Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Hawaiian addiction

I don't think of Hawaii as a bastion of the military-university complex but I probably should. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription, alas), almost 20% of the University of Hawaii-Manoa's budget comes from military grants. Now 50 student protesters have staged a 6 day sit-in in the President's office about yet another $50 million dollars for a Navy University Assisted Research Center to work in oceanography, astrophysics and other sciences, concerned about the growing military influence coupled with lack of information about what is involved. The President has promised to "deal with" their concerns and the protesters vacated the office and declared victory.

There is an interesting line up to this protest. Native Hawaiians are at its heart.
Ikaika Hussey, a graduate student in political science and the leader of the Stop-UARC group, said that the toxic defoliant Agent Orange was developed in part at the university and that the military has a record of using Hawaiian lands to detonate bombs.
"The native population has been here for 2,000 years, and the few administrators who are pushing this and will benefit from it have been here for a series of months," said Mr. Hussey. "More military funding would increase our dependence on it. It's like an addiction."
Addicted? Who's addicted? Certainly not the faculty who take the money. They've been doing it every year for decades and they still don't have the habit. Anyway,
. . . supporters of the center say that it would bring more money to the university and its faculty for research and would not significantly change the tenor of the university because the institution already receives so much money from the military.
In other words, they've already sold their souls. They might as well enjoy the sale proceeds.