Students and Teachers Urge CREF to Divest of Tobacco Stocks: College Students Take Aim At Kraft Foods To Stop Tobacco Marketing To Kids Worldwide
NEW YORK, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- As educators invested in the world's largest private pension fund vote on whether to divest of tobacco stocks at the College Retirement Equities Fund annual meeting today in New York City, students and teachers on college
Actions on college campuses this month coincide with the CREF annual meeting, including in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chapel Hill, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Rebecca McIntyre, a student from University of West Virginia in Morgantown says, ``Corporations like Philip Morris are making huge profits at the expense of kids all over the world. That's why we're supporting INFACT's Kraft Boycott, and urging other students on our campus to get involved. We're also working with professors who may not know their pension fund is heavily invested in tobacco stocks.''
Elizabeth Bailey of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is on the board of CREF, and is also a director on the board of Philip Morris. ``We hope Elizabeth Bailey's experience as a professor of business ethics will provide leadership on the Philip Morris board to stop abusive tobacco marketing and promotion practices that appeal to young people, rather than using her position on the CREF board to advance the interests of a tobacco corporation,'' says INFACT Executive Director Kathryn Mulvey.
Suren Moodliar, an organizer with INFACT, is attending the CREF annual meeting today to urge shareholders to support the proposal to divest of tobacco stocks. ``Educators have an obligation to children and young people not to invest in Philip Morris and other tobacco corporations that aggressively market and promote a deadly product to young people around the world,'' says Suren Moodliar.
A 1981 internal Philip Morris document says, ``Today's teenager is tomorrow's potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens . . . The smoking patterns of teenagers are particularly important to Philip Morris.''
Students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison protested Kraft recruitment on campus earlier this year, as did students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in October. ``Students here at UNC are letting Philip Morris know that we won't be part of a corporation that is pushing an addictive and deadly product on kids around the world-no matter how rich the personal rewards,'' said UNC senior David Holmes.
Kraft Boycott support extends to elementary and secondary schools as well. The San Francisco Unified School District adopted a selective purchasing policy this year to keep tobacco-owned products, including Kraft, out of school lunchrooms and vending machines. Mount St. Mary's Academy, a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas is supporting INFACT's Kraft Boycott as well.
Founded in 1977, INFACT's purpose is to stop life-threatening abuses of transnational corporations and increase their accountability to people around the world. INFACT is known for the successful Nestle and GE Boycotts. For more information about INFACT, you may visit our web site at www.infact.org.