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Community members protest Raytheon’s presence at NU career fair

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Community members protest Raytheon’s presence at NU career fair

A group of community members protest Raytheon outside of NU's employee panel.

A group of community members protest Raytheon outside of NU's employee panel.

Dylan Shen

A group of community members protest Raytheon outside of NU's employee panel.

Dylan Shen

Dylan Shen

A group of community members protest Raytheon outside of NU's employee panel.

Christopher Kelly, news correspondent

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Protesters with homemade signs stood outside the Dana Research Center Jan. 29, opposing Raytheon’s participation in a career fair employer panel. Raytheon is a Massachusetts-based contractor for the U.S. military, and protestors accused the contractor of profiting off of the bombings in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The group of approximately 10 people consisting of both community members and Northeastern students gathered outside of the employer panel carrying signs with phrases such as “Study war no more,” and “How many school buses did you bomb today?” The protestors also carried small backpacks with the names and ages of children killed by an airstrike that had hit a school bus during the conflict in Yemen.

Neither Raytheon nor the university responded to multiple requests for comment for this story.

Ryan Costello, a community member who said that he has been actively protesting ‘war profiteers’ for years, was a leader of the protest.

“I had read in Al Jazeera how brutal the situation in Yemen was, and that bombs had fallen with Raytheon and other U.S. company serial numbers on them, hitting hospitals and water treatment plants,” Costello said. “I understand that the economic situation in the country is dire, but for the betterment of society I don’t think that students should work for a company like Raytheon.”

Protesters also handed out fliers and shouted phrases outside of the doors of the employer panel such as “Raytheon are merchants of death,” and “No more recruitment for war profiteers.”

NUPD asked protesters to move as they were blocking the doors of the Dana Research Center. They moved to the sidewalk along Forsyth Street in front of Ruggles where they continued their chants. The group began speaking into a megaphone and handed out fliers to students.

The fliers accused Raytheon of being a major arms supplier for Saudi Arabia, and said they were responsible for delivering $2.5 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Costello said he is optimistic on how the strife was drawing a response from other Americans, particularly among young students.

“I think that the anti-war movement in this country has made great strides in getting normal people to start calling their senators and asking them to not support companies like this. I think that there is a growing movement here,” Costello said.

Costello also asked that any young engineers who were being recruited by Raytheon put their efforts into projects that do not focus on the defense sector, but rather work on helping society.

“This is a protest not just for Raytheon, but for all the weapons manufacturers who reach out to students,” Costello said. “This is also a protest against Northeastern who has deep ties with Raytheon. I think that we need to push back as community members against war profiteers being invited to schools. They shouldn’t be accepting donations from them. They shouldn’t be having career fairs with them. They sure as hell shouldn’t be investing in them.”

Christopher Kelly
Community members gather on Forsyth Street to protest Raytheon’s involvement in an NU employer panel.

A student from Boston University, Chance Charley, also attended the protest.

“As a U.S. citizen, I feel like I have a duty to stand up with these people and oppose these wars abroad along with these companies that are profiting hand over fist from killing children,” Charley said.

Cole Harrison, the executive director of Massachusetts Peace Action, said this was the beginning of a series of protests that they were organizing.

“We are the largest peace group in Massachusetts, and we are opposed to nuclear weapons, U.S. wars and interventions and we want to cut the military budget and move the budget to things that people really need in our country,” Harrison said. “Raytheon is a leech and a war profiteer.”

Harrison was disappointed by  Raytheon’s presence at NU’s career fair, but he was pleased with the demonstration and is expecting greater numbers of protestors in the future.

Raytheon will be back for another on-campus career fair Feb. 14, and Massachusetts Peace Action plans to protest again. The group plans to protest at MIT, Boston University and Tufts University before returning to Northeastern.

“Saudi Arabia is attempting to take over Yemen as its neighboring country and Raytheon is helping them,” Harrison said. “Yemen is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world. This company is trying to attract Northeastern students to work for them, and in order to stop this war they should get off campus and they should not sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.”

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