BUFFALO, N.Y. - An unexpected announcement from U.B. Monday afternoon with word that the university has decided to close its Shale Resources and Society Institute. Critics had accused the institute of concealing ties to the oil and gas industry, and being less than forthcoming about its sources of funding.
In a letter to the campus community, Tripathi said, "It is imperative that our faculty members adhere to rigorous standards of academic integrity, intellectual honesty, transparency, and the highest ethical conduct in their work."
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The decision comes after an internal assessment by University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi, Provost Charles Zukoski and E. Bruce Pitman, dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.
"Because of these collective concerns, I have decided to close the Shale Resources and Society Institute," Tripathi's letter states, "the university will continue to pursue research in the area of energy and the environment, leveraging faculty expertise across the university, but it will focus its research more broadly to establish a comprehensive program of scholarship and education with appropriate breadth and complexity."
Tripathi's letter also said that a committee has been formed to clarify UB's policies governing the disclosure of funding sources for future academic research.
Environmental groups have been critical of the institute since May, when it released its first report. The report concluded that state regulators in Pennsylvania have improved oversight of the gas drilling industry and New York's regulations will prevent major environmental impacts.
A coalition of faculty, staff, students and alumni subsequently questioned its academic integrity and called for an inquiry into the institute's industry ties.
University of Buffalo/AP