Koch, Exxon, Dow Chemical Get Demoted!

It’s getting so hard to keep up with the serial beclownings on the college campuses that I’m having to take anti-dizziness medication. But there’s one little snippet from the ongoing disgrace at the Claremont Colleges (where the presidents of the five undergraduate colleges in the cluster seem to be in a competition to see who can cave the farthest the fastest) that bears special note.

According to a fine report in the Claremont Independent, a scientist from Monsanto was received with predictable rudeness at a recent appearance at Harvey Mudd College, and subsequently cancelled a planned lecture at CMC’s Keck Science Center:

After students heavily protested her lecture at Harvey Mudd College last night, Dr. Chrissy Lawrence of Monsanto Company, an agricultural biotechnology corporation, canceled the lecture she was slated to give at the Keck Science Center. “I don’t know how many of you attended last night’s talk from a Monsanto scientist, but some of the students behaved unprofessionally,” noted a Harvey Mudd College professor in an email obtained by the Claremont Independent. “The Monsanto speaker said that in all her years of presenting to students in colleges/universities that last night’s student audience was by far the worst student audience she had ever encountered.”

Geez—you’d think Monsanto made napalm or something, like Dow Chemical back in the 1960s. But it gets better:

In an open letter published in The Student Life, Adin Bonapart (PZ ’16) criticized the decision to allow Dr. Lawrence a platform to speak since she is associated with “private interests from monopolistic corporations.”

“Because of the controversial nature of this topic, I urge you to postpone Dr. Lawrence’s visit and invite her to return as a panelist alongside knowledgeable academics and a more diverse set of voices, or revoke her invitation completely,” Bonapart writes. “As the most-hated corporation on earth, Monsanto and its subsidiaries should NOT be freely allowed to promote themselves at our academic institutions.”

First of all, a student named Bonapart leading a protest? Tom Wolfe must surely be ready to give up. But second, Monsanto “the most hated corporation on earth“??? I thought that title belonged to Koch Industries, or ExxonMobil!

So what is Monsanto’s sin? They like to patent their genetically modified seeds, like any other inventor or innovator. But the-know-nothing anti-GMO activists have successfully demonized Monsanto. Footnote: one of the notable things about the Environmental Studies department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I was happily embedded for a year, is the frustration of the otherwise left-leaning faculty with the know-nothingism of the anti-GMO crusade. (Just wait till this crowd learns that Exxon is researching genetically-modified algae biofuels!)