Every year Dow recruits at colleges and universities across the
country, sweeping up some of the brightest minds that schools and
students have to offer. These new recruits may not understand what
they’re getting into – they’re certainly not getting
the full picture from Dow recruiters.
Make sure they get it - and challenge Dow's ability to recruit by
signing them up instead for the "Don't Work for Dirty Dow"
Sign the pledge online or download these hard copy pledge sheets: PDF
and Excel!(Please make sure that people fill this out fully,
and that their names, majors, schools and e-mails are readable;
otherwise there’s no point in collecting their signatures!
If they don’t want more information, they can always check
the box and they won’t receive anything extra. Please also
remember that you’ll need to type up the information and send
it in to us.)
Well, why would you want to work for Dow? This is part
of the problem: potential Dow recruits simply don’t know about
Dow’s dirty background, and the
company goes to great lengths to keep it that way. Potential recruits
have a right to know what they’re signing up for – the
whole story – but they’re not getting it in
Dow’s swank recruiting sessions. Make sure they DO know all
about Bhopal and Dow’s other toxic
horrors around the world so they can make an educated decision
about where to work the rest of their lives. Instead, ask them to
sign up for something else – a pledge NOT to work for Dow
until they accept responsibility for Bhopal. Given the choice, many
students may decide to go elsewhere after learning about Bhopal,
and they’ll have you to thank. In so doing, you’ll be
depriving Dow of a critical resource: the bright young minds that
fuel the future of its business.
To the Editor:
President-designate Fleming's speech at MSU indicates that we
are getting rid of one corporate-liberal hypocrite only to be
saddled with another. Fleming actually had the nerve to claim
that the University's "guarantee" of freedom of speech
gives Dow Chemical the right to recruit on campus. By the same
logic, the mafia must be allowed to recruit gunmen on campus,
and the Nazis had the right to recruit mass executioners at
German universities - all in the name of freedom of speech.
Such absurd conclusions stem from two fallacies: one, Fleming's
failure to distinguish exchange of ideas from conspiracy to
commit murder; second, Fleming's claim that economic freedom
is part of freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is the freedom to exchange ideas. It includes
the right to argue in defense of genocide, but it does not
include the right to organize machinery for genocide.
I will defend Dow's right to explain and defend genocide,
but I will not allow Dow to use this campus in its perpetration
of war crimes. Dow recruiters had best be prepared for resistence
appropriate to the magnitude of their crimes.
Steve Schlosser, Grad The Michigan Daily Dec. 6, 1967
Dow relies heavily on an educated workforce, as you can imagine.
Highly trained employees are a critical necessity, and the threat
of losing them is enough to set Dow all a-tremble. The last time
a nationwide campaign threatened Dow’s ability to recruit
college graduates, the company capitulated
utterly, giving up its production of napalm for the US military.
In the wake of the decision Dow’s President Herbert H. Doan
admitted that the campaign was costing Dow the creative minds which
might invent "the next great thing." “We may have
lost some recruits that we really would have wanted,” Dow’s
Chairman of the Board, Carl Gerstacker, confessed to the New
Dow may need students, but we don’t need them. Together,
we can deny Dow one of its most critical resources: us.
Dow’s ability to recruit students on your campus has been
thwarted by your efforts – nobody wants to work for them,
an implicit threat to the future of their business.
..........1. Educate potential Dow recruits
and the university community about Dow’s responsibility for
the ongoing injustice in Bhopal and its fundamental moral bankruptcy
as a company.
..........2. A specific percentage of
the students at your school – over 50% is excellent –
sign the pledge not to work for Dow until they accept responsibility
for Bhopal. You may also want to set specific goals for key majors
(such as Engineering, Chemistry, and Business) at your school.
Does Dow recruit at YOUR school? Find
out! If so, keep tabs on it – recruitment events are often
scheduled only weeks or days in advance, and if you don’t
keep your eyes peeled you may miss them. If they don’t recruit
regularly at your school, have no worries. You can still collect
valuable support for the Bhopal Pledge.
