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American University student group tries to cancel new Board of Trustees member

An American University student group wants a member of the school’s Board of Trustees due to his previous work in the aerospace and defense industries.

Dissenters, a group which “hopes to divest schools from war,” has petitioned AU to dismiss former Northrop Grumman head Wesley Bush as his career was dedicated to “making money from war,” according to The Eagle.

Bush oversaw the development of the naval aerial vehicle MQ-4C Triton, the airborne radar system VADER and the F-35 stealth fighter.

Dissenters has sent more than forty letters to AU since yesterday regarding Bush. Its Action Network petition says Bush is a “war profiteer” who oversaw the manufacture of “lethal weapons and technologies used to assault and destroy populations all over the world.”

“Wes Bush has built a career off of making money from war,” the petition continues. “As concerned students, community members, and university affiliates, we are calling for Wes Bush’s immediate removal from the American University Board of Trustees.”

From the story:

Helen Luffy, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of Dissenters, said that Bush’s background does not align with AU’s values.

“This cannot fly for a university that its entire motto of one of our schools is ‘waging peace,’” Luffy said. …

Although the University has emphasized Bush’s philanthropic work, Luffy said that it doesn’t take away from his work in the defense industry.

“It’s completely the antithesis of what AU believes its message to be and just because he’s a member of Conservation International, for example, doesn’t mean that the things he’s done is good,” Luffy said.

David Vine, an anthropology professor in the CAS, wrote a letter to the University asking AU to consider removing Bush from the board.

He said he was appalled by Bush’s history leading a company that builds various vehicles used as weapons of war. …

“This is AU getting in bed with the military-industrial complex,” Vine said. “And that should be deeply troubling to all of us.”

Professor Vine’s research focuses on “inequality, social movements, forced displacement, refugees, US military bases abroad, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and nationalism” according to his faculty page. He is the author of “The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State.”

An AU spokesperson told The Eagle that trustees “represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, all of which are critically important for advancing the university’s mission. [Bush’s] extensive experience in the corporate and philanthropic sectors will augment the board’s efforts and contribute to our work and our community.”

Read the article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.