SFU under fire for accepting $10 million from Goldcorp

A Vancouver community worker and artist says she wants Simon Fraser University to return a $10-million donation from a Vancouver-based mining company.

Sara Kendall told the Straight by phone that she's "starting to see e-mails fly back and forth" about the gift from Goldcorp, which has been criticized for its mining activities in Latin America.

On September 23, SFU announced that Goldcorp contributed $5 million to SFU's capital campaign and another $5 million in the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Community Endowment, which will finance community-engagement programs in the Downtown Eastside.

SFU has named its new arts facility in the Woodward's complex the "Goldcorp Centre for the Arts".

"It's a totally incompatible move on their part," Kendall said of SFU's decision. "I would like to see it rejected. I would like to see them retract their acceptance of the $10 mil."

She added that she hopes to arrange a conversation over Skype between journalists and community members in areas mined by Goldcorp. and senior SFU officials, including the president, Andrew Petter.

"We'll do community action if that's necessary—if they're super-unreceptive," Kendall said. "But before I organize a rally, I would rather have that conversation."

In 2008, some shareholders demanded that Goldcorp finance an independent human-rights assessment of its activities at the Marlin Mine in Guatemala.

In May, On Common Ground Consultants released its report, which came after 189 individual interviews, nine group interviews, and 10 focus groups, as well as a review of hundreds of company documents.

It found that Goldcorp and its wholly owned Guatemalan subsidiary "need to address human rights explicitly, comprehensively, and as a matter of ongoing due diligence".

The Guatemalan subsidiary failed to acknowledge the Sipakepense residents as a distinct indigenous people, according to the report. Moreover, there was no comprehensive human rights policy at the mine, and the subsidiary fired staff who tried to form a union.

In its written response, Goldcorp committed to integrating respect for human rights into its business-management processes throughout the company.

Kendall also pointed out that in the past, Goldcorp filed a NAFTA challenge under Chapter 11, which deals with investors' rights, against the California and U.S. governments' regulations concerning hard-rock mining.

The company hoped to develop a mine on land that was considered sacred by the Quechan indigenous people. In 2009, a NAFTA tribunal dismissed Goldcorp's arguments.

Comments

40 Comments

A

Sep 24, 2010 at 8:44pm

Give me a break: send the money back and let the taxpayers suport the intiative.We really need a reality check. MAYBE THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO ACCEPT THE MONEY OR LET THE INTITATIVE DIE! right that will never happen.

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it's me

Sep 24, 2010 at 10:42pm

As an SFU student I am completely outraged and disgusted that SFU would accepted this shameful green-washed donation from Goldcorp.

How ironic that a company shown to violate the human rights of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala would "philanthropically" donate money to a building located in a neighborhood with a large First Nations population.

Shame on SFU!! They are not thinking of the world, they are thinking about their bottom line!

I demand that SFU reject this shameful attempt at philanthropic work. Because it isn't. It's disgusting.

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Starsky

Sep 24, 2010 at 11:52pm

Do it!
Sara I fully back you on this and so will many SFU students.
The irony is so clear that is borders on hypocrisy.

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SFU Graduate

Sep 25, 2010 at 2:22am

I was OUTRAGED when I read about my alma mater accepting "dirty" money from Goldcorp and I support Ms. Kendall's attempt to talk some sense into Mr. Petter. I will never donate money to SFU in the future if they're going to associate with a company that goes against everything I was taught at that school (so hypocritical of them!). To make sure this never happens again, as alumni, I demand SFU conduct a formal inquiry to find out how a company with such a devastating human rights and environmental record was even given an meeting with my school, let alone being given the naming rights to one of our buildings. I'd rather we keep using those old portables than take money from that company. Very, very, very disappointed in SFU!

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glen p robbins

Sep 25, 2010 at 10:31am

I agree that we need to reform political donations in BC. Also only individuals should be permitted to donate to Universities, colleges, and other institutions of learning that receive tax payer money.

There is no such thing as ultruism.

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Good.

Sep 25, 2010 at 11:07am

SFU needs to be exposed as for the money grabbing crooks they are.

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RunningFrog

Sep 25, 2010 at 12:00pm

I appears that SFU does not have a legal agenda; they are merely training HATE SPEACH for social media bloggers, terrorizing Our Fair Canada; and fully DEGENERATING Our Quality of Life. NIMBY.

You couldn't PAY ME to go there ~ what an ENTIRE FREAK SHOW?!

Also; I hear that Accenture; aka. ENRON has it's finger prints all over our new CONVOLUTE DELAY AND DENY 'Healthscare System' ~ NICE..

LET'S SANITIZE OUR HOUSE NOW, Hurry, the longer it takes, the longer it takes to get them OUT!

http://www.bcndp.ca/moveupyourvote

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beelzebub

Sep 25, 2010 at 1:39pm

We will see how many will boycott the center on principal, and how many poverty pimps on the DTES will refuse it. ahahaha.

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guy

Sep 25, 2010 at 2:19pm

I say take their money. Use it for real philanthropy. What's wrong with that? No one's taking Goldcorp seriously anyway. F** 'em take their money.

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A

Sep 25, 2010 at 3:11pm

Right lets refuse these type donations on politcal grounds whether Green , right or left wing. Students should pay for their entire education through tution fees not through burdens on the taxpayer. For all you posters this will allow you to get your degree without guilt or compromising your principles. You did it your self. YEAH RIGHT....THE ENTITLED ONES WILL JUMP ON THIS

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