Exxon On The Princeton Campus: Governance And Academic Independence Is Allegedly In Danger

The research funding and increasing interest of ‘Big oil’ companies are allegedly resulting in  compromised academic roles of US Universities

March 28, 2023- The UK. ExxonMobil Corp. once again comes under scrutiny for its relationship with US universities. The corporate influence sparked a debate recently when its involvement at Princeton University was observed.

In the year 2022, when there was a hot debate about the divestment decision, the University claimed to cut ties with certain fossil-fuel companies including ExxonMobil. However, it was reported that the senior scientific advisor at ExxonMobil gets his own office at this elite university. Reportedly, the advisor is taking classes at Princeton on negative emission technology.

It is evidently a “shocking” state for the students and the members of the Divest Priceton that despite pressurizing the university to cut ties they still decide to retain links in certain ways with big oil companies.

The involvement of Exxon at Princeton becomes a hot topic of debate. Are Exxon funded research projects just a public relations exercise, or is this a way to pressurize the university with corporate influence?

The students at the Divestment Princeton group described the presence of the Exxon employee as “weird and problematic”. They commented that despite vacating the office back in September, the company is once again involved in academia is a sign that they are here with an agenda.

 It may not be an understatement that fossil fuel companies have ‘colonized’ American universities because allegedly MIT and Harvard have also been substantially influenced by the multibillion dollar endowments. Critics argue that the hefty investments and lobbying by these companies may influence the outcomes of academic research. It is also founded by some studies that industry funded research downplay the role of fossil fuel companies in the risks of climate change.

Along with the members of Divestment groups, researchers and analysts have raised concerns that the involvement and corporate influence is harmful to academia. These companies may influence the outcome of research as well as they might also influence the curriculum at elite universities.

The industry propaganda at Princeton university has a multifaceted influence. The opinions are varying but the majority are in favour that corporate influence might lead to compromised academic integrity. Therefore, the importance of practising transparency in partnerships and accountability in university policies and procedures has been demanded.

Source:- https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/mar/27/fossil-fuel-firms-us-universities-colonize-academia

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