THE PROBLEM:

WHAT IS KGI?

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 decades, with a much greater potential for severe and irreversible damage. Why? Because, like the above industries, biotech research is being spearheaded by corporations. And the nature of the threat posed by biotechnology is something unlike anything else humans have yet produced in their haste for progress: genetic pollution is living; once itís released into the environment, there is no going back.

You may have heard of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of mostly undergraduate schools in southern California. These include the liberal arts schools Pomona College, Pitzer College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna, the science school Harvey Mudd, and the Claremont Graduate University. KGI, now in its first year, is the seventh member of the consortium, and will be conducting research for some of the industryís most notorious corporations.

THE THREAT TO EDUCATION:

A school conducting unbiased biotechnology research that took a critical at this new science could examine both its possibilities and its dangers, helping to bring the issues into the public discourse. KGI, by design, is not this kind of institution. It has a frightening closeness to industry that undermines the critical thinking and exchange of information that has traditionally allowed academia to act as societyís checks and balances with for-profit research.

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 and pharmaceutical corporations. These corporations will take an active role in shaping the research and PROFIT FROM ITS PATENTS. Read more about KGIís sponsors.

KGI IS NOT OFFERING TENURE TO ITS FACULTY, thus 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 jobs for doing so.

ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION

To top it off, the colleges have decided to relocate KGI (itís already in operation) to the Bernard Biological Field Station, a plot of undeveloped land currently used by the colleges as an outdoor research lab. It also hosts an award-winning environmental education program for local elementary students, providing some of these kids with their only exposure to Californiaís natural environment. The Bernard Field Station (BFS) contains one of the largest remaining concentrations of Coastal Sage Scrub, the endangered 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.

BFS is also the former village site of the Tongva people, and they strongly oppose the plan to build on the BFS. There is a high likelihood that there are still undiscovered artifacts on the land; the Tongva consider the BFS a vital link to their past. In a blatant disregard for the rights of indigenous people, the colleges and the city have gone ahead with plans to pave over this last parcel of indigenous land. See the Students for the Field Station home page for more information on the struggle to preserve BFS.

DEMOCRACY?


The Tongva have been ignored. The students and faculty have been ignored. The community, as has been seen through a massive public outcry at every city council meeting on the subject, overwhelmingly opposes this development of some of LAís last open space.
  • Faculty resolutions at 4 of the 6 Claremont Colleges condemned the plan to build on BFS.
  • 5 out of the 6 faculties condemned KGIís lack of tenure. Read their faculty resolutions here.
  • At least 2 student polls have found that the majority of students are opposed to the building.
  • Over the summer, 3,200 Claremont residents signed a petition to put the BFS issue to a vote, and city council removed the issue from the ballot.

Despite all these concerns and widespread opposition to the project, the Colleges and the City of Claremont have proceeded with their plans to build KGI on the field station.


The Problem | Action Alert! | The Bernard Field Station | KGI's Corporate Sponsors | Stickers Explained
Growing Opposition at the Claremont Colleges | Famous People Against KGI | Links | Home