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Re: SVP statement on Dr. Rensberger-Burke Museum



I was surprised by the lack of interest concerning
this subject. Interesting and dangerous precedent is
being set by the SVP. It's action to in effect, circle
the wagons and protect one of its own could have
far-reaching implications. Failure to 'truly' condemn
his improper authorization to conduct work on BLM
lands (I believe illegal collecting of vertebrate
fossils on federal lands can be prosecuted as a
felony) and failure of any prosecution/fines by the
BLM could be used by a good lawyer to set and
substantiate precedent for anyone to collect on BLM
lands. Just takes a good lawyer, and person willing to
make the challenge, to use a situation such as this to
virtually disavow the ban of collecting vertebrate
fossils (or at least minimize any form of
prosecution/fines) on public lands using case law and
precedent. 'Normal, non-PhD, non-academic people' do
not get such second chances from the BLM or SVP I bet.
Ignorance of the law is not a viable defense. It will
be very interesting to see if the BLM prosecutes/fines
or not. 

Bob Simon

--- mkirkaldy@aol.com wrote:

> SVP has a statement on its website about the Dr.
> Rensberger-Burke 
> Museum collection problems:
> http://www.vertpaleo.org/
> 
> "The SVP Executive Committee has received the report
> and 
> recommendations of the Ethics Education Committee
> regarding allegations 
> concerning Dr. John Rensberger, formerly at the
> Burke Museum, 
> University of Washington."
> 
> <SNIP>
> "There was some divergence of professional opinion
> in the reports 
> regarding the first two allegations, but the SVP
> Ethics Education 
> Committee concluded that the fossil collections
> resulting from Dr. 
> Rensbergerâ??s fieldwork are properly deposited in a
> public institution 
> (the Burke Museum) and have been well curated by Dr.
> Rensberger and the 
> current curatorial staff of the Burke Museum."
> 
> "Regarding the third allegation, it is clear that on
> a number of 
> occasions, Dr. Rensberger neglected to obtain proper
> authorization to 
> conduct paleontological fieldwork on public lands.
> Failure to obtain 
> proper collecting permits was in violation of both
> the SVP Ethics Bylaw 
> and the regulations of the public land-management
> agencies. This 
> omission was inappropriate and undermines the
> reputation of our 
> profession. If Dr. Rensberger continues to conduct
> paleontological 
> fieldwork in this manner, the Executive Committee
> will recommend 
> termination of his membership from the Society,
> following the 
> procedures outlined in the SVP Bylaws, Article 1,
> Section 6."
> <SNIP>
> 
> Mary
>
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