Coal / Mountaintop Removal

BP-to-Goldman boards become hot seats for college presidents

OSU president Gordon Gee

NEW YORK, NY — “As much as higher education and corporate America would like to be engaged, college presidents are struggling to reconcile the demands and values of academia with shareholder skepticism about their boardroom commitments…

Opposition from critics, both on campus and off, may drive university officials from corporate boards. E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, left Massey Energy Co., a coal-mining company based in Richmond, Virginia, in July 2009, after nine years on the board, amid criticism he was abetting a polluter. The following April, an explosion at the company’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 people.

Before the resignation, a Cleveland-based nonprofit group called Ohio Citizen Action had collected signatures and letters from more than 6,800 Ohio residents, including students, faculty and alumni of Ohio State, urging Gee to leave Massey, said Kate Russell, an organizer of the protest.

The group opposes what Russell said is Massey’s practice of mountaintop-removal mining that adds waste to waterways. Gee’s service at Massey was hypocritical because he was promoting alternatives to fossil fuel while receiving fees from the coal company, Russell said in an interview.”

— Janet Lorin, Bloomberg

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