Professor David Hood has written a letter to the University of Queensland regarding the imposition of the weapons trade on university culture. He has specifically referenced the weapons corporation Boeing. We have invited engineers – retired, re-professionned, current, or students – to indicate support for Adj Professor Hood’s letter by adding their voices to this initiative. Engineers are encouraged to write to the Chancellor of University of Queensland Mr Peter Varghese, or resend David’s letter with an endorsement. Weapons corporations tend toward promoting war and violence and actively work against peace: they simply have no place influencing universities.
Mr Peter Varghese AO
Chancellor of the University of Queensland
The University of Queensland
BRISBANE QLD 4072
I’m writing to express my concern about the influence that the Boeing
Company may be exercising on the culture of the university as a whole
and in particular on engineering teaching and research. My concern
stems from the fact that Boeing is primarily a weapons company and the
third-largest military contractor in the world, with annual revenue of
around USD$20bn from weapons related contracts.
The University of Queensland’s (UQ) partnership with Boeing is not only
ethically questionable but also at odds with research in and the teaching
of sustainability principles. At a time when the world faces a climate and
biodiversity emergency it is hard to accept that UQ would prioritise
partnerships with weapons companies over ensuring sustainability
outcomes from your research and the ethical attributes of your
graduates. This is particularly disturbing where engineers are
The size and influence of the Boeing Institute at UQ is out of proportion
to the other work being done within the School of Engineering, and it is
concerning that a weapons company has positioned itself in the heart of
a highly respected academic institution. We must ask ourselves how we
can be sure that Boeing has not embedded itself at UQ as part of a
larger strategy to ensure its leadership in weapons development and
increase its profitably by normalising war.
The engineering profession is at a crossroad as we emerge from a
period of domination by fossil fuel companies and their extractive
projects in Australia. Right now, we must address the existential threats
to all life on Earth posed by climate change and the increasing loss of
ecosystem services through the destruction of nature and fauna habitats due to rampant human activity. We must grapple with the ethical implications of the choices we make as a profession.
As a graduate of, and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture, and IT at UQ, I ask that you review the
Boeing Institute at UQ and question its impact on faculty outputs. We
cannot allow the military-industrial complex to influence the
independence and strategic direction of our academic institutions.
Adj Professor David A Hood AM
Inaugural BZE Fellow, Beyond Zero Emissions
Board Director, Australian Conservation Foundation
(Adjunct Professor, University of Queensland Energy
Address etc provided.
CC: Professor Deborah TERRY, Vice Chancellor
Professor Aleksandar RAKIC, Dean of Engineering, Architecture, and IT