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U. Of California Debates Its Role In Managing Federal Weapons Labs

Does university management foster free inquiry at national weapons labs, or does it inhibit the university's own academic freedom? That's the question University of California Regents will face in September when they vote on a proposed renewal of the university's current contract to manage Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories for the Department of Energy. Although opponents of the nuclear arms race have long fought the university's 40-year oversight of the labs, faculty oppo

Marcia Clemmitt

Does university management foster free inquiry at national weapons labs, or does it inhibit the university's own academic freedom? That's the question University of California Regents will face in September when they vote on a proposed renewal of the university's current contract to manage Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories for the Department of Energy.

Although opponents of the nuclear arms race have long fought the university's 40-year oversight of the labs, faculty opposition appears to have hardened since the last vote by the regents five years ago to extend the contract.

"It's never been documented that more open discussion takes place at Los Alamos and Livermore than at labs otherwise managed," says physicist Walter Kohn, one of six members of an eight-person faculty committee that voted to sever the ties, "and there are flagrant cases where freedom of expression was denied at UC-managed labs." A recent vote showed...

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