WVU has promoted some of the Hendryx and Ducatman studies, issuing news releases that sometimes referred to a particular paper as a "WVU study."
In Friday's email message, Bolt asked news reporters to instead use phrases such as "a study conducted at WVU" or "a study by [a] WVU faculty member" when referring to any university research findings.
Bolt did not return a phone call and indicated in an email that he would be unable to provide answers to written questions by the Gazette-Mail's Friday evening deadline.
Martin Snyder, a spokesman for the American Association of University Professors, said there's nothing wrong with faculty or institutions trying to make clear that the conclusions of research papers are not necessarily the positions of the universities themselves. However, he said, WVU's strategy for doing so is a bit unusual.
"I don't remember seeing a university doing that before," Snyder said, "but I'm not sure there's a huge problem with it."
Snyder said WVU officials apparently "have some level of discomfort" with some research findings being published by university faculty members and want to emphasize the findings don't represent WVU's institutional views.
"It's clear they want to have that distinction observed," Snyder said. "Faculty members often do research that embarrasses the institution or embarrasses donors."
The new WVU statement says faculty members at the university "have an obligation and responsibility to conduct research.
"It is part of WVU's mission as a land-grant university to gather and analyze data and then contribute this analysis to inform the discussion and understanding around various issues affecting the lives of West Virginians and others around the world," the statement says.
"WVU's research strives to be data-driven, objective and independent," the statement says. "It is not influenced by any political agenda, business priority, funding source or even popular opinion. WVU faculty follow accepted academic practices, and those research findings are subject to intense review and challenge by academic peers -- including review of data sources, methods and analysis.
"This doesn't mean everyone agrees with the findings, but assures the process followed to reach those findings is valid and unbiased," the statement says. "Accordingly, WVU stands behind its researchers' quest for knowledge as they help society address the issues which confront it."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.