[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Update: Pac-10 Students Join UW ARC

F R E E   B U R M A   C O A L I T I O N 
225 North Mills Street, Madison, WI  53706
Tel (608) 827-7734, Fax (608) 263-9992


Pac-10 Students Join U. Washington Repudiation of ARCO Sponsorship
ARCO Ties to Human Rights Violators, Closed Universities in Burma Noted

Seattle, WA -- May 1, 1998 --  Students from seven Pac-10 campuses have
immediately endorsed resolutions passed by University of Washington
student government this week.  The resolutions oppose oil giant ARCO as a
corporate sponsor of the Pac-10 Conference because of its support for the
brutal military dictatorship in Burma (see UW news release attached).

ÒThe UW resolutions strongly encourage Pac-10 students to join the boycott
of ARCO.  ThatÕs hundreds of thousands of consumers that ARCO stands to
lose because of its direct support for thugs,Ó said Matt Donohue of the
Free Burma Action Group at Oregon State University.  Burma democracy
advocates at UCLA, Stanford, Berkeley, University of Oregon, University of
Arizona have also given statements of support.

ARCO has paid the Burmese junta more than $20 million dollars in fees and
bonuses for natural gas exploration.  The junta holds a lucrative option
to buy a share in ARCOÕs project.  ARCO executives have been featured in
junta newspapers, holding cheerful meetings with military leaders even as
massive crackdowns on the Burmese pro-democracy movement were underway.

The Burmese regime closed universities in December 1996, and has never
reopened them, fearing student demonstrations.  This week it sentenced six
activists from a student group to death for political activities. 

ÒNothing could be more hypocritical than ARCO supporting student
suppression in Burma, while paying to be the ÔOfficial GasolineÕ and
ÔOfficial Convenience StoreÕ for students here.  ItÕs really pathetic,Ó
said Laura Snow of the University of Arizona.

ARCO boycott supporters also point out that the company has been called
the leading polluter among US oil companies by the Council on Economic

ARCO shareholders will vote at the Monday, May 4 annual meeting on a
shareholder resolution calling for an investigation into allegations that
revenue from ARCOÕs Burma investment is being used to launder money for
BurmaÕs rising trade in heroin.  At least one ARCO board member has called
for the company to withdraw from Burma.  The US government has barred new
US investment in Burma, but existing projects are exempt.  

ARCO is a leading opponent of the 20 Òanti-apartheid styleÓ selective
contracting laws targeting the Burmese junta, passed by cities and states
in the US.  The oil company argues that communities do not have the right
to make such laws.  A Burma law is currently being considered in ARCOÕs
home city of Los Angeles.

ÒARCO is a leading polluter, a supporter of oppression in Burma, and an
opponent of local democracy in the US.  They can take their Pac-10
sponsorship and shove it,Ó says Brian Rudiger of the UCLA Burma Action

Contact:  UW Burma Action Group, burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Graduate and Professional Student Senate, University of Washington, (206)
543-8576, FAX (206) 685-9023, gpss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
University of Arizona, Laura Snow, lsnow@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Stanford, Lauren
O'Brien clover@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Oregon State University, Matt Donohue,
(541) 757-0084



University of Washington Students Reject ARCO as Pac-10 Corporate Sponsor

This week students at the University of Washington passed resolutions
opposing ARCO as a corporate sponsor of the Pac-10 Conference because of
the oil giant's financial support of the brutal dictatorship in Burma. 
The Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) and the
Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) resolutions specifically
demand that ARCO stop doing business in Burma and encourage students to
boycott ARCO and AM/PM convenience stores until ARCO pulls out of Burma. 

"We think it's hypocritical that ARCO is a sponsor of the Pac-10 while at
the same time providing millions of dollars to a military regime that
persecutes university students and denies education to thousands of young
Burmese," said Jennifer Leehey from UW's Burma Action Group, the student
group which drafted the resolutions.

ARCO and its AM/PM stores recently became the "Official Gasoline" and
"Official Convenience Store" of the Pac-10 Conference.

ARCO has paid the Burmese military more than $20 million dollars in
signing bonuses and other fees related to exploration for natural gas as a
result of contracts with the junta's holding company, the Myanmar Gas and
Oil Enterprise.  Future profits for any Burmese government are expected to
be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Representatives of the elected
government of Burma, legally elected in 1990 but never allowed to take
power, have asked investors to wait until democracy returns before doing
business in Burma.

The predatory military regime, known as the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) from 1988-1997 and recently renamed the State
Peace and Development Council, has relied on revenue generated by rapidly
selling off natural resources in order to finance its campaigns of

University students were prominent among the 1988 democracy demonstrators,
thousands of whom were shot down when SLORC took control in September of
that year.  Students in Burma have suffered arbitrary persecution ever
since.  One of the policies of the junta has been to close universities to
prevent protests, thus preventing a generation of students from gaining
any substantial higher education.  More than thirty universities and
colleges in Burma have been closed since late 1996.

"Students believe it is unacceptable for any government to deny its
citizens an education and to grossly violate their human rights," said
Tina Kotek, GPSS President.  "We are outraged that ARCO will benefit from
its affiliation with the Pac-10.  We reject any corporation that supports
the repressive regime in Burma."

The resolutions call for the Pac-10 Conference to reconsider ARCO as a
corporate sponsor and urge the University of Washington Board of Regents
to write to ARCO and the Pac-10 Conference demanding that ARCO stop doing
business in Burma.  Students are also strongly encouraged to boycott ARCO
and AM/PM stores.



UW Burma Action Group, burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Larry Dohrs, Free Burma Coalition, (206) 784-5742, FAX (206) 784-8150.

Graduate and Professional Student Senate, University of Washington, (206)
543-8576, FAX (206) 685-9023, gpss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx