Social Question

cazzie's avatar

Is this what denying a scientist's right to free speech by the State is going to look like now?

Asked by cazzie (24503points) April 27th, 2017

An engineer studied traffic light patterns and did a report independently because he felt the local standards could be upgraded. He spoke to the local press and presented a paper at a conference. The State of Oregon fined him $500 and has barred him from calling himself an engineer, despite his BSc in electronic engineering. He didn’t touch anything or adjust anything. He didn’t trespass. Was he fined for observing a situation, doing some math and then talking about his conclusions? Essentially, for doing science?
Here is the article: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170425/14273237238/guy-fined-500-criticizing-government-without-permit-sues-oregon-licensing-board.shtml
Do you consider this a restriction of his free speech? Do you think the State of Oregon was justified? Do you think this is a restriction of a scientist’s right to work?

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84 Answers

rojo's avatar

Yes, most assuredly a violation of his rights and responsibilities as a citizen. The State is completely unjustified in its actions and should be heavily fined to make such actions in the future unappealing to them, required to rescind its ruling, have to issue a very public apology to the man for both violating his rights and for questioning his abilities and those in charge that issued the ruling should be fired and replaced immediately.

I wonder if they also require Sanitation Engineers to be licensed?

CWOTUS's avatar

While I agree that the ban is probably unconstitutional – and is obviously wrong on its face, regardless of its constitutional basis, if any – I have to laugh at the absurdity of @rojo‘s expostulation that “the state should be heavily fined” for the bad act.

I’m sure the Oregon taxpayers will love that one.

Fortunately, the Institute for Justice has taken the side of the angels in this one, so I would expect that this absurd law or regulation will be junked shortly, which is probably the best outcome that can be expected. No fines, though.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

His crime was probably in calling himself an engineer. It is unlawful to use the title “engineer” in most states without a license to practice engineering, degree or not.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I suspect the licensing board will quickly rescind the fine and rush to settle Jarlstrom’s lawsuit to his considerable profit. The state faces a tough climb.

snowberry's avatar

So…we now need a permit to criticize our government? This isn’t the USA I grew up in.

I bet and hope attorneys are beating down his door to represent him.

LostInParadise's avatar

The state’s action is a First Amendment violation. I can’t imagine that the action will be supported by the courts.

cazzie's avatar

He IS an engineer. Obviously, this hit my newsfeed because he’s a Swedish guy with science-y pursuits living in Oregon. He never claimed to be a ‘state certified’ or ‘state employed’ engineer, but he has an engineering degree and has worked as an engineer for the Swedish army among other things.

The State had reasons to want to shut him up. He’s been talking about this since 2013, and it has to do with red light tickets and how the state collects money from the fines.

Here is the page from the Institute for Justice regarding his situation: http://ij.org/case/oregon-engineering-speech/

rojo's avatar

@CWOTUS States waste taxpayer money in all forms and fashion. Take for instance how many time Texas has gone back to court over its racist gerrymandering and voter registration acts. It has been found wanting ever time but the AG just keeps appealing, hoping to at some point get a favorable verdict. Fining the State for what is obviously unconstitutional might get taxpayers riled up enough to rein in this department. Much like the citizens of Texas are getting tired of supporting Ken Paxton & Greg Abbotts attempts to justify their racist views.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Engineer” is a protected title. To be an engineer there are more testing and licensing requirements. The type of degree accreditation matters too. This is a measure of protection for public safety. You don’t want just any schmuck certifying buildings and power systems. Some states are more strict than others. If he had simply not called himself an engineer they would not have had any case. I’m sure it pissed them off but the 500 fine and warning was a slap on the wrist.

cazzie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think you weren’t interested in even reading the whole article. And your simplified knee jerk reaction tells me you really don’t know what really happened or how ACTUAL certifications work.

Of COURSE you have to be a certified electrician for some things. And a certified plumber for what they do… and an certified architect and accountant and such… but this guy was in NO WAY trying to do work or impersonate someone who held a state licence. He did his own investigations, independent and didn’t try to do ANYTHING to change the stop lights himself. He just TALKED about his own, INDEPENDENT investigation of the situation.

rojo's avatar

Several years ago I was ticketed for running a red light. This was on my way home and in a town about 30 minutes away from where I live.

