Letter to the Editor: End CMU military contracts

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

The university administration should ban all future weapons research on the grounds that it violates the policy on Academic and Individual Freedom and is against the principles of our founder, Andrew Carnegie. Research funding at the university includesmillions of dollars in government contracts, some of which is used to research weapons, or technology that can be weaponized for the U.S. military. For example, in 2014, the Software Engineering Institute contributed to research on drones, which have been used by the U.S. military to destroy both military and civilian targets. Nearly 90 percent of the people killed in drone attacks in Afghanistan were civilians. This is clearly contrary to the university’s policy on Academic and Individual Freedom that states, “Intentional acts threatening personal safety ... will not be tolerated.” Weapons research includes research on technology and devices that threaten personal safety and clearly violates this community’s ethics.

Weapons research is also contrary to the values of the university’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, one of the foremost advocates for peace in his time. At the dawn of World War I, he became the president of the New York Peace Society. He also met with world leaders and lobbied countries — including the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and France — to promise not to go to war with one another. In 1910, Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which is still in operation. It seems likely that he would not support any of the university’s contracts with the military, especially those that aid armed conflict. Any current contracts should be allowed to continue, but no contracts should be renewed or created if they involve weapons research. The university community should be critical of the work done in Carnegie’s name and hold the university to the highest ethical standards.

Julia Eddy is a senior in social and decision sciences.