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University too involved with military institutions

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Carnegie Military University: That’s what David Meieran, a Pittsburgh activist, has dubbed Carnegie Mellon, alluding to the fact that Carnegie Mellon participates extensively in research for the Department of Defense, the CIA and other military-related organizations. But how extensive are Carnegie Mellon’s ties with the U.S. military?

Meieren claims that every department at Carnegie Mellon has some ties with the military, specifically naming the Psychology Department, the Philosophy Department, the Software Engineering Institute, and, of course, the Robotics Institute, which works largely on the idea of future combat systems, a vision that more armed forces will be unmanned, operating on elaborate network and robotics systems.

Some robotics projects include Gladiator (an unmanned combat vehicle equipped with an M-35 machine gun, and a launcher that can fire CS gas), Crusher (an unmanned ground vehicle), and Dragon Runner (a surveillance vehicle).

Many other projects are confidential and occur at two secluded facilities in Lawrenceville, where 40th street ends at the Allegheny River. The facilities (known as the NREC and Carnegie Robotics) span ~350,000 sq. ft. and are monitored by at least a handful of armed security personnel nearly 24/7.

Meieran also points out that Jared Cohen, Carnegie Mellon’s now-retiring president, sat on the Homeland Security Council, from which the university has secured over $100 million in funding.

Considering the evidence, Meieran seems very justified in dubbing the university Carnegie Military University, but should we be concerned with Carnegie Mellon’s ties with military?

To those in support of U.S. foreign policy, Carnegie Mellon’s work on future combat systems is praiseworthy due to the future possibility of reduced U.S. casualties. To Meieran and the vast majority Pittsburgh’s younger population, it comes as a disappointment that many of the brightest minds in our country are utilizing their talents to enable the United States’ aggressive foreign policy.

For those disappointed with Carnegie Mellon’s military ties, there is hope. Last week, in response to widespread criticism of Carnegie Mellon’s stress culture, administrators held a town hall and have been considering drastic changes. This implies that the administration values feedback from the community and that change is possible.
In light of U.S. foreign policy being substantiated in our own backyard, the question remains, “Do we care to enough to take a stand for peace?”

If so, I urge you to email Raymond Lane, the chairman of the board of directors for Carnegie Mellon, at rjl@andrew.cmu.edu and Carnegie Mellon’s incoming president, Subra Suresh, at ssuresh@mit.edu to let them know that any benefits resulting from military funding are far outweighed by the destruction caused from bolstering an aggressive foreign policy.