Three: A Unified Message
Make sure that all your group members and coalition supporters know
the relevant facts about Bhopal and the “Don’t Work
for Dirty Dow” campaign and can speak confidently about them
with students and the media. The fundamental
message of this campaign is: Dow is an unethical company that is
responsible for the ongoing poisoning of Bhopal. Students should
refuse to work for Dow until justice is served.
Dow offers internships to the following majors: • Accounting
• Chemical Engineering
• Computer Engineering
• Computer Science
• Electrical Engineering
• Finance MBA
• Human Resources
• Journalism, Public Relations, Communications
..........1. Obey the Law.
Dow must ensure that its fully-owned subsidiary ceases to abscond
and, 13 years after it was originally summoned, faces longstanding
criminal charges of “culpable homicide” (manslaughter)
before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal.
..........2. Clean Up the Poison.
Dow must clean up toxic wastes and contaminated groundwater that
Union Carbide left behind in Bhopal, thereby ending the cycle of
contamination and killing that has been allowed to continue for
the past 20 years. Dow must also provide fair compensation for those
who have been injured or made ill by this contamination.
Students who sign the pledge (and don’t sign up for more
information) will receive only three emails: 4 months before, on
and after their graduation date, reminding them of their pledge
not to work for Dirty Dow. However if they do sign up for more information,
you should feel free to add them to your local announcements email
list so that they’ll be kept informed of other Bhopal-related
events you may be planning.
Eventually pledges will be posted (and even collected!) online,
but for now please use these hardcopy pledge sheets.
ALL PLEDGES WILL BE SHARED WITH DOW. Not only will the complete
list be made available online, but Students for Bhopal will deliver
the complete list periodically to Dow’s executive management.
Our intention is clear: we want Dow to know what they’re missing!
Periodically we hope to compile the statistics so that we can say
(for example) “At the University of Michigan, 31.270477193%
of the class of 2007 Chemical Engineering students have pledged
not to work for Dow until they clean up Bhopal.”
Although anyone can collect pledges not to work for Dirty Dow,
the most effective way of doing so is by conducting a focused campaign,
with specific objectives (such as 20% of chemical engineering student
support, or 40% campus-wide support, etc.). Organize a sustained
and ongoing set of activities to achieve your goals over time –
for example it may take you an entire year to collect the support
of 20% of chemical engineering students at your school, and in order
to do so you may need to organize a targeted series of educational
events so that they’re thoroughly aware of Bhopal and
willing to support the cause.
Also, share your progress with the media. Issue press releases
when you reach a specific threshold of support and use the media
coverage of your campaign to raise awareness and explain why it
is that students shouldn’t work for Dirty Dow. As always,
no matter what you do, make sure you’re having FUN!
with groups that might be sympathetic and ask their members to sign
the pledge; help get the word out; help with an event etc. Such
groups include environmental, South Asian, human rights, political
and volunteer groups to name a few, Greeks, dorm meetings and campus
events are also good places to talk about Bhopal and ask for signatures.
educational presentations for student
professional organizations for engineering, business, chemistry
and the law, see if members are willing to sign the pledge. It’s
more important to gain their goodwill than to get pledges initially;
remember that these relationships take time to build. Make sure
to call to invite such groups to your events and maintain your relationships
Not good enough
around campus. Set up a table with information on Bhopal to hand
out, and if possible visually-appealing
materials and props to attract attention and interest. Ask passers-by
to sign the pledge. People who are not students may also sign the
pledge and put their career instead of major clearly on the pledge
sheet. You may want to hold pledge drives for the members of your
group – prizes for those who get the most pledges!
pledges at all your events. If you’re holding a video screening,
an anniversary vigil, a rally or (for some strange reason) a penguin-hugging
contest, bring your pledge sheets along and ask folks to sign up.
But the penguins? We don't think so.
Potential Dow Recruits About Bhopal
Dow won’t tell potential recruits the
truth about its dirty legacy, but shouldn’t potential
employees know what they’re getting into? Educate them about
Bhopal and Dow’s devastating legacy. Flier at career fairs,
hand out information to those attending Dow recruitment sessions,
or even pretend to be a Dow recruiter yourself, offering students
jobs in exchange for their consciences.
