Cynic Reporter Should Get Facts Straight

I am writing in regard to an article published in the Vermont Cynic on December 6, 2005 entitled “Environmentalism and the UVM Dairy Barn. Cow pies:

Delicious, Or Deadly?” The article, written by Ms Anastasia Yarbrough and located in the Science and Technology Section, contains many inaccurate and untrue statements about the UVM dairy farm and the Constructed Wetlands Research Center (CWRC).

I believe that Ms Yarbrough had some obligation to check the facts of that Cynic article prior to its publication. This seems especially true since the article was published in the Science and Technology section.

Ms. Yarbrough’s article lacks any scientific or operational facts regarding the UVM dairy wastewater treatment, and she also falsifies a quote from one of my research graduate students.

Ms Yarbrough, the president of STAR (Students For True Animal Rights), clearly submitted a piece better suited for the op-ed section of the Cynic. Whatever intentions were meant, good or bad, she and the Cynic need to accept responsibility for their errors.

As an Assistant Research Professor and Director of the Constructed Wetlands Research Center (CWRC) at UVM, I am deeply troubled by the blatant disregard for the truth and facts regarding the subject of Ms. Yarbrough’s article.

Ms. Yarbrough has shown a serious lack of journalistic integrity towards the Plant Soil Science department, as well as fellow graduate and undergraduate students. I will not comment on every single distortion in Ms Yarbrough’s article, but I wish to point out the following: 1) Eamon Twohig, my research technician and a graduate student, never asked to be anonymous as he was never told by Ms. Yarbrough that her questions were for an article, rather for a class project. 2) If Mr. Twohig had known of Ms. Yarbrough’s intentions to publish an article he would have preferred to be quoted accurately and by name. 3) Mr. Twohig never stated that the “system” does not remove high contents of phosphorus as it should. Despite Ms Yarbrough’s amateur attempt to assess “environmental impacts of the UVM dairy barn” and provide answers to whether we “are living up to the

standards of the environmental university we strive to be,” there is no honest attempt towards understanding the extent to which our technology is in fact sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Moreover, the entire paragraph concerning our filters technology for small and medium size dairy farms, completely underestimates and distorts our research. Our phosphorus filter technology is dedicated toward cleaning up our environment, and our work serves as a prime example of UVM’s dedication to becoming a leading environmental university.