Progressive Student Alliance protests Raytheon recruitment event on campus


Jack Aldrich

Members of the Progressive Student Alliance stand with signs protesting Raytheon during a recruiting event hosted in Northeastern’s Raytheon Amphitheater Feb. 21. During the Q&A session, the students questioned company representatives about Raytheon’s associations with states committing war crimes and their contributions to climate change.

Katherine Mailly and Yaakov Aldrich

Members of the Progressive Student Alliance, or PSA, protested a recruiting event hosted by Raytheon Technologies, a multi-billion dollar aerospace defense organization, expressing their grievances about the company’s purported unethical practices to a room full of students and industry representatives Feb. 21.

During the meeting, student representatives from PSA asked questions targeting the company’s controversial business practices.

The questions ranged from the company’s role in selling weapons to states committing war crimes to concerns that Raytheon has been supporting climate change in order to ignite conflict over natural resources to gain a profit.

In response to the students’ questions, Rebecca Kuzmich, a campus programs recruiter for Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of Raytheon, said the company declined to comment and  said it was a personal decision of the employees to work on certain products or to be associated with the company.

Event attendees stand with their backs turned to the protestors during the event. After the Q&A session, students and industry professionals gathered at the back of the Amphitheater to network apart from the protestors at the front of the room. (Jack Aldrich)

At the end of the Q&A session when students were invited to network with the company’s representatives, PSA members moved to the front of the meeting room and held signs detailing some of the company’s alleged actions, including “Raytheon tech is used to detain asylum seekers” and “Raytheon bombs kill civilians.”

One of the PSA members in attendance, fourth-year biology major Kyler Shinkle-Stolar, said the purpose of the protest was to bring attention to the company’s controversial actions and to dissuade students from partnering with the company.

“We’re not trying to make students feel bad. It’s more that a lot of them probably don’t even know about the moral implications [of working] with Raytheon,” Shinkle-Stolar said. “So we’re just trying to raise awareness for that, and, at the same time, disrupt the recruiting event — basically make it so that Raytheon will see [the events] as not profitable for them.”

Andrea Felder, chief project engineer for Collins Aerospace, said employment with Raytheon was a positive career path for students.

“[Students] are looking for great opportunities, and they are available to them,” Felder said. “It’s really just making what you want out of your career and following the path that you want to take.”

Kuzmich declined to comment when asked about the protest. Felder emphasized personal choice when seeking out a career path.

“Everybody has their own personal beliefs and they’re welcome to follow them,” Felder said.

Shinkle-Stolar said he believed Kuzmich declined to comment because she knew there was no good answer to the group’s questions.

The meeting, held in the Raytheon Amphitheater in the Egan Research Center, was advertised as an opportunity for students to learn about potential involvement in Raytheon and network with current employees. Approximately 30 people, including students and Raytheon representatives, were in attendance.

Kuzmich delivered a brief presentation at the beginning of the session about Raytheon’s opportunities for students, including co-ops, internships and entry-level positions for recent graduates. 

Other representatives at the event also spoke about their respective business units, including  Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, and Raytheon Missiles and Defense. The roles amongst all of the business units often revolved around engineering and computer science, which could be applied to many of the company’s products and programs. 

Shinkle-Stolar, along with several other students from PSA including Amanda Bell and Claire Wang, presented a potential resolution to the Student Government Association Feb. 22 calling on Northeastern to dissolve relationships with companies that have been linked to war crimes, such as Raytheon. 

The petition states that this is in line with the university’s stance on committing to social justice issues, and is part of the university’s obligation as an economically powerful institution.