If Dow has scheduled interviews with prospective recruits on campus,
fill them. Sign up for as many sessions as you can and spend the
time asking them about Bhopal and Dow’s unfulfilled responsibilities.
Note that you can have fun by doing this in character (as a potential
Dow recruit) but that eventually they’ll catch on, and your
“interviews” may become short. Enjoy the fun while it
Work for Dow Day
Make it an event! Collect student pledges; organize a call-in to
Dow’s Headquarters (989/636-5663) explaining why you wouldn’t
work for the company; collect the resumes of those who’ve
pledged not to work for Dow and deliver them with a flourish (and
media attention) to a Dow recruiter or representative
at your school.
At Brown University
Get a couple buckets of sidewalk chalk and decorate campus. Chalking
is cheap, fun, creative, and effective. Some schools don’t
like it, but it’s pretty harmless and if you do it late at
night, you’ll avoid scrutiny. You can use it to educate, advertise,
or put pressure on your administration.
Dow Recruiting Sessions
Thwart Dow’s ability to recruit on campus by disrupting their
recruiting sessions. Seal off planned recruitment venues with “Crime
Scene: Do Not Cross” caution tape. “Quarantine”
the session by dressing in white
biohazard suits and white face masks; advise students that entry
might be unsafe, given Dow's history of chemical
contamination. Deliver a jhadoo
to the Dow recruiter, or attend the session wearing Pinocchio
noses to highlight Dow’s lie-ability. Even asking persistent
questions about Bhopal – questions Dow doesn’t want
asked – can be a disruptive influence.
On October 17, 2006, the Boston Coalition for Justice in Bhopal
made sure that MIT students attending a Dow recruiting session got
the real story, not just Dow’s feel-good propaganda.
About 30 chemistry and chemical engineering doctoral candidates
and post-docs were interested enough to come to the MIT recruiting
session, but after learning about Dow’s crimes around the
world, it’s doubtful that many will end up working there.
Aquene picks up the story: Two of us postered MIT on Monday morning with mock "Human
Element" posters to raise awareness about Bhopal and Dow's
other crimes against humanity in advance of the session. The chemical
engineering folks removed a few of these signs but most remain up.
This morning I chalked all around where the event was to be held
with body tracings, the death and poisoning counts from the back
of the Bhopal T-shirt (i.e. Poisoned by Dow: Asbestos - 550, Bhopal
- 150,000, Pesticide Poisoning Worldwide - Millions, etc.)
The chalkings got a lot of positive attention. Then we put up new
full color posters of the Dow Human element campaign (which career
services tore down almost completely).
We showed up 15 minutes before the session started and handed
out information to everyone who came to the session. We were dressed
professionally and our information was very nicely laid out so most
people thought we were with Dow. (everyone took it except for people
paid by career services). [We gave them the clinic brochure, the
executive summary of the amnesty report and one of the mock Dow
ads] We taped up the Amnesty "Zaki is Dead" posters (about
more recent deaths in Bhopal) up on the walls outside of the session.
The chemical engineering career services people tried to get us
to stop handing out information, then asked us to hand it out outside
the room (I had gone in to make sure that everyone who attended
got handouts). We agreed (and handed them out just outside the door
of the room). They then tried to convince us to go away as this
was a private event paid for by Dow and was really only open to
chemical engineering grad students. We said we are MIT students
and we have a right to be here and it was on the public calendar
so it is clearly not only a chemical engineering event. The woman
Then they sent a chemical engineering professor out to ask us questions
and find out if we were MIT students or not. Since we were both
MIT grad and post docs it seemed like a silly conversation. He may
have been trying to intimidate us, who knows. They asked us again
not to speak in the session. Then they said it was unfair for us
to hand out information because people thought it was from Dow and
we should explain at the beginning that this information is not
from Dow. They then realized this was a horrible idea, as they were
giving us a bully pulpit and decided to make the announcement themselves.
