October 31, 2007
CONTACT: John M. Simpson, 310-392-0522, x317, or cell: 310-292-1902
Consumer Advocates Insist UC Regents Review $500 Million "UC-BP" Deal; Demand Proposed Contract Terms Be Made Public
Santa Monica, CA — The University of California Board of Regents
must approve any contract with BP creating the controversial Energy
Biosciences Institute at UC Berkley before it is signed, The Foundation
for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) insisted today.
The group also demanded the contract be made public before it is signed.
"The administration is on the verge of transforming California’s
premier public university into UC-BP without any real discussion or
oversight by the Regents," said John M. Simpson, FTCR consumer advocate
and member of its OilWatchdog.org project.
Announced last February, the $500 million deal envisions
bringing 50 BP scientists to the Berkeley campus to conduct secret
proprietary research. Though the deal was proposed nine months ago,
negotiations on the contract have taken the last nine months. The
proposed pact — still secret — is now in the office of UC President
Robert Dynes. There have been reports it could be signed next week.
In a letter to Dynes and Richard C. Blum, Chairman of the Regents, Simpson said such action would be "unacceptable."
"The people of California are shareholders of the University of
California and they, and their representatives, deserve an opportunity
to comment on a momentous change in the system — not simply be
presented with a fait d’accomplis," Simpson wrote.
A half-billion dollar grant will change the face of research at
California’s premier public institution forever, letting the agenda be
set by corporate interests, FTCR warned. While routine research grants
have been ratified at the local campus level, this proposal is anything
"Clearly such a deal that could change the course of higher
education in the state must be discussed and ratified by the Regents
and its proposed terms released so that the public may offer comments,"
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California’s
leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more
information visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and www.OilWatchdog.org.