The Board of Directors of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance sent a letter on September 28, 2021, to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee asking the UT Board to take “immediate steps to disengage in any direct or indirect participation or support for the production of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.”
The letter, prompted by the announcement in December 2020 by UT President Randy Boyd that the University would join a partnership to bid for the Management and Operations contract for the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, noted that, under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on January 22, 2021, nuclear weapons are now considered illegal, in the same category as chemical and biological weapons, cluster bombs, and poisonous gas munitions.
“As trustees for the University, you carry the responsibility not only for setting the direction of the University, but also making sure the University adheres to its mission to enrich the community and the world in which we live,” wrote OREPA’s Board president Kevin Collins. Citing the University’s Code of Conduct, which requires the school to advocate “responsible and ethical behavior,” Collins wrote, “This statement cannot be reconciled with any activity that includes the production of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.”
The letter also cites the January 2021 statement released by more than 170 religious organizations around the globe, including mainline religious communities in the United States, that declares unequivocally that “the possession, development, and threat to use nuclear weapons is immoral.”
The full text of the letter can be found at https://orepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/UT-Trustee-ltr-scaled.jpg