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On Sale Now: Ethics

The New York Times reports that Virginia Commonwealth University signed a deal with Philip Morris that prevents professors from publishing or discussing their research without the tobacco giant's permission -- contrary to the school's own rules. Last year, Philip Morris gave VCU $1.3 million, part of which was subject to the contract; the rest was a traditional grant. "When universities sign contracts with these covenants, they are basically giving up their ethos, compromising their values as a university," says Sheldon Krimsky, a Tufts University professor who studies conflicts of interest.

GTO's take: if you're going to sell out, at least turn that paltry $1.3 million into $1.3 billion.