Investigation Obstructed

An Analysis of the SUNY-Ordered University at Buffalo Review of the Shale Resources and Society Institute

Last month, the University at Buffalo released the report it prepared at the direction of the State University of New York (SUNY) trustees regarding its Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI). At their September meeting, the SUNY trustees unanimously called on UB to account for the funding, staffing, and origin of the controversial institute as well as any influence the natural gas industry may have had over SRSI, its directors, or its output.

SRSI made headlines this spring when Buffalo’s Artvoice revealed SRSI’s theretofore unknown existence and again when PAI reviewed its first report finding the study severely lacking in academic rigor. The institute has since become a lightning rod for controversy, inspiring the formation of UB CLEAR, a coalition of UB faculty, staff, students, and alumni advocating transparency at SRSI and making headlines around the state and country.

UB’s report omits many critical documents which are either publicly available or have become publicly available through document requests. UB’s report also excludes important events from the timeline detailing the founding of SRSI, such as fundraising trips to Houston by SRSI founders. It also fails to address a critical, indisputable error in this spring’s SRSI report which would have fundamentally altered the industry-friendly findings UB’s public relations team disseminated.

Today, PAI released a new report to SUNY trustees detailing the deflections and critical omissions that comprise UB’s inquiry into SRSI. The report reviews this error, attempts to clarify the timeline of SRSI’s inception and funding, and supplies a number of relevant materials omitted from UB’s review of the institute. The report includes four sections: first, a recapitulation of the most serious error in the SRSI report; second, a discussion of the university’s various accounts of SRSI’s funding; third, a series of unanswered questions about SRSI; and fourth, attachments omitted by the university in its report.

The letter to trustees, report, press release, and attachments to the report are linked below.

Letter to SUNY trustees »

Full report »

Press release »

The report includes a list of attached documents relevant to SRSI, its founding, and its first report which UB administrators did not release to SUNY trustees. These documents are linked below:

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