those expressly covered by the act’s terms as a condition of taxpayer-funded employment.
But we take issue with the editorial’s failure to acknowledge a critical point: It is customary among commonwealth universities to provide such records of academics, even the specific class of records we are seeking. For example, U-Va. began providing to Greenpeace records of former research professor Patrick Michaels, before Greenpeace suspended its request. And just this year George Mason University released correspondence of professor Edward Wegman regarding an already published paper, just as we seek former U-Va. assistant professor Michael Mann’s correspondence relating to his publications.