We came in right as the presentation was starting and sat in the
very front so that they would have to make a scene to try to kick
us out. The presentation started with the Human Element theme. I
held a Bhopal poster on my lap so the people sitting behind me could
see it. We had distributed questions in advance. We watched Dow's
powerpoint presentation where Dow claimed to be a sustainable and
respectful company and laughed amongst ourselves, astonished at
their shamelessness. The first presenter was a bit dopey, saying
things like, "Dow will treat you like a real full time employee,"
and "you can work within a continent or between the continents."
The first person's presentation ended with a question session, but
the career services folks quickly decided to keep all the questions
for the end when they realized that we might derail the session
before the presentation was even halfway over.
We patiently sat through the second session by Don Patrick on all
their fun high throughout chemistry processes blah blah blah. The
career services person decided to moderate the session to try to
keep us from speaking since the Dow people had no way of knowing
who we were and the career services people could pick us out (good
thing we didn't wear Bhopal T-shirts). Nonetheless, the Dow folks
kept calling on us and overriding the career services person.
Roshan: You say that Dow is a company governed
by principles of sustainability, yet you have not cleaned up Bhopal
where 20,000 people are drinking poisoned water and Midland Michigan
is contaminated with dioxin, how do you reconcile these things?
Dow guys: Well we don't know that much about that
stuff, but we know the people that work in Environment Health and
Safety EH&S. They are very nice people, really honest people
who really want to make things better. I know Dow is a good company
and that they are responsible in taking care of issues like Bhopal
(not verbatim). As for Michigan, everyone lives in Midland, the
Dow CEOs live there.
An exchange ensued between them because the Dow guys really got
caught up in defending the company.
The career services woman was really pissed and said ‘let’s
move on and take another question’ (people in the room seemed
to want this too). Unfortunately for her she happened to call on
one of our people who had come in later and who she could not have
John: Speaking again of Bhopal, which is in my
country, India, if you knew about the horrific case of the Bhopal
Disaster and you are so sustainable, why did you buy Union Carbide
in the first place?
Dow Guys: It was a good financial deal (in short)
A few other questions were then asked by people the career services
person actually knew personally, but then, Oh no! The Dow guys try
to take control again and make the mistake of calling on Aquene
(a white person, must be safer) who asks: I want to come back to
Michigan… are you saying that nearly 9,000 ppb of dioxin in
some places is healthy to live in? Do the Dow CEOs live in the dioxin-contaminated
areas? People can't sell their homes…Are you telling me that
Dow is doing its very best to clean up the mess? This has been a
problem since 1986. Is there a place that new employees can live
that is not dioxin contaminated?
Dow Guys: I don’t know where you are getting
those numbers from. There have been position papers written looking
at the dioxin issue.
Career Services Woman: I think that should be the
end of our questions session. Thank you all so much for coming.
If you have any further questions come up to the front and ask them.
(Deciding to cut her losses by finishing 20 minutes early)
As soon as people start lining up to talk to the Dow guys, I start
writing Dow facts on the Board about the manslaughter charges Dow
isn't facing, the number of deaths in Bhopal
..........• About the styrene
accident in Delaware this past August and a similar accident in
1997 also from a tanker car - yet Dow says safety standards are
..........• About how Dow was
convicted of not sharing key information on DBCP in 1983 by a jury
and continued to poison people in Nicaragua with it through 1985
after a 1977 ban on the chemical, about Dursban in India, etc. etc.
Everyone who was waiting in line to talk to the Dow guys read this
Only 2 people left the information we handed out to them in the
room, everyone else took it with them. We spoke to the Dow guys
after the meeting and I gave Trespass Against Us
to the more clueless guy, suggesting he read the 400 pages and then
try to develop counter arguments. The more experienced guy asked
us on the way out if we had ever asked Dow for these positions on
these things. We laughed and said yes but they don't want to talk
to us. It was a good night!
We went out for dinner to celebrate!
..........• Keep a low profile
- if they hadn’t been able to easily identify me I could have
possibly spoken at the beginning of the session as I did the Tufts
session over a year ago.
..........• Don’t sit together
– it makes it easier for them to ID you
..........• Have some high profile
people put up website information and other stuff in the room –
if you have enough folks to also ask tough questions later. Nice
to have bad activist/‘good-but-curious student’ roles.
