#DisarmUQ #DisarmUnis: Add your signature to this letter: Email Duncan Hart Include your name and any relevant information
Open letter to the University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Peter Hoj, concerning the recent announcement of a building and academy to be named after CEO and Chairman of Dow Chemical Company, Andrew Liveris.
We the undersigned wish to express our opposition to the recent announcement that the University of Queensland (UQ) will be naming a new building after Dow Chemical Company CEO and chairman, Andrew Liveris. The new building will also house an “academy” also to be named after Mr Liveris, all to be paid for with the help of a $40 million donation by Mr Liveris and his wife, to UQ’s “Not if, when” campaign.
In making this announcement, UQ has pointed to the academy as helping “identify promising students with leadership potential and a passion to address sustainability issues involving clean water, safe food and modern energy services.”
The Dow Chemical Company that Mr Liveris has managed since 2004 has a record of ethically reprehensible and environmentally destructive practices that contradicts this stated intention.
Dow is most famous for its exclusive manufacture of napalm for use by the United States military during the war in Vietnam, during which 388,000 tonnes were manufactured and deployed against Vietnamese people.
Dow is also infamous as one of the largest manufacturers of the toxic defoliant, Agent Orange, which was sprayed by United States forces over 20% of Vietnam between 1961 and 1971, exposing between two and five million people to the chemical. Over the years the result has been higher rates of cancer and birth defects being passed on from generation to generation, both among the Vietnamese and US and allied soldiers. To this day, many Vietnamese children are born with significant birth defects.
Agent Orange also led to ongoing catastrophic effects upon the natural environment of Vietnam, with the loss of 124,000 hectares of mangrove forest during the war, and continued soil pollution, with ramifications for the entire ecosystem.
To this day, including under the management of Liveris, Dow refuses any responsibility for the effects of Agent Orange, even disputing the scientific evidence of its health impacts.
More recently in 2017, Dow successfully lobbied to overturn a ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite the US Environmental Protection Agency finding that the chemical potentially caused brain defects.
Given these factors, it contradicts the stated principles behind the University of Queensland’s “Not if, when” campaign to honour a figure who has been so integral to the Dow Chemical Company. If this project were to go ahead, this building would be a monument to profits that Dow Chemicals made through atrocities. We urge the university to reconsider accepting the donation of Mr Liveris and in particular the naming of a building and educational institution in his name.