I contended that the length of time the light was yellow was too short for the posted speed limit; that while driving the posted speed limit and the light turned yellow the only way to bring the car to a stop before it turned red was to slam on the brakes and bring the vehicle to a screeching halt. I even drove back out to the town and spent about 1½ hours observing the light where this happened.

I found out I was correct, If you applied the brakes as recommended you would end up in the intersection on a red light.

This was a trap; a moneymaking scheme the town had come up with. They had two officers in separate cars stationed at the light and they took turns pulling people over for running the light. In the time I observed them it was not unusual for both officers to have someone pulled over at the same time. Basically they caught someone running the light every time it went through a cycle.

I don’t know if it is still available but at that time (about 20 years ago) there was a State government hotline you could call to report speed traps anonymously. I called and left the info. I had collected. When I passed through the town a few weeks later noticed a much longer yellow light length. I even pulled over at a gas station to time it through a few cycles and it was about 50% longer in time. I also did not observe any police vehicles. I am guessing someone got the message.

Mariah's avatar

This is the first I am hearing of this. My job title is “software engineer” but I have no “license” beyond a BS in computer science. Strange.

I don’t think this is a free speech violation, but it’s petty and shitty of the state to punish him for trying to improve his community.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@cazzie I read the whole article, I am a licensed engineer myself. No disrespect since this is a common misunderstanding about what licensure means. Most states “engineer” is a protected title. Simply calling yourself one casually is not exactly illegal but he probably did so publically while providing his findings. That crossed the line. Does not matter that he was not asking for compensation. He provided it to the public and identified himself as an engineer. That’s illegal in most states. The licensing board probably does not care about the traffic lights but someone in the county likely knew enough to see his mistake and notified the board who then called him out on it and rightfully so.
@Mariah in some states there is now finally licensure for computer scientists. Businesses call their employees “engineer” all the time and this is not technically legal but kind of overlooked. It’s when individuals do so that it really runs against the licensing boards.

He go the fine, so what. He can keep talking so long as he does not identify as an engineer. No first amendment issues here really.

LostInParadise's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me , The fine was punishment for speaking out. What does the state have to do to be in violation of freedom of speech? Lock the guy up?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Wait a second. This guy can call himself whatever he chooses, from Doctor to the reincarnation of Christ. He might need a license to PRACTICE as a doctor or an engineer, but he is certainly entitled to make any claim he wishes regarding his qualifications. It seems to me that the licensing board is really up against a wall here. Not only is it a tall order to posit that the man is not an engineer minus a license from the state, but this guy apparently holds a degree in electrical engineering from an accredited institution. The assertion that no one lacking a license from Oregon is entitled the claim of engineer is absurd on its face. I bet the lawyers are slugging it out for the chance to represent this guy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@cazzie No, it was not. The fine was for misrepresenting himself as an engineer which he is guilty of. This is not open to interpretation. It’s the law and has been for a very long time and for good reasons.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@stanleybmanly he can call himself engineer but he provided calculations and data while doing so.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Unless the man stated that he was an engineer licensed by the state of Oregon, the licensing board has seriously fkd up.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Nope, “engineer” is a protected title in Oregon. He’s guilty, case closed.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Wanna bet? It may be the law now, but when this guy walks away with the money, that era is closed.

cazzie's avatar

No,,,,. he NEVER represented himself as a ‘state certified’ or ‘state employed’ engineer. You are wrong. @ARE_you_kidding_me if you think that this boils down to this minute detail of a definition… good luck with your real world, adult life.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If he called himself “engineer” while providing data to the public he is in fact 100% guilty. Period. I spent ten years getting licensed, this is not some casual observation.

cazzie's avatar

Awww.. I’m sorry it took you so long to get licensed… that’s so sad. AT NO point did he say he was a states qualified engineer. Give it up.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It takes all of us about that long. I’m not being snarky like y’all are, just relaying the facts. It surprises a lot of people.

cazzie's avatar

AGAIN… he NEVER presented himself as a States Qualified engineer.. just a guy who earned a degree in Electronics Engineering in Sweden….. so… Your point is COMPLETELY sour grapes.

cazzie's avatar

Oh oh…. I get it… you hate that he didn’t have to pay hundreds of thousands for his degree… is that it?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

