McGill’s skeletons in the closet

Re: “Keep academia out of the war room” | Editorial | November 5

While the McGill administration states that there need not be a ban on military-funded research, they fail to address historical precedence for such a ban. McGill has a dark history of military research. It was involved in CIA-funded electro-shock experiments and Gerald Bull, a former McGill professor, was involved in the early development of the “super gun” that was unsuccessfully adopted by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Furthermore, McGill is currently still linked with military funded projects (AQUA: an amphibious autonomous robot, is based on previously DARPA funded research). The change in policy is not necessarily bad, as there can be harmful research from non-military funding sources and beneficial research from military funding. An example of the latter: the U.S. military has become actively involved in ecological conservation research on its bases. Rather than deflect criticism, the McGill administration would serve the McGill community and Canadian society better by demonstrating how the new system will continue to ensure that the research that takes place at McGill benefits society without imperilling it.

Benjamin W. Heumann
B.Sc. ‘04, M.Sc. ‘07 Geography