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April 28, 2024

Mudders & alumni disrupt presidential address, demand HMC cut ties with defense contractors

The action follows alumni weekend disruptions at Pitzer and Pomona to demand divestment from Israeli genocide

Undercurrents staff

“Harvey Mudd, cut the ties, Clinic’s fueling genocide!”

On the morning of April 27, 36 students and alumni from Mudders Against Murder disrupted and delayed HMC President Harriet Nembhard’s alumni weekend State of the College Address. Throughout the disruption, HMC students and alumni announced to alumni Mudders Against Murder’s demands for HMC to cut ties with weapons manufacturers and defense companies.

The campaign, which recently became a chapter of Dissenters, a national anti-militarism organization, has specifically targeted Harvey Mudd’s engineering and computer science “clinic” programs, where juniors and seniors complete projects with outside companies for academic credit.

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In one Instagram post, the campaign claimed that the clinic program has had 57 contracts with “weapons- and defense-affiliated companies” in the past five years, including several Department of Defense-affiliated labs. Speakers repeated this point to the audience of alumni at the disruption.

“In the last five years, Clinic has had 57 contracts with weapons- and defense affiliated companies. This year, the trend continues, with eight contracts in Engineering Clinic and five contracts in CS clinic,” said a student speaker to the crowd. “These projects offer up the free labor of Mudd students to companies that create technology to kill or subjugate.”

Photo by Samson Zhang

Many of the students taking part in the disruption wore keffiyehs to signal solidarity with Palestine. Days ago, the U.S. approved $17 billion of additional aid to Israel, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the ongoing genocide since Oct. 7, 2023.

Students also displayed red-painted hands as speakers called out HMC administration’s silence towards Mudders Against Murder’s demands despite three delegations in the past month. The group also announced their support from over a third of the student body’s through signatures of a campaign petition.

Photo by Samson Zhang

HMC alumni also carried signs in showing their graduating year and support for Mudders Against Murder. So far, at least 60 alumni have pledged to withhold donations from HMC until Mudders Against Murder’s demands are met.

“By working with companies like Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Amazon, and others, Mudd shows its students that it’s okay to support deadly ends, as long as your methods are technically sound,” an alum said to the crowd.

“When are you going to listen? When will young, hopeful, scientists no longer be forced into complicity? Your students are angry. Your alumni are angry. There must be no more labor for genocide!” another said.

As the disrupting students and alumni exited Galileo, several students appeared to drop a large banner reading “Free Palestine” from the roof of Shanahan Hall.

Photo by Samson Zhang

Read more


Pitzer discloses $1.6M in defense and aerospace investments, a month after telling SJP it will not divest


Incoming ASPC President: Pomona Board of Trustees want to “buy our silence and complicity in genocide through donations”


Pomona admin met with Claremont Police Chief days before Alexander Hall sit-in to plan intervention, emails show

Thanks for reading Undercurrents

Undercurrents reports on labor, Palestine liberation, prison abolition and other community organizing at and around the Claremont Colleges.

Issue 1 / Spring 2023

Setting the Standard

How Pomona workers won a historic $25 minimum wage; a new union in Claremont; Tony Hoang on organizing

Read issue 1