No cazzie it’s not for the final time. “Engineer” is a protected title in many states including Oregon. You don’t have to preface it with “licensed” or “professional” some states though this is the case. I think all of canada “engineer” is protected like this.
It’s protected for ethical reasons.

cazzie's avatar

Awwww… poor little Are You…. NO.. he never put himself forward as an Engineer qualified under the local rules. He HAPPENS to have a degree where there are words. .... No… Don’t even answer. You are just trying to pour water over an argument you know is valid.

cazzie's avatar

Well, under ARE you kidding me… I think we can all be happy to live like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Back to the street lights, they are making money hand over fist with them. While studies have shown that increasing the yellow time reduces accidents I read a few articles where cities decreased them around redlight cameras. Pretty shady if you asked me. I read up a little after getting several. The shady dealings are deep concerning them.

cazzie's avatar

But far be it for an outside scientist to speak about about it???? WTF?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

And again, just relaying the information. Don’t shoot the messenger.

cazzie's avatar

You aren’t relaying information about just this case.. you are relaying information about your own crippling insecurities. So sad.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Jesus cazzie you get flustered so easy. You asked a question I presented facts. The fact that you are acting like an 11 year old shows exactly who has issues with insecurity. I did not make the law

jwalt's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me, in most places ‘Engineer’ is not a protected title. There are many companies that have job titles of ‘engineer’, ‘senior engineer’, etc. A degree in engineering gives you the right to use the title engineer, and if they have a PhD in engineering, the title ‘Doctor’ can be used as well.

What is protected are the letters at the end of your name: ‘P.E.’ ‘Professional Engineer’ is a protected title, as is M.D for Medical Doctors. I fought hard for my P.E. through extensive testing, education and experience. I certainly don’t need the P.E. to conduct and publish engineering ideas and research in any forum. However, in many cases, a P.E. needs to approve such ideas before they can be implemented. The reality is the having a P.E. and a state license means that I can be sued if I mess up.

In this case, either the Oregon Board has overstepped (or mis-used) their authority, or the rules set by the state are overstepping the Freedom of Speech, and perhaps the original intent of the law.

Most every study I have seen has shown that red-light cameras increase the number of accidents at the intersection and certainly do not improve safety. They are revenue generating devices, which is why the state fights so hard to keep them. The only studies that show decreases in accidents have also re-defined what is called the intersection. They do this to eliminate rear-end collisions that occur when the driver in front stops abruptly to avoid an automated ticket.

Edit: Also, even the use of P.E. in your title may be hard to restrict only to state licensed engineers. It depends on if you use those letters to misrepresent yourself or if actually act as a professional engineer. Since I hold a PhD in EE, I can use the title “Doctor”, just like the M.Ds, and there is no issue. But, if I imply I am a medical doctor, or try to practice medicine, then I could or would be braking the law.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The Licensing board is in the unenviable position of proving the word “engineer” “protected” from the first amendment.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jwalt it depends on the state you are in. Some regulate it some don’t. All of Canada does I believe. Also many companies can get away with calling employees engineer a lot of different ways. If they have engineers working under licensed engineers then they can be called engineers. I bet there are ways that have to do with how and where they are incorporated too. Companies simply ignore the rules and it’s usually just overlooked. I think federal gov’t can call anyone they want engineer.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@stanleybmanley that can be challenged where it is regulated yes, where they really need to challenge it would be what constitutes practice. IMO this is just slightly over the edge and the licensing boards would win. He can keep presenting his data just not when stating he is an engineer without threat of fines. A really good laywer could probably get it tossed. As the law is written he’s guilty.

jwalt's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me, that may be true, but not in my state. Those that regulate it as Oregon seems to be are overstepping the issue. What this can mean is that a student in engineering who publishes their senior project can be cited and fined as well. The are, by the Oregon Board’s definition, practising engineering without a license.

