Legendary Consumer, Social and Political Activist Ralph Nader to Speak March 13

Legendary Consumer, Social and Political Activist Ralph Nader to Speak March 13

January 23, 2002

January 23, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - For nearly forty years, Ralph Nader has made headlines in America as a consumer advocate, lawyer, author and presidential candidate, serving as the "U.S.' toughest customer," in the words of TIME magazine. On Wednesday, March 13, 2002, Nader will bring his insights to the DePauw University campus when he speaks on "Politics and Public Service." The Civic Education Convocation, sponsored by the Hartman Center, will take place at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium of DePauw's Performing Arts Center.

Ralph Nader's reputation as one of America's most effective social critics began with the 1965 publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, a book that indicted the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. It led to congressional hearings and passage of a series of automobile safety laws a year later. Throughout his career, Nader has successfully pushed for at least seven other major federal consumer protection laws including Safe Drinking Water Act; the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; and access to government through 1974's Freedom of Information Act of 1974.

Nader has also founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center and the Project for Corporate Responsibility. The Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement writes, “It is hard to imagine the rise of the modern consumer movement without the leadership, resourcefulness, and sheer persistence of Ralph Nader, a self-described "public citizen" who has been at the forefront of scores of progressive campaigns.” The New York Times asserted, "What sets Nader apart is that he has moved beyond social criticism to effective political action."

In the past two presidential campaigns, Nader was the candidate of Green Party. In 1996, he appeared on the ballot in 22 states and received 684,871 votes (0.71%). In the historic election of 2000, which was decided by fewer than 600,000 votes, Nader was the choice of 2,882,737 voters across America (2.74%). His latest book, Crashing the Party — How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President, details some of the experiences and lessons learned on the campaign trail. Nader tells the Seattle Times he wrote the book “to give people the sense, historically and otherwise, of how rigged the political system is and what it takes for the people to change it." He adds, "It's sort of a contemporary history of what third parties have to go through."

Ralph Nader continues to make news on a weekly, if not daily, basis. He's been widely quoted by networks and newspapers in the wake of the Enron failure, arguing that a special counsel should be brought in to investigate Enron and that Bush administration officials should have alerted the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission last fall when they were contacted by Enron's chairman about the company's mouting problems.

A magna cum laude of Princeton University who received a law degree with distinction from Harvard University, Ralph Nader has shaped and defined the consumer movement of the past 35 years and been an unwavering voice for social and political change. As former U.S. Senator James Abourezk observed, "For the first time in U.S. history, a movement exists whose sole purpose is to keep large corporations and the government honest."

Ralph Nader's DePauw speech will be free and open to the public.