[Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun]
About a month ago, over 1,000 people first started signing a petition lobbying for the return of Nutritional Sciences 200: Vegetarian Nutrition, a former course taught by Prof. T. Colin Campbell, one of the world's leading researchers in the field. The petition claims that Cornell's abrupt removal of the course and refusal to disclose an explanation was "clearly a violation of academic freedom."
The course was pulled back in 2005, and Campbell has spent the last few years attempting to settle the matter internally with the University.
"The course was terminated with no consultation with me -- and without allowing me to seek the opinion of the curriculum committee who originally approved it on behalf of the faculty," Campbell explained. "I did everything possible to resolve this from the inside."
"The person who did this was a major consultant to the dairy industry -- and the direction of my research for the past four decades has many unfavorable implications for a number of industries."
Prof. Dale Bauman, animal science, for instance, sent a letter explaining his unease and suggested that Campbell only proposed the course for animal rights reasons. According to Campbell, Bauman copied this letter to multiple parties.
"One way to try and discredit someone doing legitimate but unpopular research is to say that what they are doing is part of the animal rights movement," Campbell said. "It's a very sensitive issue. That was not at all my reason for beginning the course. I was making a case based on scientific research that my colleagues and I had published extensively."
This research is outlined in Dr. Campbell's four-time national best selling book, The China Study, which presents a case for nutrition as a serious science well beyond the China project itself. The project was the first cooperative study between the United States and China and was at that time considered to be one of the largest and most comprehensive medical studies in history. The two-and-a-half decades of research examines the relationship between food and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.