This goes right back to @cazzie‘s question, and I paraphrase “Is this how the freedom of scientists and engineers will be restricted”. The answer appears to be a resounding ‘yes’.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The smart thing for the board would be to cancel the fine and throw as much money at Jarlstrom as required to settle the suit. Either way, the law itself is doomed. The board should have been much more circumspect in choosing its battles.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jwalt most states have what is called an “industrial exemption” companies can call their employees engineer internally, employees only practice inside their company and so on and so forth. A student presenting a paper has nothing to do with title restricions. Here is an interesting case study about licensing in Texas
It’s not so straight forward. Grey area is all over.
I don’t think it goes back to her question, he could have just presented it without using the engineer title. While I think the intent of the fine was dubious they were within their right to do it. I don’t know if they had warned him before or not but a stern warning was all that was called for IMO. People simply don’t know the laws regarding this and it’s easy to walk up against them completely oblivious.

cazzie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me is again…. not getting the point of the situation. but Keep going! *thumbs up.

jwalt's avatar

No absolutely not. He had to use his qualifications. Otherwise, he would be viewed as a random crackpot. Incorrect laws turn it into a grey area. Even if he did not use the title, the Oregon law seems to say that practising engineering includes “any . . . creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience.” He could have been cited just the same.

Once again this would include students, engineers within companies, or even research scientists, since much of what they do and publish in their journals could be deemed to require engineering education by the board.

snowberry's avatar

So, what if he hadn’t said, “I am an engineer…” And instead said “Hi! I’m so-and-so and I have a degree in electrical engineering from such and such and university.” There, he wouldn’t have said he’s in engineer- he’d have just said he had a degree in electrical engineering! I guess that would be within the boundaries of the law?

What an asinine and convoluted way to run things! These people are idiots!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^yes exactly..

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s protectionism to a degree but there are ethical concerns too. If he had been warned I would not see it as dubious but if he had not…

His case is splitting hairs too.

snowberry's avatar

The state is the bigger hair splitter because they/it chose to fine him.

snowberry's avatar

I bet they don’t tell graduates of these “interesting” convolutions of the law either. They’re just supposed to know!

cazzie's avatar

He never said…. HEY… I*M AN FANCY SMANCY LICENSED Up the butt certified engineered and that is NOT what this is about… so get the fuck over it.

snowberry's avatar

So maybe we could say that the government has a “don’t ask don’t tell policy” concerning anything they don’t want to know, anything that makes them look bad or is inconvenient, and certainly anything that might save the taxpayers money.

Yup.

cazzie's avatar

You know what? My step son once identified a really bad foot traffic hazard. He walked into an office and said… HEY! and explained what had happened to him and showed them the mark on his forhead. Should they have ignored him because he wasn’t an ‘qualified, accredited civil engineer?’ and if he had talked on and on about what happened with his class mates and such should they have fined him? NO! Because he was making an observation and did the math and statistics.

cazzie's avatar

I think this guy had the right to call himself a Swedish Engineer…. but I doubt he did. He probably just mentioned the degree he had, and that was enough for the State of Oregon to jump on.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“I bet they don’t tell graduates of these “interesting” convolutions of the law either”
They don’t at least not where I went to school. I found much later in the process.

snowberry's avatar

It’s just another layer of entrapment.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Licensng boards and the state are not “out to get anyone” it’s about maintaining standards and a level of competency. They have a hard enough time making sure that licensing simply stays in place. Without it then it’s a free for all for anyone with whatever qualifications to ensure public safety. In the end this is the bottom line. They just don’t “go after people.” If that were the case then you would hear about this waaay more often. I’m guessing this guy was either previously warned or crossed someone. He could have also had an agenda. It’s good to have the whole story which I’m guessing is not in that article.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I agree that we should know more about this, because it seems ludicrous that the board would fine this man for simply stating publicly that he is an engineer.

snowberry's avatar

I think it’s got a lot to do with the fact that he threatened the bottom line and made them look bad. It’s called follow the money, regardless of whatever other motives they have.

johnpowell's avatar

@Mariah :: My father was a licensed Mechanical Engineer in the state of of Oregon. His brother is a licensed Civil Engineer, and his other brother was a licensed Electrical Engineer. All went through serious schooling and licensing to call them-self engineers on their business cards.

Sorry to say it but it is bullshit to call yourself a software engineer. It has the same meaning as “sandwich artist”. And this is always a huge debate on Hacker News. Guys that can install Django want the prestige of being a engineer but it is like calling me a dentist when I yanked my sisters kids front tooth with some pliers.

