Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Deciphering the editorials
This is an interesting Daily Cal editorial which says something about taking tobacco money. I think I agree with the final conclusion, but the editorial doesn't seem to make the case for it, if it is what I think it is.
This is just another example of the separation between research and funding. And while the tobacco industry has acted with gross negligence, the principles of the university dictate we must continue to pursue academic progress assuming independence from all donors.Pursuing academic progress assuming independence from all donors seems like a good way to study poverty. I dunno how this principle also dictates that dependence on donors is necessary, which is the point of the editorial. I think.
Activists past and present can attest to the variety of corporations and organizations with poor public images with which UC schools have engaged in the past. Armaments, petroleum and pharmaceuticals are just some of the industries that have faced public scrutiny from which the university continues to accept funds.I... uh... yeah? Wait, now we're leaving principles behind.
In light of this, the moral argument for not accepting these funds just falls short, and does puts the UC system on a "slippery slope" towards losing funding sources, as Regent Sherry Lansing put it.
Furthermore, to deny these funds would be to uphold a double standard. Rejecting the monies implies that tobacco industry donations should face a higher level of scrutiny than donations from other industries because they are inherently more likely to illegitimately influence the results of the researchers.That's not really a double standard. The double standard is that there are a lot of folks inherently more likely to illegitimately influence the results of the research, and the most significant of them are the researchers themselves.
I dunno, maybe I just don't understand what point the Daily Cal was trying to make with the editorial.
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