Action Alert – Tell Anna University to Dump Dow Sponsorship

Tell Anna University to Dump Dow Sponsorship

Dow Chemical, the company responsible for the continuing medical and environmental disaster in Bhopal, is on a binge to purchase legitimacy. It has paid Rs. 5 lakhs as sponsorship for College of Engineering at Anna Universiry in Chennai, Guindy’s Kurukshetra Techfest 2010. IIT Delhi and Kanpur have returned Dow’s money a day before the sponsored event. It is never too late to do the right thing! See our recent Press Release and a related news story from Jan 13 and from Jan 19.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION. IT WON’T TAKE MORE THAN A MINUTE.

Send a polite SMS to the Dean of College of Engineering, Guindy, urging him to return the money and expose his students and faculty to a public debate on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Dow’s role in exacerbating the disaster. Ethical decisions are difficult decisions. The Dean says Dow has been a partner of CEG for many years now. Tell him it’s never too late to do the right thing. Tell him to cut ties with Dow Chemical.

SUGGESTED TEXT: “Please dissociate with Dow Chemical. Allow students to learn about Bhopal tragedy. Engineering without ethics led to Bhopal disaster. YOUR NAME. CITY. CLASS (If Alumni).”
CELL NUMBER: +91 9940666725

Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster wrote to the student organisers in October 2009 requesting an opportunity to present their story to students and faculty in an effort to urge the organisers to reconsider their association with Dow Chemical. The student organisers declined the Bhopalis’s request fearing a build-up of public opinion against Kurukshetra’s association with Dow. In January 2010, supporters of the Bhopal survivors contacted Dr. M. Sekar, Dean of CEG, to request an appointment with him for two young Bhopali women — second-generation victims of Dow’s negligence. Dr. Sekar said: “We are an academic institution, and have collaborations with all kinds of industry. We can’t be concerned with what happens outside in society.” He refused to meet the Bhopalis, and failed to even extend a basic courtesy of hearing out the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Less than a week later, we were able to get one of the departments to offer space to speak about the Bhopal disaster, as long as nothing controversial was shared with students. However, this offer was withdrawn because the Dean barred this presentation from being made. More damaging than the fact that CEG is associating itself with Dow Chemical is the fact that it does not want to expose its students to diverse opinions — in this case, to learn about a landmark event in industrial and Indian history from the mouths of direct victims.

Engineering colleges, and academic institutions, are not meant to generate raw material for industry. They are expected to shape decent human beings.

Please take action. Circulate this Action Alert. Write to the Dean, to the Vice Chancellor and to media publications.

Vice Chancellor Mannar Jawahar. Tel: +91 44 2231445.
Email: vc@annauniv.edu

Dean, CEG, Dr. M. Sekar. Tel: +91 22301357
Email: munusekar@annauniv.edu

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