In college I worked at the tv station that did all the distance learning stuff for the college. If I wasn’t masturbating or sleeping I was watching classes from math 111 to business ethics 201. Oh and yeah I watched a entire series on intro to engineering. The first six classes were ethics. Like all about ethics and regulations and licensing and when you can call yourself a engineer. This shit is covered.

As for this case. I doubt some low level employee is sitting there going “oh shit state revenue”.

@stanleybmanly :: It is very important that you actually honestly represent yourself or it damages the credibility of the licensing agency. See India and doctors.

jwalt's avatar

He did honestly represent himself. He has a degree in engineering and it is proper for him to use that credential to lend credibility to his analysis of an engineering issue. The rule the board is using is flawed. If the rule states you must be a licensed engineer to produce ANY creative work (that requires engineering training….), then it is the problem.

First, the state cannot restrict me from showing a credential that I have (my degrees, certificates, etc.), second I can write or say anything I wish to under the First Amendment of the Constitution. It does not afford me a place to say it, nor does it shield me from criticism by individuals or even the state itself. It does protect me from the state punishing me (assessing fines, jail time, etc) for saying it. That is what we seem to have here. The state of Oregon is punishing someone for writing an engineering analysis. So it really is back to the original question, are they restricting free speech?

I am interested in seeing how this case turns out. As with any single article on a subject, it could be biased or missing critical information. So I see a few possible outcomes:

1) The gentleman really did misrepresent his credentials, and the punishment is just.
2) The rule is written such that using your degree violates the boards standard, in which case the rule is flawed, and will have to be changed.
3) The board is being vindictive for whatever reason, and overstepping their authority, so no rules need to be changed, but board members need to be removed for unprofessional behavior.

I think it may be a mix of 2 and 3, but it will be interesting to see the outcome.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s likely #1 and possibly some of 3. Again, if he presented his findings using the title engineer either by statement or by title in his paper he broke the law. If he was oblivious he deserved a warning. If he got one and persisted he deserved the fine. His case appears to have crossed a very fine line, splitting hairs here.
The state board sets standards for competency. A degree does not make you an engineer in their eyes. They have to qualify your education, experience and abilities through accreditation, qualifying and well documented experience that is generally supervised by one or more licensed engineers and finally a series of exams that test both your broad understanding of scientific and engineering principles and an exhaustive examination of the specialized area you will be practicing in. Then you are officially an “engineer” Would you want a medical dr right out of school with zero experience to operate on you?
There are also schools that offer “engineering degrees” that are not on the proper level for what is required. Want someone who essentially bought their diploma from an online degree mill designing your bridges? This is what is at stake if they allow the definition of engineer to get muddied up or the states drop licensure requirements.

jwalt's avatar

We are in agreement here @ARE_you_kidding_me. I do not want an uncertified engineer producing a bridge design, for example. But that is not the case here. He simply wrote a paper on his analysis. Should his results be implemented? No, not until they are reviewed and certified by a professional engineer.

Same in the case of medicine. Anybody has the right to write an opinion piece or even a journal article about how to do surgery. But that is not practising medicine. Performing surgery is and requires you to be board certified. Nobody needs to be recognized by ANY board to write an article and include your valid credentials in that article. The requirement of such by a governmental body, and the ability of that body to penalize you, is a restriction of free speech.

There is a difference between writing about something and doing that thing, and yes it may be difficult to discern the difference between a board certified engineer and one who isn’t. Sure it makes the reader work harder to be sure the work is valid, but that is not a bad thing, certified engineers write incorrect or misleading papers all of the time, and you should always read them with a critical mindset.

But this is why P.E., M.D, etc. are protected titles and Oregon may have protected the wrong title. Free speech is more valuable than any sort of artificial quality check on written articles.

