On Jan. 24, the University of Connecticut announced that four UConn scientists have been awarded funding for technology from the Department of Defense. The award stems from the DoD’s $59 million in awards to 147 universities under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program.
The Daily Campus Editorial Board has grown tired of reporting on the hundreds of millions of dollars the university receives directly from the military and its industrial partners. No longer can the university claim that it merely passively benefits from the war industry through privatized contracts with weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Sikorsky; UConn directly profits from war.
One of the scientists, Daniel McCarron, received funding for his research on “Stimulated optical forces to cool and trap CH radicals,” a compound known for its high reactivity. Another, Ying Li, received funding for their work regarding “high-temperature polymers.” The DoD funds research in accordance with advancing military priorities, creating deadlier weapons and enforcing the United States’s global presence against opposition.
If the university wishes to continue its relationship with the military, the implementation of exponential transparency is necessary. The university owes those individuals who fund our institution the utmost transparency regarding any research. Publishing highly inaccessible descriptions of physics and engineering lab subjects does little to aid the understanding of what said research may entail, and whether it is being done with the intention of bolstering the capacity of the military for violence. Reading about DoD-supported research on highly reactive molecules is cause for speculation and concern. What weapons will be enhanced through this research, and who will they be targeted against?
The recent DURIP funding comes as just one of many examples of direct funding UConn has received from the military complex. As we’ve previously reported, the university makes no attempt to hide the contributions made by the military industrial complex, some of which are even celebrated, such as Lockheed Martin Day. Further, it remains an injustice that public universities are forced to turn toward the military as the state continues to threaten federal funding. The State of Connecticut’s receding financial commitment has left many of its state universities struggling, and deductions leave universities no choice but to rely on privatized funds.
This is no excuse, however, to turn our university into an agent of war. UConn’s amoral financial investments have left students at an impassable cross road. Students are forced to reckon with the truth that the institution they look to for guidance is directly involved in propagating the evils of international imperialism and violent colonialism. The US military’s biggest current projects include escalating conflict with China, provoking conflict in the Korean peninsula, fueling an endless proxy war in Ukraine, sending weapons, supplies and training towards ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Palestine and maintaining over 750 military bases across 80 countries with troops deployed in 159. This is one of the most violent organizations in human history.
Watching a so-called “Platinum and Green university” beg for funding from the largest emitter of CO2 in the U.S. is both shameful and destructive. The fate of our planet, our student community and the livelihood of those around the world who experience the forces of war should not rest in the hands of UConn’s soulless greed for profit, ignorant to the atrocities committed by the U.S. military and its industrial constituents.