Students at the University of Michigan (UofM) protest campus smoking ban. UofM President is revealed to have direct financlial ties to Big Pharma.
Mary Sue Coleman is the President of the University of Michigan. She also happens to occupy a seat on the board of Johnson & Johnson. As indicated on page 45 of this document, Coleman was paid $229,978 in 2009 by Johnson & Johnson for her role on the board.
Johnson & Johnson owns Alza Corporation, and Alza is the manufacturer of NicoDerm, NicoDerm CQ, Nicorette, Nicotrol, and Chantix. The corporate relationship is detailed here at (the very worthwhile) Clearing the Air blog.
Mary Sue Coleman, in her role as UofM President, states "the University will offer free behavioral sessions and selected over-the-counter smoking cessation products to faculty and staff, along with co-pay reductions for prescription tobacco cessation medicines. The University Health Service will offer students behavioral counseling and discounts on tobacco cessation aids."
In short, Mary Sue Coleman, as President of the University of Michigan, plays an instrumental role in imposing a campus wide smoking ban. In that same role, Coleman then uses her position and UofM resources to provide access to pharmaceutical nicotine replacement products. These are the very same products that are manufactured by Johnson & Johnson; the company that renumerated her with $229,000 only last year.
The conflict of interest is crystal clear.
As a result, UofM students have reacted in protest. With full credit due, FORCES has lifted most of the sources for this article and found the story line from the blog article of twenty year old UofM student Alex Biles (employers and publishers looking for thoughtful young talent: please make note of Mr. Biles).
Also, lest it be thought that young adults aren’t interested in the injustices imposed by the anti-smoking establishment, the libertarian group Students for Liberty in cooperation with the libertarian group Bureaucrash have been leading the charge of protest against the campus wide smoking bans that are occurring around the nation.
FORCES, of course, is perhaps the longest living, most influential, and well-known grassroots group in the world opposing the institutional anti-smoking establishment. FORCES is a 501(C)3 educational organization run entirely by volunteers, and FORCES has never received a dime of funding from the tobacco industry.
FORCES is deeply encouraged by the activism occuring amongst young adults in opposition to the tyranny of anti-smoking. FORCES welcomes and encourages these young activists to express their views here at FORCES. Otherwise, FORCES wants to reach out to these young activists, and provide whatever assistance we can. The latest from FORCES is updated on Twitter and FORCES is also on Facebook.
(Tip from the lovely and amazingly talented FORCES contributor Juliette Tworsey.)
(A link to a worthwhile opinion piece from The Michigan Daily is provided below.)