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Rutgers should not become involved with corporate interests

As a Rutgers alumna, I have grown very uncomfortable with the cozy and symbiotic relationship developing between the University and research facilities, pharmaceutical industries and the National Institutes of Health. 

New Jersey is the pharmaceutical and medical capital of the world. With a shrinking job market, New Jersey politicians are trying to prevent other states from siphoning off the financial flow of these industries for themselves. University officials are keen marketers of the growing “health sciences.” However, by becoming a designated research university, Rutgers has made a tradeoff — it receives corporate dollars to promote corporate interests. Now, the University wants its graduates to help support these corporate interests, too.

The University’s persistent pressure on alumni to donate to the research mission and the ensuing guilt for not donating enough, as evidenced by the recent “Playing the Percentages” article in the alumni magazine, Rutgers Magazine, is particularly irritating. But even more troubling is the University’s use of donations and taxpayers’ money to amplify and prop up costly, ineffective and inhumane animal research. For example, a few years ago, Rutgers received $3.5 million of taxpayers’ money from the NIH to conduct cruel and unnecessary experiments on animals in order to demonstrate the obviously damaging effects of alcohol on the unborn, which isn’t news to anyone.

As long as Rutgers University continues to beat the drum for Big Pharma and Big Ag and expand its role in the exploitation of animals in research, farming and aquaculture, you can count me out for any monetary support.

Bethany Cortale is a class of 1997 Douglass College alumna.

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