University of Queensland students have protested against a proposed building funded by, and named after, Dow Chemicals CEO and UQ alumnus Andrew Liveris.

Dow Chemicals produced Agent Orange, a defoliant, and napalm. Between 1961 and 1971, the US military sprayed 45 million litres of Agent Orange across Vietnam, poisoning waterways, rice paddies and forests and exposing between 2 and 5 million people to toxins. 

The health effects are being felt to this day in cancers and birth defects. Yet Dow has not tried to address its past crimes and denies any responsibility. 

This is not the first time UQ has joined with Liveris. The university in 2012 announced a “strategic partnership” with Dow, accepting $10 million to establish the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.

All this money, and more, should go to the victims of Dow Chemicals, rather than creating buildings and institutes in its honour.

The student protesters were joined by Dan O’Neill, a former UQ lecturer and long term anti-war activist.

The protest is the first in a series of actions to be taken as part of the Disarm UQ campaign, part of the larger Books Not Bombs national campaign aimed at the divestment of Australian universities from the arms industry. 

The Disarm UQ campaign will officially launch on 8 August with a panel including Dan O’Neill, Socialist Alternative activist Tim Heffernan and a speaker from the UQ Anti-Capitalists.