Students and Community Members Protest Raytheon Technologies Outside Marcus Hall Engineering Career Fair – Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Education and making money are two different things.”

A small group of community organizers gathered outside Marcus Hall to protest the presence of Raytheon Technologies and other defense companies at the September 21 engineering career fair.

The career fair, for all engineering students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, hosts more than 70 companies throughout the four-day event, including companies such as Raytheon Technologies, Infineon, General Dynamics and Sensata Technologies.

UMass and Raytheon Technologies have a the story to partner to conduct research through the university, with the defense society primarily funding this research. Raytheon also collaborated with UMass Lowell to develop the Raytheon UMass Lowell Research Institute.

Outside Marcus Hall, Joyce Caliendo, a former UMass graduate student and main organizer of the protest, stood on the concrete steps leading chants through a megaphone. Caliendo expressed his disapproval of the relationship between UMass and Raytheon Technologies.

Caliendo is also part of the UMass Revolutionary Marxist Students group, a national student organization that aims to study and clarify the various political issues that occur across the world. Caliendo attended the University of Connecticut, studying astronomy. She came to feel that she didn’t learn enough about how the projects she was working on would actually apply to society at large.

“They want students not to think about society as a whole,” Caliendo said, referring to working for big defense companies. “They don’t want us to think about the politics behind what we do in science,”

” They need us. They need our intellectual work. As students, we have that leverage,” she told passers-by through a megaphone.

Maheen Hussain, a member of the revolutionary Marxist student group and a computer science major, told the crowd that UMass perpetuates a system in which students work for big corporations; generate wealth for a small part of the population, at the expense of others.

“UMass and Raytheon are not a unique relationship in this country,” Hussain said. He noted that Tufts, MIT and Harvard all host companies like Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin for research studies and career events.

“They see the talent that UMass offers, they see the engineering program, and you know, it’s really fertile ground for people to be pushed down that path,” Hussain said.

Companies like Raytheon Technologies partner with universities to find, fund and recruit future graduates. Protesters criticized the companies’ relationships with public universities, as defense companies also work on weapons development.

Nick Mottern, an 83-year-old veteran from Northampton, served in the Navy during Vietnam from 1960 to 1963. When he returned to the United States, he realized he had been mistaken in believing that democracy was a valid cause of war.

Mottern is now a member of Veterans for Peace, an organization made up of veterans who speak out against militarism.

“When I was in Vietnam, I saw that the leadership of the country was very corrupt,” Mottern said. “I was very ignorant.”

“[Defense companies] offer big bucks and they offer technological advancements. And they know that many, many students are deeply in debt,”

By having students work for defense contractors, “it’s like they’re being recruited into the military, but it’s not official,” he said.

Mottern explained how UMass itself is also to blame for its partnership with giants in the defense industry.

“The University has a responsibility to avoid engaging its students in unethical activities and profiting from bloodshed,” he said.

Montague resident and Code Pink member Terisa Turner taught at UMass and Smith College. Code Pink is a social justice organization focused on ending militarism.

“I’m very happy to see people here demonstrating against Raytheon and all of the military contractors who are getting so much of our tax dollars right now,” Turner said. “[Tax money] which is so needed in this narrow window of time that we must fight ecocide, including through species extinction and the climate crisis.

She also noted how private companies like Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin benefit financially from having students work under them, both educationally and professionally. Turner’s sign read, “Raytheon – stop attacking students in debt.

“They tell the student ‘we’re going to pay you more’ and then the student is supposed to forget [the] the violence that entails, and the efforts to cover up that violence and deny that violence in such a way that their lives are ruined,” Turner said. “We don’t want to allow these dealers in death, these profiteers in death, on a public campus.”

“Education and making money are two different things.”

The Department of Engineering job fair declined to comment on the protest.

Caitlin Reardon can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @caitlinjreardon.

About Michael C. Lovelace

Check Also

VetRest Brings Support and Community to Oregon Veterans

Birds flew over VetRest’s Bybee Lakes Victory Garden on October 15, 2022, and tomatoes were …