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Letters of Support

Monsanto targets Carpenter

Andrew Moss, Ruby

I was shocked and disgusted to read that the University at Albany bowed to pressure from Monsanto and sidelined an eminent environmental scientist, Dr. David O. Carpenter ("Noted PCB researcher on 'alternate assignment,'" Feb. 5).

I want to thank the Times Union for reporting this shameful injustice. It harms both Carpenter and the safeguarding of our environment. The university must reinstate Carpenter immediately to his usual duties and privileges.

There have been many years of research into Monsanto's products and their health risks, but Monsanto would like to keep any negative findings out of the news. In 2020, a Missouri farmer was awarded $265 million when a jury found that Monsanto's dicamba herbicide destroyed all of his peach trees when it drifted from a neighboring farm. In 2018, San Francisco jurors ruled that Roundup gave a former school groundskeeper terminal cancer; awarding him $289 million.

Attacking the scientists, rather than their findings, leads one to believe that Monsanto can't dispute the science so it tries to discredit the scientist. If you search the internet, you will find cases of Monsanto vs. farmers, researchers, reporters and anyone else who tries to expose the dangers of its products. 

Published Feb. 20, 2023

Carpenter must be reinstated

Xan Plymale, Albany

I want to express my thanks to the Times Union for covering the situation involving David O. Carpenter, the founder and longtime director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the state University at Albany. I likely wouldn't have heard about this elsewhere.

As a student at UAlbany, professors who not only understand their students' day-to-day struggles but who also try to make our lives easier are precious. As someone who studies environmental policy, experts who cut through the confusion and help victims of pollution exposure receive justice are precious. As someone living in America, and aware of the train derailment — and subsequent massive pollution event — in East Palestine, Ohio, researchers who can identify pollutants and quantify their health impacts are precious.

I do not feel that Carpenter’s "alternate assignment," or proposed employment agreement due on March 1, is just a simple personnel matter ("Monsanto targets researcher," Feb. 14). The way UAlbany handles this case will have repercussions for researchers everywhere, and will, no doubt, influence what cases experts feel comfortable testifying on.

I hope that UAlbany will please show me that my mentors will be respected and that my degrees will have value post-graduation. I hope that UAlbany will reinstate Carpenter to his former position — at the very least so that his students’ program progress will no longer be impacted — and at best to show researchers that they don’t need to worry about professional reprisal from large corporations.

The writer has a bachelor's from the University at Albany and is pursuing an MPA degree there.

Published Feb. 20, 2023

UAlbany must restore Carpenter's status

Judith Enck, Poestenkill

What in the world is University at Albany President Havidan Rodriguez thinking? And why isn't State University of New York Chancellor John B. King intervening to right this wrong?

As reported in the Times Union, Dr. David O. Carpenter, a physician and professor of environmental health sciences at UAlbany, has been stripped of his teaching duties. This happened after the Monsanto Co. submitted Freedom of Information requests asking about Carpenter serving as an expert witness in trials involving Monsanto. Rather than personally keeping expert witness fees, he gives the funds to graduate students. Carpenter has written close to 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers and six books.

It is not unusual for professors to serve as expert witnesses and many professors do this. What is unusual is Carpenter’s courage in standing up to corporate polluter Monsanto. Carpenter is an international expert on the health impacts of PCBs. The Monsanto Co. manufactured PCBs and has been taken to court by people damaged by PCBs. Carpenter’s expertise and integrity are unparalleled. It is fairly obvious what is going on here: a giant corporate polluter is attempting to silence a smart scientist and beloved teacher.

What is hard to understand is why SUNY is letting this happen. SUNY needs to immediately restore Carpenter’s teaching status, apologize to him and inform other SUNY professors that they will not be subjected to this bullying when they are standing up for a clean and healthy environment.

Carpenter is an environmental hero. He deserves better than this and so do his students.

The writer is a former EPA Regional Administrator and professor at Bennington College. 

Published Feb. 20, 2023

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