Academic “Unfreedom” at Cornell—T. Colin Campbell

The headline in the Cornell Progressive on March 8, 2012

With industry now controlling our schools of nutrition, is academic freedom dead?

We may no longer have academic freedom at Cornell or ANY of our schools of nutrition, but the first amendment is alive and well. And it was recently exercised by Dr. T. Colin Campbell (Nutritional Biochemistry) and Dr. Randy Wayne (Plant Biology).

We’re talking about some serious stuff here—we’re talking about suppressing the freedom of scientists to seek, identity and publicize the truth about nutrition. We’re talking about saving lives and we’re talking about saving the planet in the process. We’re also talking about blatant violation of our nation’s first amendment in a tax exempt, land-grant university.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University—author of The China Study

This blog contains key excerpts from a recent article; one that will probably damage the career of the younger author (Dr. Wayne) and will likely lead to further removal of the older author (Dr. Campbell) from the official presence of Cornell University. But these are not ordinary men, they are brave scientists who believe that scientific integrity is more important than fleeting status or personal income. (Link to complete article provided below) Excerpt:

At Cornell, life science professors do not necessarily profess their beliefs based upon evidence and critical thinking as our title implies;; rather, all too often, professors market an unwritten and unspoken syllabus to promote, if not a brand name, then a way of looking at the world that is sympathetic to corporate sponsors.

Sound incredulous? I thought so at first, but then I have witnessed it first-hand. In November of 2009, while enrolled in Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition course, I attended one of his lectures in Savage Hall on the campus of Cornell University. Speaking to a packed house in a large lecture hall, Dr. Campbell spoke to a crowd that seemed to be about equally split among students and PhD faculty.

Savage Hall at Cornell University where Dr. Campbell earned his PhD and taught for many years

The students loved the lecture that focused on some of the most exciting information outlined in The China Study—five years earlier. But, with zero exceptions, the vocal few of the PhD faculty in attendance criticized Dr. Campbell’s science in front of the students—all but labeling him as an academic heretic. Also incredulous to me at the time was that not a single one of those faculty members had even read The China Study. Let’s move on to more from the article:

If we teach students to think critically, to explore assumptions, and in so doing, they lose faith in the authority of scientific results, especially those paid for by various industries or by acts of Congress whose members were lobbied by various industries, we may not churn out the type of consumers our corporate sponsors expect.

Look at the life science classes still in the course catalog. Ask yourself whose interests they serve? Do they serve the interests of the monocultural pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and agricultural giants like Pfizer, Monsanto, and  those represented by the American Dairy Council. Do they serve the interests of the students in their quest to design and build their future, to learn about themselves, their place in the world, the value and limitations of science and technology, or how to live an ethical life? While corporations and the organizations mentioned above have their value, the life sciences curriculum at a tax-exempt university must not be limited by their priorities.

Closing paragraph. We shall continue to fight for a science that is indifferent to profit as it serves mankind, to fight for a science that reveals the nature of the world, and to fight for a university true to its tax-exempt status. We are speaking truth to power at many levels. Do you honestly believe, along with a majority of the members of congress who fund life science research that the presence of tomato paste allows pizza to be classified as a vegetable? We, as a botanist and a nutritionist cannot go along with this one either.

—T. Colin Campbell,  PhD and Randy Wayne, PhD

Dr. Randy Wayne, Associate Professor, Cornell University

What does all this mean? It is just further proof that the pathway out of the madness in our food-medicine-academia-goverment-media “system” is not through the halls of ivy at our most prestigious schools of nutrition. To be sure, there is not a single prominent university that offers course credit (toward graduation) for courses in plant-based nutrition.

Dr. Campbell’s course was originally a “for credit” course toward graduation at Cornell—until it was cancelled due to pressure from the dairy and beef folks, on whose financial support the school of nutrition depends. That course was resurrected in 2009 by the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and is administered by eCornell. And while it qualifies for continuing education credits for physicians and dietitians, it is no longer good for credit toward graduation from Cornell University.