Mariah's avatar

@johnpowell I mean, I’m not just a guy who knows how to install things, lol. I write applications. There’s a huge difference between software engineering and tech support.

cazzie's avatar

Wow. So… you all think this guy had no right to observe and discuss his observations?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Mariah You’re a legit computer scientist. Your company is probably using one of the exemptions to call you engineer. You are likely eligible to sit for the pe exams in your state for software engineering if they have one. Sometimes people still want to debate if computer science is engineering because in many departments there is a lack of breadth in coursework. If your software makes calculations, predictions, controls things or otherwise could cause serious issues you are a software engineer, just unlicensed. Otherwise you fall into one of the muddied names like “developer”
@jwalt I did not write the law and if he indeed published that paper with the title engineer he is guilty. Engineeri g boards try to push to keep the word engineer confined to the practice. If they don’t stay on top of it it will become meaningless just like “developer” or “designer” it’s an ethics issue, not a free speech issue. If you keep titles and licensure strict it’s another public safety safeguard.

cazzie's avatar

You can publish a paper. Anyone can publish a paper.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@cazzie he had every right, he just crossed the ethics line by a razors edge, possibly unkowingly. You can’t publish with at title you don’t have.

cazzie's avatar

wow. I thought the facist qualification boards here were bad. But they would never fine someone for doing research and talking about it. Land of the free, my ass.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Many countries actually have stricter standards. Canada is one of them he was not fined for doing research and talking about it, he was fined for misrepresenting his title. His work was not censored.

stanleybmanly's avatar

One thing is certain. This case is going to be marched through the courts, and for the life of me, I can see no way that the board’s actions might survive the trip. There is no argument against the law being there for the public good to protect the integrity of the profession. But as I said, the board blew it by choosing to enforce the law IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE. Every aspect of THIS case highlights every flaw with the law that you might care to name. From the clear conflict with the first amendment through the proposition that the board ALONE in the whole wide world has dominion over the word engineer.

stanleybmanly's avatar

They’ll never get away with it. The only hope for retaining the law was to settle with this guy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They’ll get away with it, their case is solid but I can see this being a case study taught in engineering ethics. It’s right on the edge of the law.

cazzie's avatar

You think there is a class called engineering ethics? Lol

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes @cazzie engineers are usually required to take engineering ethics in school and in continuing ed to maintain a their licenses.

cazzie's avatar

Im getting URL not found.

cazzie's avatar

The guy was trying to make the traffic lights more safe and not just collect money for the State. I think he was on the RIGHT side of the ethics in this situation.

And who was the whistle blower on the toxic dump at Love Canal? Was that an engineer? No, it was the residents that were complaining over and over again until the city was forced to do something. That mess was created by so-called qualified engineers.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think he was right on the traffic lights also and I believe that his data will clearly show the lights were set up to collect revenue at the expense of public safety. This goes against the code of ethics that engineers are held to. He was 100% wiyhin his right to speak out. His mistake was using a title he did not have. It’s a seperate issue. The question remains if the licensing board acted independently of the traffic light fiasco when issuing their warnings and fine.

snowberry's avatar

There’s a difference between following the letter of the law, and following the spirit of the law. That’s what it comes down to. If you’re going to follow the law to the last letter, you’ll crucify the guy, and forget the truth of what he says. But if you’re going to follow the spirit of the law, you’ll admit the your part in the problem and fix it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I sincereley hope that they will follow the spirit of the law but they are always in an akward position of defending the letter of the law. It’s an uphill battle keeping the title protected when the word “engineer” is thrown around like “sandwich engineer” I personally have mixed feelings about protecting the title. If the licensing board was doing this independently and had given warnings then it was likely an appropriate action. However, if this was a reacton to his criticisms and politically motivated then this is a corruption/conflict of interest issue.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This morning I looked through the forums on the NSPE website and people are pretty opinionated about what the Oregon state board has done with this case. Many are taking Oregons side and many are not. Right now it’s about 50/50. By the end of several lenghty discussuons it came out that he sent his traffic light findings directly to the board and identified himself as an engineer which crossed the line so they fined him. In a way he forced the issue by doing this so the board had to react. As of a couple weeks ago the board is backing down because this case is causing bad press for Oregon. I personally feel like they overstepped but that Mr. Jarlstrom is taking advantage of the situation to gain noteriety and advance his career. What happens here will likely have a ripple effect in other states.

rojo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me thanks for the follow up.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I still can’t see the board’s decision surviving a trip up through the judicial layers.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Honestly it may go either way. Canada has this locked up but in the US it’s still quite grey. We could end up like Canada where the title is protected and legally enforceable or things can stay where they are and engineer becomes even more vague.

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