..........• Do chalking around
the building, and postering too - this rattles them in advance and
gives you an advantage *but also better prepares them to thwart
..........• Do pre-write statements
so that the few chances you get to say something are fact filled
and on message.
..........• Take photos (if you
The AID chapter at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
added another leaf to their Bhopal campaign by organizing a protest
against Dow Corning, which was present at a career fair the IU campus
on Thursday, November 2nd, 2006.
Over 30 volunteers from AID, enthused by their recent hosting of
the Students for Bhopal conference at Bloomington, wielded banners
outside the career fair and distributed flyers to students entering
the venue. A steady stream of protestors visited the Dow Corning
representatives at their table and questioned the negligence of
their company. A concerted PR campaign before, during, and after
the protest ensured that the protest was covered by the Campus newspaper
as well as the city newspaper through press releases, press reports,
and letters to the editors. This helped spread the message that
"Students need to make an Informed Choice" when applying
for jobs. All that the Dow people could do was utter feeble responses
that they were not part of Dow. Yeah right! Just 50% Dow, but 100%
The moment we got to know about the arrival of Dow Corning at the
Life Sciences Career fair hosted by the University, it was natural
to think that we should use this opportunity to organize a protest
to help spread the awareness about "the dark side of DOW"
amongst the students at IU. There was a two fold agenda drawn up
in order to make an organized show of resistance against the company
that was the perpetrator of the death of thousands on December 3,
1984. The main goal was to help enable IU students to make an "informed
choice" on their career by getting to know the whole story
about a company, and the second one was to ask the University to
set a standard for the kind of companies that they allow on campus
for such events in future. After all, setting the bar high on the
companies invited to a career fair raises the standard of the University
itself and in turn helps the students who invest their future on
the makings of such companies.
The preparations for the protest began 10 days before the fair
and were masked in secrecy to surprise Dow and avoid preemptive
interference by University officials. We used an AID sponsored Diwali
Potluck to spread the word on the protest and started collecting
pledges from students that "I wont work for Dow". We also
collected resumes from students marked with the pledge not to work
for Dow, with the intent of handing them over to Dow. This would
send a symbolic message that Dow came to get resumes of students
interested in working for them, but instead got many more resumes
of students who would NOT work for them. We also started digging
up information about Dow Corning, which was a joint venture of Dow
and had its own set of issues, such as the Breast Implant litigation
in the early 1990’s. We also collected information on IU/departmental
policies on on-campus recruitment and networked with other student
groups like the Indian Students Association, No Sweat, and Graduate
Student Groups. One of the best things we did was the PR campaign
where we put the knowledge gained from Media Training Workshop at
the SfB Conference to work. We prepared press releases and press
kits with background information, called up reporters and went in
person to talk to editors, sent reminders to them to make sure they
turned up and brought photographers, and prepared juicy sound bites
for them. All of these ensured that the protest turn out to be a
Talking to the press
The Big Day
The night before the protest, several volunteers went chalking and
flyering all around the career fair venue. We drew outlines of dead
bodies and named them after real victims of the Bhopal disaster.
We also added quotes like "Don’t work for Dirty Dow"
and "Dow = Death". We wanted to make sure anyone even
close to the venue would not miss the protest.
The career fair was between 10 AM and 2AM at the IU Auditorium,
and by 9:45 there were more than 10 people holding up banners and
posters taking their positions. We were mildly disappointed (though
not surprised) that flyers within 30 feet of the venue had been
removed/washed out by the career fair organizers, but those further
away had survived. The posters we held were graphic and based on
a parody of Dow’s Human Element campaign. There were volunteers
who were distributing flyers with pictures of Dow’s atrocities
around the world (Bhopal, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Africa, and USA).
We found these to be more effective in grabbing people’s attention
than written material – pictures do speak more than words.
These graphic evidence would remain glued to the memory of any passerby
who would cringe at the thought of associating himself/herself with
Dow in the future. Protestors braving the cold and the wind kindled
the curiosity of students visiting the fair and only a few avoided
us. The volunteers told them of the reason for the protest and how
could make a difference through signing a pledge and talking to
the Dow representatives inside!! Signatures for the "I won’t
work for DOW" pledge form started pouring in!!
