Date: 11 September 2015
Author: Jennifer Lea Reynolds
(NaturalNews) A professor at the University of Hawaii’s (UH) College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hector Valenzuela, has been repeatedly stripped of his rights to freely express his opinion against GMOs and his support of GMO labeling. He’s been the recipient of unprofessional emails from other faculty members who have outright told him to “…stop already,” telling him he’s “…simply working so hard to prove what a scientific idiot” he is. Other staff members have resorted to even more childish behaviors by insulting his birth country, Guatemala.
The latter is clearly a prejudiced-based insult that not only represents a holier-than-thou attitude but also reflects utter disregard towards Guatemalans, may of whom have experienced atrocious medical crimes throughout history including intentionally being given STDs in the name of research.
University: keep your mouth shut, we’re getting funding from Monsanto after all
In the past, Valenzuela has brought these unsettling comments to the attention of human resources and others, who let his concerns drift in one ear and out the other. They simply don’t want his stance against GMOs made known; even his own department chair suggested that he discuss the problems of GMOs on his “own private time but not as a faculty member.” The reason why is obvious: the college has been accepting funding from Monsanto for a long time, so it makes sense that they want the professor to remain hush-hush on the topic of chemical violence.
It should also be noted that for six years during the 1990s, Valenzuela was involved in developing the first long-term organic farming research project in Hawaii and the Pacific region. When Monsanto entered the picture, Valenzuela’s organic efforts were shut down by the college.
Concerned staff members send letter to college higher-ups, defend professor’s right to discuss his anti-GMO stance
Fortunately, the tides are turning in favor of Valenzuela, who has been teaching at the college for more than 20 years. More than 60 faculty members at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have signed a letter demanding that Valenzuela’s academic freedoms be allowed and not thwarted. The letter, which was sent to Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, the vice-chancellor for academic affairs, and Maria Gallo, Dean of the university’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), comes from “Concerned Faculty Members of the University of Hawai’i” and states the following:
Professor Valenzuela came to CTAHR in 1991, and is currently a Vegetable Crops Extension Specialist, S5. The first restriction on his activities was the 1999 closure, for no valid reason, of a series of research projects in organic farming that Professor Valenzuela was carrying out at the University’s Waimanalo Experiment Station. Subsequently there followed a series of harassments that included bans on workshops and other events he had planned on neighbor islands…as well as discrimination against him with regard to the use of university transport and phone services. In addition he received abusive e-mails and was verbally abused by both colleagues and administrators.
It goes on to mention the controversies surrounding biotechnology and says that a one-size-fits-all mindset should not be encouraged. Therefore, Valenzuela should be allowed to continue making his viewpoints known without a barrage of insults and unfair treatment from others.
The letter also states:
To limit his right to academic freedom and intellectual inquiry in this way is a violation of the principles on which all universities are based, as well of the right to free discussion on which all non-totalitarian societies are based.
Additional efforts demonstrate support of right to speak out and take action against GMOs
Efforts to take action against similar situations are also being made on The Smoking GMO Gun Blog. There, Derek Bickerton, who resides in Hawaii and describes his interests as “Destroying bullsh[**] wherever it’s found,” speaks up on the importance of talking action when it comes to GMOs.
In one blog post, he writes that “Our first targets are the agriculture departments of American universities. Our goals are to prevent them from discriminating in any way against faculty members who take anti-GMO positions…” He says action has begun at the University of Hawaii and that other national and international efforts are in the works.
It’s about time that support is shown for this educated, well-meaning professor and those like him, and their efforts should be wholeheartedly applauded. Discussions about altered foods and the role they play in impacting human health must be understood, and Valenzuela is simply doing his part as an educator to inform and enlighten. Hopefully the college has the ability to part ways with their greedy Monsanto-money outlook long enough to take this letter — and Valenzuela — seriously.