War is a Health Issue - Melbourne University must end collaboration with arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin

Following the announcement by Melbourne University that it will be collaborating with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the MAPW Student Group has written to the university calling for the partnership not to go ahead.

As medical students, they are concerned that any association with such a company, implicates the university in the development of weapons which kill and effect the health of those who survive there use.

MAPW Student Group is also requesting a meeting with the university to put their case. Watch out for more updates soon.

In the meantime, read the MAPW Student Group letter below.

To find out more about MAPW Student Group at Melbourne University, follow their facebook page www.facebook.com/mapw4unimelb/

 

 

Professor Glyn Davis

9th Floor, Raymond Priestley Building
The University of Melbourne
Victoria, 3010

Australia

 

5 May 2017

To Professor Davis,

We are writing to protest about the recent collaboration between the University of Melbourne School of Engineering and Lockheed Martin in the formation of the ‘STELaRLab’ research centre. This collaboration implicates the university in the development of weapons which are responsible for the high levels of morbidity and mortality each year, and helps to legitimize a deeply corrupt industry.

War is a health issue, and as future doctors we feel duty bound to prevent our university from worsening this worldwide problem.

Lockheed Martin profits from the perpetuation of war. For example, the recent US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase in response to the Al Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons considerably escalates US involvement in the Syrian civil war. No doubt this will result in increased casualties on all sides, further complicating an already complex conflict. Lockheed Martin sold those weapons to the US military, and stands to profit from US involvement in Syria. Does the University of Melbourne truly believe its interests to align with those of such a company?

We understand that this collaboration promises to provide funding and resources to the University of Melbourne School of Engineering, as well as industry experience for its students. However, we ask you to consider the effect of this collaboration on the academic integrity of the University of Melbourne. The university’s strategic plan (2015-2020) states that “The essence of a university is to develop and share knowledge”. Aligning with Lockheed Martin means that the knowledge generated by this university can no longer be considered free from bias, as it will be tainted by sharing interests with a weapons manufacturer. How can students be encouraged to critically appraise the effectiveness and need for worldwide conflicts, or develop peaceful mechanisms for conflict resolution, when university funding now relies on the perpetuation of war?

Will this collaboration allow the University of Melbourne to “grow in the esteem of future generations”? Profiting from weapons sales significantly damages the university’s reputation amongst its alumni and in the wider community. 

We urge you to reconsider the collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Lockheed Martin. The “MD graduate attributes” list asserts that Melbourne MD students should develop “a commitment to the resolution of health inequalities globally and locally”. We believe that attempting to endow Melbourne MD students with this attribute is hypocritical whilst the University is helping to propagate a key determinant of global health: war.

We would value the opportunity to discuss these issues with you at your earliest convenience. 

 

Monica Koenig and Lucy McPhate

Doctor of Medicine, Year 4

MAPW Student group

 

On behalf of MAPW

Australian affiliate of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNWi).

Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.