The Open University is hosting a series of educational events focusing on the controversial partnership between UC Berkeley and BP, which will provide the foundation for an informed and focused activist campaign against the corporate privatization of our university. This weekly series will utilize multiple mediums to critically explore the issues surrounding this arrangement, such as BP's history, details of the EBI contract, biofuels research, hemp for sustainable energy, public education principles, and the threats of privatization. Combining documentary film excerpts, short lectures, research reviews, and group discussions, these free and open events provide a space for effective awareness and coalition building.
This Saturday's presentation focuses on BP’s history of reckless and unethical behavior, and outlines the dangers of inviting an untrustworthy corporation to wield extensive power over university research. The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the most recent catastrophe resulting from BP's prioritization of profit over people, and we will learn more about this ugly truth by watching the excellent documentary "The Big Fix". Their character credibility is crushed when we consider their crimes in this case: blatant disregard for safety, use of a toxic cleanup strategy, dishonest reporting, suppression of critical voices, and media manipulation. Next we will take an in-depth look at the BP-UCB Energy BioSciences Institute contract, which reveals an arrangement that threatens to corrupt academic integrity, suppress genuine sustainability science, and allow for private control of public knowledge. This deal was forcefully rammed through our academic senate in 2007 without sufficient consideration of the dishonorable intentions and negative consequences, and we will also revisit the passionate condemnations made by dissenting faculty.