• Jessica Colarossi

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    Photo of Jessica Colarossi. A white woman with long, straight brown hair and wearing a black and green paisley blouse smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Jessica Colarossi is a science writer for The Brink. She graduated with a BS in journalism from Emerson College in 2016, with focuses on environmental studies and publishing. While a student, she interned at ThinkProgress in Washington, D.C., where she wrote over 30 stories, most of them relating to climate change, coral reefs, and women’s health. Profile

  • Jackie Ricciardi

    Staff photojournalist

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    Jackie Ricciardi is a staff photojournalist at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. She has worked as a staff photographer at newspapers that include the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., and at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, N.H., where she was twice named New Hampshire Press Photographer of the Year. Profile

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There are 6 comments on BU Faculty Combine Academics and Activism—with Social Justice at the Core

  1. Interesting article about the American Experiment. Imagine if their academic freedom or freedom of speech was restricted and the University’s administration embraced an ideology that did not support or natural and civil rights?

  2. Ah . . . still with the Zinn hagiography. The anecdote about Zinn ditching his last class perfectly captures his character. OK to shortchange his students to go preen in public.

  3. Karen, thank you for your years of leadership and advocacy. Your impact on BU has been remarkable.

    However, a point of contention, which is not a reflection on you per se…..The faculty staff center is certainly nothing to write home about. Disappointingly over the years I have not seen anything significant from them in the way of supporting LGBT faculty and staff aside from the occassional low-effort luncheon. LGBT faculty and staff remain unsupported.

  4. There seems to be very little awareness in this article about the fundamental conflict of interest between activism and academic pursuit of truth. It is troubling especially coming from a university publication.

    Not even looking for criticism of activism in an academic setting, just simply an acknowledgement that there is the inherent potential for conflict.

    It seems that activism can be boiled down to the idea that no matter where the evidence points, the conclusion is pre-made to fit an ideology even if that conclusion conflicts with empirical data. How is it not obvious that there is great danger in this approach of corrupting research. The temptation to skew research results to fit ideological conclusions would be enormous, especially if large amount of funding was at stake, would it not? If the academic funding institutions like NIH is ideologically captured in some fields then researchers would naturally write proposals that fit less than sound ideas or framing to fit the funders ideology.

    Climate ‘science’ is but one of many examples of this. Any research that does not fit a simplistic story that humans are causing catastrophic global warming is systematically suppressed. Any climate research that does not conduct studies within this ideological framing will simply not be funded. It could have little to do with the soundness of the research. The research does not necessarily have to reject or support any particular science dogma to be suppressed. All it has to do is report on complicated nuanced findings that casts doubt on an overly simplistic narrative to be rejected or suppressed.

    For science to be useful and beneficial it needs to be challenged and debated and respond vigorously to new complicating information. It is an absolute myth that something as insanely complex as climate is ‘settled science’. Anyone telling you this is an activist who ignores complex scientific evidence.

    There are many examples from history where ‘settled’ science turned into ideological dogma and turned out to be flat out wrong decades later.

    Activism quite simply leads to corruption of science, leads to wrong conclusions and is harmful in the end.

    1. This comment seems to assume that activism comes first and research after. In my experience, it’s the other way around. Research into the causes of various social and environmental problems motivates people to take action to address the causes they discover.

      Pre-existing ideological commitments can cause people to do bad research, for sure, but what evidence do you have that that’s what’s going on here?

      Please provide concrete examples of research on climate change that has been “systematically suppressed” because of what it concluded (rather than because it was bad research). Your narrative of withheld funding is plausible in a context without competing commercial interests, but what is stopping fossil fuel companies, who have the money, the interest, and a history of doing so, from funding contradictory studies?

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