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The Truth About Food is "Too Controversial" For Washington State U.

by: Jill Richardson

Thu May 21, 2009 at 15:45:53 PM PDT


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When Washington State University decided to distribute The Omnivore's Dilemma to all freshmen at orientation, "a member of the board of regents raised concerns about the work's focus on problems associated with agribusiness." The critic was Harold Cochran, who owns a 5,500-acre farm and is a member of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

Now, WSU will not distribute the book, supposedly due to financial concerns and cost. Instead, professors are simply encouraged to incorporate the text into their curricula.

However, the announcement that the book would not be distributed at summer orientation came seven weeks after the book was chosen. In the meantime, the university purchased nearly 4,000 copies.

"Unless they wanted to have a big book-burning in the middle of Terrell Mall, I don't see how they intended to save money by making this decision," said Jeff Sellen, a general education professor and member of the common reading selection committee.

This is not a problem limited to one university. Take, for example, the President of South Dakota University, who also happens to be on the board of directors at Monsanto. Cornell and the University of California have both taken money from Monsanto, but having your president on their board of directors takes things to a whole new level. And clearly, as you can see at Washington State, the interests of the faculty do translate into the education of the students.

Jill Richardson :: The Truth About Food is "Too Controversial" For Washington State U.
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