So what is the pathway out of the madness? As I wrote in the book and have now blogged for 417 consecutive days, it is a grassroots revolution of people like you and me who are fed up with the nutritional “hogwash” we have been fed by our “system.” By educating ourselves, taking charge of our own health and sharing our knowledge with everyone we know—we will eventually have an impact. After all, what we have is grossly unsustainable longterm—for a host of reasons.

See link to the Cornell Progressive article below—along with a few of my earlier blog posts on this critical topic:

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Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen. Got a question? Let me hear from you at

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, Board of Directors…

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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7 Responses to Academic “Unfreedom” at Cornell—T. Colin Campbell

  1. Thanks for finally talking about >Academic Unfreedom at Cornell-T.
    Colin Campbell | J. Morris Hicks, author <Liked it!

  2. bibmic says:

    It’s not just the nutrition department. I was speaking with a visiting professor from another university, a Chinese female. I told her I had accepted a position at a small Christian college. She did not know such things existed! She was taken aback! She asked, “Will you be able to speak freely of your beliefs on campus? My boss is Christian and so am I, but we cannot speak freely outside his office.” This is on an American public university campus. No academic freedom for people of faith, either.
    Recent studies by mathematicians and pharmaceutical companies are showing that roughly 80% of published academic scientific studies of new drug targets are not reproducible (see the most recent issue of Nature and Wonder if that is partially because they discriminate against a large group of ethical, hard-working people (some of faith, some who find things “they” don’t like), leaving mostly those who will do anything for a buck (for anyone who will pay) to do the research? It is really frustrating to see simple solutions ignored, millions of research dollars wasted, and lives cut short because people do not want to eat plants, exercise, not smoke, and slow down the studies to look for the truth. And accept it when they find it. Keep up the good work.

    • “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” cited is an easy read deserving the widest possible distribution to all truth-seekers capable of independent thought.


      I don’t see “faith” advocates suffering discrimination. In USA one is free to automatically recycle whatever religion acquired as an accident of birth or geography.and to change their “faith” at will – or to invent a new “faith-based” unscientific approach. REALLY.

      Those sharing an interest in health optimization related issues should stick to FACTS.
      Americans are already overdosed massively on myth-based “god” stuff. PLEASE!

  3. How about “Ten Stars” on this blog today, Jim!!?

    I captured the Cornell paper article — needed to scroll down to get to page 5.

    Then I posted your blog on the Paleo/Atkins book review site:
    I woke up early — on my mind is how to best prepare for giving my one-hour talk on April 1 to ~25 attendees at a local yoga studio on “Healthy Nutrition & Lifestyle Guidance” This is hard work and note that I assigned “homework” via a link!

    I’ll have your book there, and in my homework I included your “Give me 30 minutes and I’ll give you 30 years” article! A great summary of why go plant-strong for nutrition.

  4. e2er says:

    This makes me sick.

  5. Darcy Phillips says:

    People like Dr. Campbell and Dr. Wayne and you continue to challange us to ponder what we put in our mouth….on so many levels.
    I work in the health care system and the enitre consept of “food as medicine” is unheard of in my employers’ practice.
    Patients are truly perplexed when they continue to need interventions like stents and open heart surgery to “fix” their heart proplems, time after time.
    I continue to share the message, but it never easily received. Frustrating? Yes, but I have changed my life and those that I love. BTW, pink slime, salmonella, Bill Clinton, mad cow disease and environmental stressors like the disappearing bee population world wide continue to make sharing the message easier and easier.
    Thank you for your passion,

    • Bill K. says:


      One small correction to your excellent note: “Food as Medicine” is technically incorrect. Food really provides fuel and nutrition to the body which in tern is then able to maintain and heal itself. The medical industry has us all thinking in terms of cures or medicines when we should be viewing our proper diet as all that is required to live a mainly disease free existance. Medicines are strictly an attempt at fixing a problem that should never have occurred in the first place.


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