Art Robinson at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine he founded

Oregon State University is denying a charge by Republican congressional candidate Art Robinson that university administration and faculty members are threatening to terminate three of his adult children from its nuclear physics program because of political influence from the “Democrat political machine” led by his 2010 opponent, Rep. Peter Fazio.

“The university has found no factual basis for the accusations made against those faculty members,” the Corvallis-based university said in a statement. “OSU is proud of its education and research programs and faculty in Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics and of department alumni, many of whom hold leadership positions in government and private sector organizations.”

Robinson, who plans to challenge DeFazio again in 2012 after losing 54.5 percent to 43.6 percent, made his case in a commentary published yesterday by WND.

In its statement, the university insisted it could not comment on any matters regarding a student, because federal law requires that it receive the student’s permission.

“Given that, OSU will not comment on any allegation regarding the Robinson students or share any personal information concerning them other than the limited ‘directory information’ allowed by law to be shared,” the university stated.

OSU also said it “will not comment on other allegations made in the Robinson posts other than to say the claims made therein are baseless and without merit.”

University spokesman Todd Simmons told WND he had nothing to say beyond the university’s official statement.

Asked for his reaction, Robinson told WND the university is hiding behind its statement.

“It’s as if somebody shoots someone, and we saw it, but they say our statements are not true,” he said.

In his commentary yesterday, Robinson said he was warned by OSU Nuclear Physics Professor Jack Higginbotham that faculty administrators at OSU were “working to make certain that Joshua, his sister Bethany and, if possible, his brother Matthew never receive Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering from OSU, regardless of their examination, academic and research performance.”

Higginbotham, who also is president of the OSU Faculty Senate and director of the Oregon NASA Space Science Consortium, could not be reached for comment.

Robinson, an accomplished chemical scientist who homeschooled his six children after his wife died in 1988, says the university is now trying to strip Higginbotham of his faculty position and his research grants.

“His career now potentially in ruins, he is fighting back in hopes of saving himself and the positions of the students and staff who depend upon him at OSU and who may also lose their careers as collateral damage in these astonishing events,” Robinson said in his commentary.

Noting OSU received a reported $27 million in earmark funding from DeFazio and his Democratic colleagues during the last congressional session, Robinson wrote, “Knowledgeable observers have concluded that orders for the attacks on the Robinson students are coming from sources far above Ray in the Democrat political machine.”

Robinson said two professors in the nuclear physics department David Hamby – a Democrat activist who has held six political positions – and Kathryn Higley plan to expel his son Joshua, a four-year Ph.D. student, at the end of the current academic term, March 18.

Higley has informed Joshua, he said, that the prompt neutron activation analysis facility Joshua built for his thesis work and all of his work in progress will be turned over to Higley’s husband, Steven Reese, who is also a faculty member.

Meanwhile, faculty member Todd Palmer has notified his daughter Bethany, a four-year Ph.D. student with a 3.89 grade-point average, that he is terminating her thesis work and taking all of her work in progress for himself.

Palmer, according to Robinson, claimed Bethany didn’t keep up with her work because she took leave to campaign for her father. But Robinson said Bethany didn’t campaign for him and successfully completed her required doctoral work.

Robinson said if the “attack” on Professor Higginbotham is not stopped, it may also destroy the graduate work of his student, Robinson’s son Matthew, who has a grade-point average of 3.91.

Robinson said the battle has been going on since November, just two days after the election.

“I considered an immediate public exposure of this plot and warned the faculty of this possibility, but instead my family and I decided to try to prevent a scandal at OSU and save the students within the confines of OSU,” he explained. “We fought these unprincipled academics on their own ground and held them off for four months. That effort is, however, now failing, and Joshua and Bethany are both slated for dismissal from the department of nuclear engineering very soon.”

As WND reported, DeFazio ran against his own party in 2010 and characterized Robinson as an extremist, unfit for the geographically large southwest Oregon district that includes the left-leaning state university towns of Eugene and Corvallis along with conservative rural communities.

A tea party favorite, Robinson drew strong grass-roots support, with observers remarking they hadn’t “seen a campaign like this for a generation.”

While DeFazio, who has won 13 terms, captured 82 percent of the vote in 2008, Robinson believed signs were pointing toward a possible upset in 2010. But he claims a TV and radio “smear campaign”– based on outright lies and fabrications – cast enough doubt about him to cause some independents to reconsider their support.

Robinson said that with experience under his belt, he plans to challenge DeFazio again next year.

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