The protesters were not allowed into the venue though it was open
to all IU Students. We were politely warned to keep a 30 feet distance
from the venue and a couple of cop cars were on standby just to
get the message across to us. A few of us, in the guise of seeking
a job (we were, after all, IU Students), took the responsibility
of walking in and speaking to the Dow Corning representatives on
what they thought about Dow’s handling of Bhopal and on the
protest being staged outside. They outright denied any association
with Dow Chemical, claiming that Dow was just a share holder (a
50% share holder!) in their company, and acted surprised that we
were protesting against a company that was not even present at the
Career Fair. Well, that did not fool many. Looks like owning 50%
of the company's shares is not much of an association!!
Most students who went in or came out of the fair stopped at the
Showalter Fountain to talk with us and many signed the pledge form
not to work for a company that indulges in such "inhuman activities".
Over 100 people have taken the pledge and that is about 25% of all
people who were at the career fair! We even had a bunch of middle
schools students visit the fountain and all of them got Bhopal flyers
Signing the pledge not to work
We had several members from other student groups also join us through
the day and it was a wonderful exercise in coalition building. We
had several reporters coming in at different points in the protest,
talking to protestors, with the Dow Corning representative, and
taking pictures. The campus newspaper, Indiana Daily Student, and
the city newspaper, Herald Times, carried the campaign report the
next day on their 2nd page. The much desired goal of creating awareness
among the students to create an "informed decision" was
achieved! In a nutshell, you could not have asked for a better first
Inspired by Armstrong's words, I would call this a giant leap for
the Bloomington chapter, who was/is still a newbie to the world
of protesting and showing resent against a giant corporation! All
these would not have been possible without the humungous efforts
of many a people, both on and off stage. Thanks to each and every
one of them. Every small effort was counted and seen, and each of
us are proud to have made an attempt to make these people accountable
for a horrendous deed committed 22 years ago, whose wounds are still
afresh among the affected!
The Aftermath & Post-mortem
The PR campaign did not stop with the reports. We made sure we followed
up with the reporters and sent letters to the editor rebutting the
claims of the Dow Corning representatives that they were independent
of Dow. Two of these letters were published in the campus newspaper.
The 200 graphic flyers that we printed we all used up by the end
of the protest! That showed us not to under-estimate the effectiveness
of our efforts.
While we managed to retort to Dow Corning’s claims that they
were not part of Dow, we did not expect such a defense from them,
though in hindsight, it seems obvious. We should have pre-empted
them from giving such a justification by having posters about it
or having facts like Dow has 4 board members in Dow Corning’s
board of directors. This would have made the press report more in
our favor, instead of having to use letters to the editor to fill
It is not clear if our efforts at secrecy were worth it. While
we did have over 30 protestors in all, we could have get more if
we’d actively used mailing lists to publicize the protest.
Dow Corning had a surprise for sure, but they may have had the surprise
even if we’re publicized the protest more. We may have just
been a bit paranoid.
Dow has got the message, loud and clear, that students at IU will
not stand by as people continue to shrivel and die at Bhopal --
without clean water, without medical care, without livelihood,
This is just the beginning. Several other groups have expressed
support to kick out dirty companies like Dow from the IU campus.
As we take this movement forward, each one of our voices will count!
The international student campaign to hold Dow
accountable for Bhopal, and its other toxic legacies around the world.
For more information about the campaign, or for problems regarding this
website, contact Shana Ortman, the US Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
November 11, 2008
ALL LIVE IN
"The year 2003 was a special
year in the history of the campaign for justice in Bhopal. It was the
year when student and youth supporters from at least 30 campuses in the
US and India took action against Dow Chemical or in support of the demands
of the Bhopal survivors. As we enter the 20th year of the unfolding Bhopal
disaster, we can, with your support, convey to Dow Chemical that the fight
for justice in Bhopal is getting stronger and will continue till justice
is done. We look forward to your continued support and good wishes, and
hope that our joint struggle will pave the way for a just world free of
the abuse of corporate power."
Signed/ Rasheeda Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Employees Union
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal