Professor Dumped From Oil Spill Team Over Writings

Jim Salter, Tampa Bay Online, May 19, 2010

A St. Louis scientist who was among a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been removed from the group because of writings on his website, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.

Though considered a leading scientist, Katz’s website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings have stirred anger in the past and include postings defending homophobia and questioning the value of racial diversity efforts.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was not aware of Katz’s writings before selecting him for the panel, spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller said. It was not immediately clear how the department became aware of the writings.

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In another posting, Katz questioned the value of diversity efforts.

“The diversity movement is racist at its core,” he writes. “When dealing with people we should be concerned with intellect, talent, character and accomplishment. People aren’t dogs or cattle; race matters only to racists.”

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