Exxon Mobil Acquires Stanford University

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"Exxon Mobil has teamed up with Stanford University to find breakthrough technologies that deliver more energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," enthuses a TV commercial by the oil giant. Under Exxon Mobil's partnership with Stanford, first announced in 2002, the university "will get up to $100 million from the company over 10 years to fund climate and energy research."

After seeing the ads, major Stanford donor Steve Bing "decided to rescind a promised $2.5 million donation to the school." He is also "asking other major philanthropists to reconsider their promises to give to the Stanford cause," and is pushing for "an end to the 4-year-old ad campaign." Bing's advisor on climate issues said, "Exxon Mobil is trying to greenwash itself, and it's using Stanford as its brush." A Stanford spokesperson countered, "We are proud of our work on seeking solutions to serious energy and environmental problems and our collaborations in these areas with a variety of private and non-profit organizations." An earlier Exxon print ad, carrying the Stanford seal, "suggested that scientists were debating the cause of global warming."

Jennifer Washburn, a researcher who tracks the increasingly cozy relationship between universities and corporations, said Bing "has very good reason to be concerned about how Stanford is allowing its academic brand name to be distorted by its outside relationship with corporate donors."

Washburn, author of "University Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education," points to an early ad in which Exxon Mobil began touting the partnership. The ad, which ran on the New York Times op-ed page, suggested that scientists were debating the cause of global warming, even though there was a clear scientific consensus by that time that humans were responsible. The ad was signed by Lynn Orr, project director of the global climate program, and it carried Stanford's seal.

"Stanford really allowed Exxon Mobil to exploit Stanford's academic brand name," Washburn said. "They've done very little to protect their academic autonomy."



Posted by ueberbill on 2007-03-14 12:14:58
Now that's an excellent use of un-giving. Stanford teamed up with Exxon for the MONEY, not to "[seek] solutions to serious energy and environmental problems". What a load! I'm glad that some donors are using their purse strings to demonstrate their concerns.
Posted by Pile on 2007-03-14 15:51:02
This is what happens when you look at corporate america as a means to subsidize education. You don't get real education; you get the information corporate america wants people to know that furthers their own bottom line, regardless of whether it is the truth or not. The fact that this is going on in some of the more prestigious universities now gives you an indication of how widespread it really is.


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