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by Students Against KGI
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 at 7:00 PM
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!
errorCALL TO ACTION: COUNTRY'S FIRST BIOTECH SCHOOL FOUNDED IN CLAREMONT,
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
Peter Stanley: President, Pomona College
Steadman Upham: President, Claremont Graduate University
Nancy Bekavac: President, Scripps College
Jon Strauss: President, Harvey Mudd College
Marilyn Massey: President, Pitzer College
Pamela Gann: President, Claremont McKenna College
For more information, check out:
http://www.kgi.edu (official 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
Axiom Venture Partners
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Beckman Coulter, Inc.
Celera Genomics Corporation
COR Therapeutics, Inc.
Edwards Life Sciences
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Johnson & Johnson/LifeScan, Inc.
Motorola, BioChip Systems
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
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