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Help Stop Nation's First Biotech School!

by Students Against KGI Friday, Oct. 27, 2000 at 2:00 AM
stopkeck@wildmail.com

The Claremont Colleges plan to build nation's first biotechnolgy school in east LA County on local nature preserve. Call or email the presidents of the colleges to help stop it!

CALL TO ACTION: COUNTRY'S FIRST BIOTECH SCHOOL FOUNDED IN CLAREMONT,

CALIFORNIA!

THE PROBLEM:

You may have heard of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of mostly

undergraduate schools in southern California. These include liberal

arts schools such as Pomona College, Pitzer College, Scripps College,

Claremont McKenna, and the science school Harvey Mudd. Unfortunately,

the Claremont Colleges have decided to add another college to the

consortium: the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI).

The Keck Graduate Institute is THE NATION'S FIRST SCHOOL DEVOTED

ENTIRELY TO BIOTECHNOLOGY. This is a field that is coming under

increasing fire from scientists, environmentalists, and concerned

citizens worldwide, because whatever its potential for good, biotech

research is being carried out with a recklessness to rival the chemical

and nuclear technologies of previous centuries, with a much greater

potential for severe and irreversible damage. Why? Because, like the

previous industries, biotech research is being spearheaded by

corporations. Therein lies the sinister nature of KGI.

KGI prides itself on its ties with the biotech industry. It has

"corporate partners," a "corporate roundtable," and many of its trustees

are current or past employees of biotech corporations. These

corporations will take an active role in setting the curriculum of the

school. Furthermore, they will sponsor student research, then RETAIN

ANY PATENTS resulting from it, including patents on living organisms.

In essence, these graduate students will be paying to work for biotech

companies.

Who are these companies? They are some of the worst corporations

worldwide, with histories in Nazi medical experiments, stolen genetic

information, recurring fines for severe pollution, stockpiling of

carcinogenic pesticides in third world nations, illegal exportation of

potential biological weapons . . . the list goes on. Some of the names

may be familiar: Bayer, Celera, duPont, Genentech. A complete list of

KGI's corporate roundtable is given at the end of this email.

KGI WILL NOT BE OFFERING TENURE TO ITS FACULTY, thus at one stroke

eliminating all pretense of academic freedom from the institution.

Professors will never speak out about ethical violations or questionable

research going on at the college, because they can easily lose their

jobs.

To top it off, the colleges have decided to build KGI on the Bernard

Biological Field Station, a plot of undeveloped land currently used by

the colleges as an outdoor research lab. The Bernard Field Station

(BFS) contains one of the largest remaining concentrations of Coastal

Sage Scrub, the severely threatened ecosystem that once covered all of

LA County - building on this site would do irreparable environmental

harm. KGI has not even addressed the risks of potential escape onto the

land of genetically modified organisms in the case of earthquake or

fire. Furthermore, the BFS was the site of a pre-Columbian village, and

the Gabrielino-Tongva who lived there strongly oppose the plan to build

on the BFS. There is a high likelihood that there are still

undiscovered artifacts on the land, and the Tongva consider the BFS a

vital link to their past. They, as well as the students and faculty of

the Claremont Colleges, have been ignored. Faculty resolutions at four

of the six Claremont Colleges condemned the plan to build on the Field

Station; five faculty resolutions condemned KGI's lack of tenure. At

least two student polls over the last few years have found that the

majority of students are opposed to building on the Field Station.

Jeremy Rifkin (author of The Biotech Century) voiced his opposition to a

biotech school being built on the Field Station when he visited campus

last year, and just recently Ralph Nader resoundingly criticized KGI's

corporate ties. But the plan to build KGI proceeds apace.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

This is a serious issue. Corporate sponsorship of biotechnology, the

patenting of life, the rape of the environment, and the trampling of

indigenous rights concern us all. TELL THE COLLEGE PRESIDENTS THAT YOU

OPPOSE THE KECK GRADUATE INSTITUTE, and that KGI IS BAD FOR THE

CLAREMONT COLLEGES! Important points to make:

1) The Claremont colleges will suffer from negative association with

biotechnology, a controversial new science receiving increasingly

negative press in Europe and America.

2) The Claremont colleges will suffer from negative association with

KGI's sponsoring companies.

You might mention that this is already happening; the Inland Valley

section of the LA Times (10/21/2000; "Nader Stumps in Valley," Rene

Luna) reported on Nader's criticism of KGI: "Nader encouraged students

to oppose the planned Keck Institute, saying that biotechnology is a

'technology ahead of its science.' He added that by courting corporate

sponsorship of the school and having graduate students and professors

sign confidentially agreements, the proposed college would be little

more than a research and development department for big business."

If you are a high school student, you might want to consider telling the

presidents how your image of the Claremont Colleges has been adversely

affected by their stance on KGI and the BFS.

Call or email the following people and have your voice heard today! (CC

any emails you send to stopkeck@wildmail.com, so we can keep track of

how we're doing! If you receive a response, we'd appreciate it if you'd

forward it to us as well)

Brenda Barham Hill: Chief Executive Officer, Claremont University

Consortium

(909) 621-8026

bhill@cuc.claremont.edu

Peter Stanley: President, Pomona College

(909) 621-8131

Peter_Stanley@pomona.edu

Steadman Upham: President, Claremont Graduate University

(909) 621-8025

steadman.upham@cgu.edu

Nancy Bekavac: President, Scripps College

(909) 621-8148

(909) 607-2514

president@ad.scrippscol.edu

Jon Strauss: President, Harvey Mudd College

(909) 621-8120

(909) 621-8121

jon_strauss@hmc.edu

Marilyn Massey: President, Pitzer College

(909) 621-8198

(909) 607-2690

marilyn_massey@pitzer.edu

Pamela Gann: President, Claremont McKenna College

(909) 621-8111

president@mckenna.edu



For more information, check out:

http://www.kgi.edu (official site)

http://www.keckgrad.com (counter-site)

http://sites.netscape.net/studentBFS (Students for the Field Station)

http://home.earthlink.net/~alto/boycott.html (The Great Boycott)

KGI'S CORPORATE ROUNDTABLE

Agouron Pharmceuticals

Allergan, Inc.

Amgen, Inc.

Axiom Venture Partners

Baxter Healthcare Corporation

Bayer Corporation

Beckman Coulter, Inc.

Celera Genomics Corporation

COR Therapeutics, Inc.

Edwards Life Sciences

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Genentech, Inc.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Illumina Inc.

Johnson & Johnson/LifeScan, Inc.

Medtronic, Inc.

MiniMed, Inc.

Motorola, BioChip Systems

Nanostream

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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