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The BBC's Rebecca Jones
"The university says this is not a medical issue"
 real 56k

Vice Chancellor, Sir Colin Campbell
"A major investment in an area of huge importance"
 real 28k

Clive Bates, Director of ASH
"The university ought to be absolutely ashamed of itself"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 06:09 GMT
University attacked over 'tobacco money'
Nottingham University:
Nottingham University: Accused of selling out
Cancer care and research charities have attacked a university's decision to accept 4m sponsorship from British American Tobacco.

The University of Nottingham says it will use the funds to set up Britain's first International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.

But anti-tobacco campaigners accuse the university of selling out and accepting "tainted" money.

We are very serious about demonstrating responsible behaviour in an industry seen as controversial

Michael Prideaux, BAT
The university says the move is a genuine commitment from BAT towards supporting higher education and the development of management skills-bases in the countries where the firm operates.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said he understood universities were short of money.

"But accepting tainted tobacco cash is a step too far," he said.

'Baffling ethics'

A team from Nottingham University Business School will run the new centre, which will study the social and environmental responsibilities of multi-national companies.

The university said initial funding for staff and student scholarships would include 3.8m from BAT, phased over three years.

The tobacco giant is funding three specific areas:

  • a professional chair and directorship
  • a visiting professor from the developing world
  • competitive scholarships from developing countries where the company has major corporate interests.

The teaching programme will include the establishment of a specialised Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Spokesman for the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Karl Brookes said the irony of tobacco cash going into a centre for the study of company ethics was "baffling".

Corporate cahoots

"BAT's products kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and internationally, it's accused of racketeering, and is being sued by several governments for a vast array of misdemeanours," he said.

"It's baffling to see how this corporate behaviour makes a university think that this is an acceptable sponsor for a school of ethics. Whatever next?"

Will they be allowing the arms industry to sponsor a school for peace studies?"

Karl Brookes, Ash
Dr John Toy, medical director at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, said he found the move "just extraordinary".

"If you accept money from the tobacco industry you are partly in cahoots with them. I think it's a great shame that Nottingham University has agreed to accept this money."

The university's vice-chancellor, Sir Colin Campbell, defended the decision, saying BAT was working hard to address the "changing expectations of society and its stakeholders".

'Genuine commitment'

"It has a genuine commitment to engaging constructively, and to supporting higher education and the development of the management skills-base in the countries where it operates," he said.

BAT's corporate affairs director Michael Prideaux said the firm was delighted to be able to support a project that would develop understanding of what corporate social responsibility meant.

"Along with others, we are working hard to address both the changing expectations of multi-national companies, and the issues surrounding our industry."

BAT is currently under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry over allegations that it has been involved in aiding and abetting tobacco smuggling.

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06 Nov 00 | Business
EU sues tobacco giants
08 Sep 00 | Education
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14 Jun 00 | Health
Tobacco industry under attack
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