> > Activists Scale Burlington Water Tower to Protest
> > Monsanto-University Ties
> > On Earth Day morning, Thursday April 22, two Vermont
> > activists scaled the
> > University of Vermont's 150 foot water tower to hang
> > a huge banner saying
> > "Reclaim the Earth. Monsanto out of UVM." One of
> > them, Darini Nicholas of
> > Plainfield, spent much of the day at the top of the
> > tower speaking with
> > supporters and local news reporters by cell phone
> > and walkie-talkie.
> > Nicholas is a native of Sri Lanka, an active member
> > of NorthEast Resistance
> > Against Genetic Engineering (NERAGE), and a graduate
> > student at the
> > Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) in Plainfield.
> > "I am here at great personal risk to draw attention
> > to the environmental
> > devastation supported by the University of Vermont's
> > (UVM) investment
> > policy," said Nicholas in a prepared statement.
> > "This action is part of a
> > movement to demand that UVM invest our public funds
> > in a socially and
> > environmentally responsible fashion rather than in
> > corporations like
> > Monsanto."
> > A noontime rally on the steps of the university
> > library featured speakers
> > on the hazards of genetic engineering and Monsanto's
> > sordid history from
> > NERAGE, ISE and the Native Forest Network, and music
> > by Seattle-based
> > songwriter Jim Page.
> > Ties between Vermont's state university and the
> > Monsanto company have been
> > a matter of controversy for ten years. In 1989, a
> > veterinary pathologist
> > at UVM's experimental farm revealed that cows
> > injected with Monsanto's
> > genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone were
> > aborting fetal calves
> > with severe deformities. Her revelations led to an
> > investigation by the
> > General Accounting Office of the US Congress and
> > helped delay government
> > approval of rBGH for use by dairy farmers in the US.
> > In 1997 student
> > activists revealed that Monsanto stock represented
> > the single largest
> > holding in the Vermont state university's portfolio.
> > A university representative told the Burlington Free
> > Press on Thursday that
> > the university now holds $192,500 in Monsanto stock.
> > The campus-based
> > Coalition for Responsible Investment (CRI) has
> > discovered that UVM recently
> > sold off its individual corporate holdings and is
> > instead investing in
> > mutual funds. This is clearly in response to
> > growing controversy over the
> > university's investment policies. Students and
> > local activists are also
> > investigating continuing research ties between UVM
> > and Monsanto.
> > A second demonstration against university-corporate
> > ties promoting
> > biotechnology will be sponsored by NERAGE and others
> > at the University of
> > Massachusetts on May 6th.
> > (Photos of the Burlington banner-hanging will be
> > available online shortly.)
> > NorthEast Resistance Against Genetic Engineering
> > c/o Institute for Social Ecology
> > P.O. Box 89
> > Plainfield, Vermont 05667 USA
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