Controversial Researcher Sues UCLA to Keep Job

James E. Enstrom, a researcher in the University of California at Los Angeles’s School of Public Health whose work has been controversial for defying the conventional wisdom about the harmful effects of air pollution, is suing the university to keep his job. The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday on behalf of Mr. Enstrom by the American Center for Law and Justice and David French, a former president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is the latest chapter in a long-running fight between the researcher and the university, which said it had denied his reappointment because his work was not aligned with his department’s stated mission and did not meet its financial requirements. In the lawsuit, Mr. Enstrom asserts that UCLA retaliated against him for criticizing air-pollution research and for his whistle-blowing efforts, which led a colleague to step down from a scientific-review panel of the state’s air-resources board.

Update, 6:30pm: In an official statement, UCLA “strongly disputes” the allegations, claiming that Enstrom had a “full and fair hearing.” For non-tenured appointees such as Enstrom, the procedure for grievances includes an independent review, a full hearing with documentary evidence and witness testimony, legal arguments, and recommendations made by an independent officer. These recommendations and findings are considered confidential by the university.

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