With the exception of a copy-and-paste press release in the Oregonian, the appointment of eight new members to the Portland State University Foundation’s Board of Trustees elicited zero press coverage last month. One might expect such appointments at our state’s largest educational institution ought to warrant a modest amount of coverage, even if only to offer congratulatory fanfare. Yet this absence of media attention has seemingly overlooked some clearly questionable characters joining a roster of already dubious trustees.
PSU has spent copious time and money branding itself a progressive, ‘green’, sustainable institution. It even retooled its logo to help convey this sentiment. However, viewing the list of names on the Foundation board, especially those recently added, it’s hard not to take pause and evaluate the credibility of PSU’s ‘green’ branding.
Among the freshly appointed board members sits David H. Anderson, currently executive vice president of superfund site polluters NW Natural Gas and current board member of the Northwest Gas Association. Anderson previously spent 16 years at TXU Energy Corp. Liz Fuller is director of client services for Gard Communications, the public relations firm for Ambre Energy presently attempting to force coal exports through our region. Gard is also the contracted PR firm for PSU. Wally Van Valkenburg is chair of the Oregon Business Development Commission and board member at the Portland Business Alliance, organizations that both promote polluting resource extraction industries. Rupa Jack is a senior vice president with Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street bank caught illegally forcing hundreds of thousands of Americans out of their homes during the foreclosure crisis. Lindsay Stewart is a retired senior vice president and chief of staff at NIKE Inc., the shoemaker notorious for exploiting sweatshops and child labor. Stewart previously served as corporate counsel to Georgia-Pacific, one of largest U.S. logging and paper manufacturers, now a subsidiary of the infamous Koch brothers corporate empire.