Michael Pollan won’t deliver a solo lecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after the school caved to criticism from a beef company. When the public university scheduled Pollan to lecture today at a sustainable farming consortium, Harris Ranch Beef Company threatened to stop its donations. So the school changed the format to a panel discussion to avoid having Pollan speak “unchallenged.” That satisfied Harris Ranch chairman David Wood, but now Pollan is the rankled one.
“The need for balancing my presentation strikes me as a stretch. I was invited to balance the production-ag point of view most familiar to the student body,” Pollan told the New York Times’ Green Inc. blog. “I wonder if there will be balancing views invited in next time Monsanto comes in to talk about why we need G.M.O.s to feed the world.” Even though the university claimed they didn’t change the format solely to appease Harris Ranch, Ag department dean David Wehner said the company’s opposition might have to do with the fact that the department it funds contributed $5,000 to Pollan’s speaking fee. Hey, checkbooks need balancing too.
Beef Industry Seeks Balance — And Gets It [Green Inc./NY Times]