School of Mines claims former prof merely warned about public comments

A Colorado School of Mines spokeswoman late Thursday afternoon responded by e-mail to a story posted on the Colorado Independent earlier in the day in which Dr. Geoffrey Thyne said the school threatened to fire him over comments he made to several media outlets in May regarding the possible federal regulation of a controversial natural-gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.

Marsha Williams, director of integrated marketing and communications at the School of Mines, disputed Thyne’s allegations and clarified his role with the school. Here’s her entire statement:

“I want you to know that no one in the Mines administration recalls having anything but cordial conversations with Dr. Thyne this spring. When Dr. Thyne was quoted during that time by the media, the school received inquiries about Dr. Thyne’s association with Mines.

“As a result, Mines officials phoned and e-mailed Dr. Thyne to inform him of the inquiries, and also to remind him of the university policy that people must be clear in public communications that the opinions they express are personal and do not represent institution positions — one way or another — on issues being discussed.

“Also, as a matter of clarification, Dr. Thyne left employment at Mines in August 2006 due to employment at the University of Wyoming. He has remained in a very limited role on a non-paid basis (in an advisory capacity with graduate students) since then, and that contract ends at the end of August 2009.”

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