Regardless of OSU's press releases to the contrary, Joshua Robinson is now actively being prevented, by OSU employees, from carrying out his PhD research at OSU.
For his graduate work at OSU, Joshua Robinson, under the guidance of his mentor Dr. Michael Hartman, constructed a prompt gamma neutron activation elemental analyzer that is attached to the OSU nuclear reactor, which serves as its source of neutrons. Joshua won an OSU award for this work. This analyzer has been enthusiastically complemented by scientists at two prominent U.S. research facilities with whom Dr. Hartman and Joshua have collaborated in its use.
Joshua has been making improvements in this apparatus and using it for various analytical purposes in order to complete work for his PhD degree.
On Thursday, March 17, Joshua entered the reactor control room, through which he must pass in order to enter the reactor bay in which his analyzer is located.
When he entered the control room, the reactor operator apologetically (he obviously did not like the orders he had been given) told Joshua that he had been ordered not to allow Joshua to be in the room or pass through the room. He asked Joshua to leave. Joshua has had, in the course of his work, free access to this room for more than four years.
Joshua subsequently talked with Instructor Reese, who is the husband of Kathryn Higley, current department chairperson. Reese is the reactor administrator.
Reese told Joshua that he, Reese, had revoked Joshua’s privilege to pass through the control room and revoked Joshua’s privilege to work in or even be present in the reactor bay where his apparatus is located.
So, Joshua has been forbidden by Reese, to continue work with the apparatus he built for his graduate work or even to be in the room where that apparatus is situated. Joshua built this equipment with his own hands, including engineering drawings, machine shop work, welding, and assembly.
In an earlier meeting on March 4, Reese told Joshua and his brother Noah (PhD Caltech) that he was taking over Joshua’s apparatus and his PhD work in progress.
Reese told them that he had already lined up two graduate students to work under him in this work. Reese also told them that his authority to do this was derived from a letter that his wife, Kathryn Higley, had written to Joshua (a contrived letter that is contrary to OSU rules, contrary to the law, and contrary to professional ethics and which makes demands that Higley knows Joshua cannot meet. (Click here for a copy of her letter and Joshua’s reply).
In fact, Joshua's privilege of unsupervised access to the reactor facility was earned (and passed through background checks, etc.) more than four years ago and is entirely independent of the advisory issue raised in Higley's letter. Reese is simply arbitrarily misusing his power as administrator without justification against Joshua. Reese can allow Joshua to use this facility. There is no reason not to do so.
Reese also suggested that Joshua might want to take the issue up with David Hamby. Hamby is the third and apparently most senior member of the group of four OSU faculty administrators who have been working to deny the Robinson students the opportunity to finish their PhD work. (Hamby was recently a member of the Corvallis City Council and is a politically active Democrat.) Neither Hamby, Higley, nor Reese are nuclear engineers. They are members of the "health physics" faculty. Joshua is studying nuclear engineering.
So, department chairperson Higley is handing Joshua’s apparatus and all of his work in progress to her husband - work that Reese plans to use for his own professional advancement. Moreover, Reese has issued orders preventing Joshua from continuing his work with his own apparatus. (The apparatus actually belongs to the public. It "belongs" to Joshua in accordance with professional ethics - in that it he is entitled to use it - until he has completed the PhD work for which he built it.)
It is outrageous for the public employees (Hamby, Higley, and Reese) of a taxpayer financed institution in Oregon (OSU) to behave in this way.
Below are the email addresses and phone numbers of Kathryn Higley, Steven Reese, David Hamby - and also the President of OSU.
David M. Hamby, Ph.D.
Kathryn Higley, Ph.D.
Steven R. Reese, Ph.D.
President of OSU, Edward Ray
Please let these people know your thoughts about this extraordinary, unethical action.
Joshua very much needs your help.