Penn State

Researchers in limbo under Trump administration

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

If people working in certain government departments are not allowed to share information on social media, will that have an effect in Centre County?

The short answer? Not sure.

On Tuesday, Buzzfeed reported that U.S. Department of Agriculture employees were banned from sharing “everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration.”

Hours later, that was rescinded.

But Penn State gets millions of dollars in research grants every year from all manner of federal agencies, from the Department of Defense to the Department of Energy. According to U.S. News and World Report, the university is 13th among top American schools when it comes to agriculture, on a list with Harvard and Cornell.

Does that leave Penn State researchers in limbo about what can and can’t be said?

“Penn State is a major research university with a large portfolio of contracts and an interest in this issue. But this is new information, and we need to learn more before making any statements,” spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

The USDA issue was just one of several about access and information that have come up since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, including a ban on National Park Service tweets. McClatchy DC reported that anonymous Environmental Protection Agency personnel were being told to “scrub information about climate change” from their site.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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