Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter: UMass staff in support of students against military contracts

Faculty, librarians and staff stand with student protesters
Collegian archives (2018)

To the University of Massachusetts Community,

We are faculty, instructors, staff and librarians at UMass Amherst, whose work stands at the core of the educational mission of our public university. We dedicate much of our everyday work to supporting students in their learning, development and engagement. We think all the time about our students’ futures, and we work hard to prepare them to engage and contribute meaningfully to the world, on every scale.

We are a politically diverse group, with vibrant differences and disagreements about what sort of society we hope our students build, about what contributions matter most and about what sort of world we ought to be preparing students for and how best to do so. This diversity of purposes, analyses, politics and methods is a positive characteristic of university life, and we cherish it.

However, while our approaches to teaching, research and service vary widely, we are writing with one voice today to draw a clear line in the sand: UMass Amherst must not support or engage in the morally bankrupt structural and economic support for war and war profiteering.

We are writing today to register our deeply held conviction that university partnerships with military contractors — war profiteers — must end.

Our students are on the front lines (as, historically, students so often have been) of the struggle to hold our public institution accountable to the public good. Our students have demanded that this public university’s values must, at minimum, include affirming the lives and right to equal self-determination of a global public. They have a very clear request: to stand with them in their protest against the shameless peddling of endless war, violence and fear.

We hereby register our profound respect and support for the students who have taken up the charge of demanding that our public university ceases its partnerships with war profiteers. We stand behind our students, and we affirm that their struggle is aligned with the best spirit and tradition of great public universities.

To be clear, we are unequivocally in favor of intellectual freedom; if anyone so desires to hear them, war profiteers may speak in the spirit of intellectual exchange. But the presence of war profiteers on our campus is not about intellectual exchange; it is about commerce, recruitment and mutual partnership. Such economic and political partnership is where we draw the line. We will no longer remain complicit in our institution’s material, structural and implicit political support for the war machine.

We thank our students for calling us to this charge, and we ask all UMass administrators with a conscience to stand with us, on this side of the line, on the life-affirming side of history.

The full list of community signatures can be found here. Those looking to add their name can contact the UMass Coalition for Transformative Justice at [email protected].

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  • Q

    quadMay 25, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    And just WHO do you people think go to war, ON THE ORDERS OF CIVILIAN POLITICIANS, when ordered to do so, using the weapons our engineers, scientists and others provide them? That’s right, your fellow brother and sisters who dedicate themselves to serving the military. And because your ignorant enough to be so anti war you choose to take your talents elsewhere and that right there, boys and girls, means while any potential enemy develops new and advanced weapons, your decision means our people may go to war with inferior garbage and pay for it with their lives. How noble of you! How noble that you feel so strongly about the MIC that your willing to condemn our forces to trash weapons, despite the fact other nations have military industrial complexes as well, and their people are diligently working building cutting edge gadgets of war. And what happens if they turn those on us? Apologies people, we refused to promote weapons or war.