SASH urges boycott of Nottingham University Open Day



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Monday 12 March 2001

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Immediate,12 March 2001

How open is the University abouttheir ‘blood money’ links to BAT?

Nottingham University will face more controversy this Saturday (17March 2001) as it opens its doors to potential students. Course applicants willvisit the university during an open day, but health campaigners are askingwould students visit if they knew about the university’s links to BritishAmerican Tobacco?

The university recently took £3.8m for an ‘International Centre for Corporate SocialResponsibility'[1] from the tobaccogiant that is being investigated by Department of Trade and Industry for itsrole in tobacco smuggling and has since been embroiled in controversy[2].Campaigners are asking if they are planning to tell potential students abouthow the decision has damaged student and staff harmony and brought widespreadcondemnation from the international academic community and health lobby[3].

Student leaders are also calling upon potential students of NottinghamUniversity to stay away. Chair of Students for Action on Smoking and Health(SASH), Patrick Mackerras, said, “Students can choose from many universities.In these days when a good degree, from a good university is no longer enough toguarantee a job upon graduation, students have to be asking do I need a degreefrom a university that is embroiled in strife and has a tarnished reputation?”

Mackerras, who is a student at Oxford University, added, “I doubt verymuch the University will be very open about their links to a company like BAT.Why would you if you were trying to show the university in a positive light.But students have a right to know about these things before they end upspending three years at Nottingham University.”

Karl Brookes, a spokesperson for health charity ASH, said: “Withacademic staff concerned by the decision and students split over theuniversity’s links to the tobacco industry the campus can’t be a happy place tospend three years. The idea of students taking a course in corporateresponsibility sponsored by a tobacco company would be laughable, if it werenot so serious. Many students will take a look at the situation and ask do Ireally need to study here?”

Brookes added: “This provides an insight into the ethos of theUniversity’s leadership. I can’t imagine why it would be attractive tostudents.”

Contacts:
Karl Brookes, 020 7739 5902 (work) 0589 504040 (mobile)

Patrick Mackerras, 07989888971 (mobile)

ISDN available for radio interviews. Please call 020 7739 5902 toarrange an interview.

To discuss this decision email: Nottingham@globalink.org

Notes:
[1] ASH Press Release, 4 December 2000

[2] BAT to be investigated by Department of Trade and Industry – The Guardian, 30 October 2000

[3] Visit conduct section of the ASH website for further details