The Boston University Revolutionary Marxist Students held a protest at the Engineering Career Fair outside the George Sherman Union Oct. 6 to oppose BU promoting “societal engineers,” because it invites companies that participate in weapon-making and surveillance technology.
Sam Fogelberg, a junior in the College of Engineering and member of the BU Revolutionary Marxist Students, said they are protesting the defense contractors invited to the career fair such as General Electric, General Dynamics and MIT Lincoln Lab who have all participated in making weapons used against civilians.
“If you look at the type of technology that they’re creating, they’re creating bombs or parts that go into bombs, missiles and stuff that’s being used by the U.S. military abroad for a number of horrible different things,” Fogelberg said.
Luke Sweeney, a junior in the College of Arts and Science and another member of the BU Revolutionary Marxist Students, said a lot of colleges promote the idea that technological innovation always benefits society — influencing students to produce technology without considering its consequences.
“We’re not just doing this for advocacy to raise awareness or anything, we’re doing this because we really want people to realize careerism is not something to devote your life to,” Sweeney said. “It is something to abandon and to instead, join in struggles that really help people.”
BU Spokesperson Colin Riley said the career fairs at BU are meant to help students see the opportunities in the branch they’re studying, and what companies look for in terms of recruitment.
“They’re great employers,” Riley said of the companies at the engineering career fair. “Giving great opportunities to BU students to apply for and possibly be recruited to be employed by high quality engineer firms.”
Instead of being told to aspire for a career with defense contractors, Harishan Ganesan, a BU alumni and participant in the protest, said students should be exposed to the things they do and fight against the systems they uphold.
“There’s a need for students to actually let go of these aspirations … and see the need to fight against the system itself that promotes this type of collaboration,” Ganesan said. “The system that supports a minority wealthy elite in this country, while parasitically leeching off of people in this country and people all over the world.”
Fahim Rabbi, a junior in the College of Engineering who attended the career fair, said these companies play an important role in our society by creating engines, transportation vehicles and planes.
“They do have other projects that may be harmful to mankind and stuff but at the same time, they are also a big company with other good stuff,” Rabbi said.
Rabbi said he feels like there is a wide array of opportunities presented for students.
“If you’re interested in a specific subject or specific thing within engineering, there are professors that are specialized in those areas,” Rabbi said. “So I don’t feel any kind of pressure in any certain direction.”
Fiona Broadie contributed to the reporting of this article.