Letter to the Editor: A disservice to the UConn community

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Dear Editor,

I believe that the piece published in the Daily Campus on December 2nd titled: “The UConn Administration is not our friend” does a disservice to the UConn community. While the quote from the UCPD is disturbing, the other arguments made in this piece range from absurd to maliciously misleading. First, I’ll address what seem to be deliberately misleading points.

The author criticizes the awarding of the Thomas J Dodd prize to Bill Clinton, ” a man responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Sudanese“. Without the author going into further detail, I assume they meant either the operation against an alleged Al-Qaeda chemical weapons factory in Sudan, where the death toll was nowhere near tens of thousands, or the genocide in Darfur, which began in 2003 after Clinton had left office.

The article further criticizes the awarding of the prize to Tony Blair, because of his role in the Iraq War, toppling a dictator who was murdering the Kurdish minority in that country. In any case, the prize was given to Blair and his Irish counterpart for their roles in the Good Friday Peace Accord.

The author criticizes the University of Connecticut for hosting sitting Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), “who recently gave support to the US backed coup in Bolivia”. The author fails to mention that former President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was the subject of weeks of popular street protests in the Bolivian capital. That he held a referendum to extend his term limits, lost, and proceeded to disregard the referendum. That he was in a close election, headed for a runoff, before live vote tallying was halted and he was declared the winner. It does the readers of the paper no service to have these critical facts omitted.

These are a few of the misleading arguments present in the article. Now for some of the ridiculous ones.

In the first paragraph, the author criticizes the University because it “even includes David Lehman who has a history at Goldman Sachs and played a role in the 2008 financial collapse” on the Board of Trustees. Is a former employer really cause to disqualify someone from a position? But it can be surmised from the author’s language that they are not opposed only to Goldman, but any “company businessmen from corporations like Cigna and Travelers”, companies that many of our alumni work at, and students hope to join. This position in opposition to financial success is silly.

The author maintains that the University supports a military industrial complex “that our engineering graduates are forced to be a part of whether they like it or not” by hosting Lockheed Martin Day and inviting other defense contractors to the school. That is absurd. No one is forcing engineering graduates to work for defense contractors, you’re free to turn down a job. They are giving them the opportunity to work in a well-compensated position. It would be irresponsible of the University to not provide such opportunities to its students.

I have listed a few of the issues I take with the aforementioned opinion piece. I hope that at the very least they promote a more nuanced view of some of the arguments. 

Sincerely,

Mihir Nene UConn SoE ‘20

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