Syracuse University to host national whistleblower tour this month

By Wendy S. Loughlin

March 6, 2014

A public forum March 26 will feature several individuals with a background in whistleblowing

Syracuse University, in partnership with Upstate Medical University, SUNY Cortland and ArtRage, will host “American Whistleblower Tour: Models of Courageous Citizenship” with a series of events to be held this month. Part of a national campaign sponsored by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the Whistleblower Tour seeks to educate the public—particularly university students—about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing.

“Leaks, leakers and whistleblowers—this is a hugely important area not only in the debate over government regulation and surveillance but in journalism circles, especially with issues of reporters' confidentiality and newsgathering,” says Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at the Newhouse School and one of the organizers of the conference. “Bringing these whistleblowers to Syracuse to discuss their role in debates on public affairs will help bring these issues to our students and the community.”

On Wednesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse3 on the SU campus, a panel discussion will feature several whistleblowers who will also visit classes at the three universities. They include:  

  • Louis Clark (event moderator), president of GAP and director of its corporate accountability program
  • Thomas Drake, former senior NSA official who was prosecuted under the Espionage Act by the Department of Justice
  • Jon Oberg, who discovered and investigated illegal payments of federal tax dollars to student loan lenders while working at the Department of Education
  • Jesselyn Radack, who revealed government mishandling of the interrogation of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh and who currently represents NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
  • Michael Winston, who sued Bank of America for wrongful termination and retaliation against him for his refusal to mislead Moody’s
  • Susan Wood MD, a champion of women’s health who quit a position with the Food and Drug Administration when she concluded that politics were delaying the approval of Plan B, also known as the “morning-after pill”

In addition to the panel discussion, several other public events and exhibitions will be held:

  • Wednesday, March 12, at 7 p.m.: Screening: “The Insider,” ArtRage
  • March 18-April 11: Exhibit: “Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Corageous Citizenship” by Robert Shetterly, 914Works
  • Tuesday, March 25, at Noon:  Conversation with Dr. Susan Wood, 2231 Weiskotten Hall, Upstate Medical University
  • Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m.: Conversation with Michael Winston and Louis Clark, ArtRage
  • Tuesday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m.: Conversations with Jon Oberg and Louis Clark, SUNY Cortland
  • Thursday, March 27, at 12:30 p.m.: Conversations in Conflict Studies with Jon Oberg, 400 Eggers Hall, SU
  • Thursday, March 27, at 8 p.m.: Concert: Contemporary Music Ensemble, Setnor Auditorium, SU

In conjunction with the event, artist Robert Shetterly will also give several guest lectures at SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

In addition to Newhouse and VPA, participating schools at Syracuse University include the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the event, contact James Clark at 315-443-8072 or

Visiting whistleblowers are available for media interviews. Interested reporters should contact Wendy Loughlin at 315-443-2785 or to schedule a time.