UC Announces Appointment of New President
Public Meetings to Address Proposed Modern Pit Facility
* The University of California (UC) recently appointed physicist Robert C. Dynes as its new president, replacing current president Richard Atkinson beginning October 2, 2003. Dynes has been a physics professor at UC San Diego for 12 years, and in 1996 was appointed chancellor. Dynes has already stated that, despite UC's announcement to the contrary, he fully intends to ensure that UC bids on the management contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 2005, when the contract will be put to bid. Dynes said, "I believe it would be a great mistake and a loss to the nation to discard the UC-laboratory affiliation."
Before his career at UC, Dynes spent 22 years as a physics expert at AT&T Bell Laboratories designing superconductors and semiconductors. Dynes is now vice-chair of the UC President's Council on the National Laboratories and a member of UC's LANL Oversight Board. He outlined the ongoing collaboration between UC and LANL, which ensures that hundreds of UC students and graduates enter into careers at the weapons laboratories, as proof of the mutual beneficence of their partnership.
Last November, investigations into LANL's management found that LANL employees, without UC's knowledge, misappropriated millions of taxpayers' dollars. During a recent Congressional investigation, Ken Johnson, spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, "From our perspective, UC's management of [LANL and Livermore] has been woefully inadequate." Despite this evidence of gross mismanagement of LANL by UC, Dynes says that their management is not only valuable for LANL and UC, but for the entire nation.
Dynes argues that UC is the most appropriate manager of LANL because, unlike corporate managers, UC is a manager with no conflict of interest. Furthermore, Dynes points out that the UC system retains no money from its contracts with the Department of Energy (DOE). Their association with DOE, however, does ensure that UC receives funding from the Department of Defense, which totaled more than $38 million in 2001 on the UC San Diego campus, where Dynes is chancellor.
Critics are concerned that Dynes╣ appointment will only bolster the militarization of the UC educational system. Michael Coffey, of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said, "Dynes is a typical example of an administrator with an interest and desire to maintain the university-military relationship.... UC's coming campaign to defend its role as manager of [LANL], it appears, will be conducted well under [his] orchestration."
* A series of public meetings will be held nationwide to discuss the National Nuclear Security Administration╣s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Modern Pit Facility (MPF). Pits are the plutonium core of nuclear weapons. Two meetings will be held in New Mexico. The first will be from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, June 30 at the DOE Carlsbad Area Office, located at 4021 National Parks Highway in Carlsbad. The second will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, at the Cities of Gold Hotel in Pojoaque. For more information about the MPF, please contact Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety at (505) 986-1973.
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