Jon Jonakin, letter to the editor (H-C), April 6

Letter to the editor:

Tom Jones’ letter to the editor on April 3rd exemplifies the willful ignorance and even thuggish attitude of those who seek to protect the TTU administration in the wake of the TTU/Fitzgerald Glider Kit (FGK) research scandal and the ensuing investigation.  Jones, the Chairman of TTU’s governing Board of Trustees, singles out for condemnation and threats those TTU faculty who have ‘passed judgment’ on the widely criticized research report, suggesting that their opinions are flawed since they have ‘no access’ to the full report.  In this regard, Jones walks in lock step with TTU President Phil Oldham who has used the fact that Fitzgerald owns the research and has thus far failed to disclose the entire ‘report’ as a tiny, insufficient fig leaf to attempt to hide what is clearly administrative indiscretion.  Moreover, Jones walks in lock step with FGK’s thuggish legal maneuvers when Jones asserts that faculty may have ‘violated policy’ by critiquing the research.

Whatever critiques of the TTU/Fitzgerald research that TTU faculty and others such as myself have made are based entirely on what IS KNOWN and is part of an expanding public record; a record that was developed by experts in environmental testing and law and based on the existing report and follow up interviews with the non-credentialed TTU administrator—Associate Vice President Tom Brewer–who carried out the research and wrote the now infamous report.   The public record cited by faculty is clear, unambiguous, and uniformly scathing in its account of the failings of the TTU research.  In addition, the two TTU administrators who are directly involved in this mess—Brewer and Vice President Bharat Soni–have already incriminated themselves in public statements made before the TTU Faculty Senate wherein they appeared to implicate themselves in a scheme of procedural malfeasance.

Both Jones and Oldham need to ask: if FGK ‘owns’ additional, non-disclosed data that would refute the current criticism of the existing report, why have they not released it?  The fact that FGK has not released further data speaks volumes and tells us with near certainty that there is nothing more to learn that will reverse the conclusions already drawn.   Considering all this, Jones’ dismissals of, and threats toward, those speaking up about this scandal smack of, again, willful ignorance and thuggishness and suggest that the leadership of TTU’s governing Board is failing miserably in its oversight role.


Jon Jonakin, Emeritus Professor of Economics, TTU

1345 Inglewood Drive, Cookeville


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