Friday, January 21, 2022

Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland challenges JHU President Ron Daniels to renounce nuclear weapons research

January 22, 2022

Ronald J. Daniels

Johns Hopkins University
242 Garland Hall
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218

Dear President Daniels:

  We write to you on the first anniversary of the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW] entering into force.  At this time, 59 nations have ratified the Treaty Ban.  The TPNW entered into force on January 22, 2021, prohibiting the development, acquisition, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons for those countries that have ratified it.

  We are calling on you, as the president of a prestigious university, to contact the White House to welcome the Treaty and to affirm a plan to reduce the United States nuclear arsenal with the ultimate intention of the elimination of all US nuclear weapons.    Your call on the US government would be a positive step towards negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on the achievement and permanent maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons.  According to a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ICAN], in 2020 the nine nuclear-armed states spent $72.6 billion on nuclear weapons, with the U.S. leading at $37.4 billion, or $70,881 per minute.  Imagine what could be accomplished if this wasteful spending was redirected to social programs.

 For the White House to take your call seriously, you would need to issue a memorandum that Johns Hopkins University will no longer engage in nuclear weapons research.  This would be a momentous clarion call heard around the world.  Other universities would surely follow your lead.

Johns Hopkins University is internationally recognized for its path-breaking research and leadership in medicine and public health.  However, ICAN published a report that indicated JHU is the #1 School of Mass Destruction because of your nuclear weapons research.  Since 1945, we have been living under a cloud of nuclear weapons proliferation that threatens life on Earth as we know it.

The mission statement of the university states that JHU aims to bring the benefits of research to the world.  Nuclear weapons research does not benefit the world.  In fact, nuclear weapons are an existential threat to life on this planet. We urge the University to divest from such morally repugnant research and instead to concentrate on beneficial research.

As a presidential candidate in 2019, Joe Biden told a crowd in New Hampshire, “We don’t need more nuclear weapons, period.” He added, “If you want a world without nuclear weapons, the United States must take the initiative to lead the world."

Today, there are increasing tensions between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China with flashpoints in Ukraine and Taiwan that could result in a nuclear confrontation. It is disappointing that President Biden has forgotten his campaign comments as his budget request for Fiscal Year 2022 increases funding for all nuclear warhead and delivery system upgrades in his predecessor's budget in violation of United States disarmament obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Currently, the U.S. is pursuing a nuclear weapons build-up which was launched by the Obama-Biden administration that is expected to cost at least $1.7 trillion by 2046. This includes large spending increases on a controversial low-yield smaller nuclear warhead, the total replacement of the intercontinental ballistic missile force, new B-21 strategic bombers, B-52 upgrades, and more destructive nuclear warheads.

JHU was awarded a $530,000,000 contract in support of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent [sic] weapon system. More than 60 U.S. organizations issued a joint statement on January 12 calling for the total elimination of the country's land-based nuclear missiles, warning that the weapons are both an enormous waste of money and—most crucially—an existential threat to humankind. The statement says that intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are "uniquely dangerous, greatly increasing the chances that a false alarm or miscalculation will result in nuclear war."

  JHU is also part of the Biden administration's upgrades on the nuclear weapons arsenal through its nuclear weapons research and contributes to the enormous risk presented by nuclear waste.  A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that the US Department of Energy (DoE) has not been able to manage coherently the nuclear waste from weapons manufacturing piling up at more than 150 sites across the country. Meanwhile, the estimated cost of handling the material is rising — $512 billion at last count — and the government does not know how to pay for it. Much of the waste will have to remain "safely stored" for 10,000 years or more.  In our opinion, this is criminal as our country does not have the right to leave this toxic mess to future generations. See

  We would appreciate if a small delegation could meet with you to assist you in the process of disinvesting from nuclear weapons research.  Your university is complicit in the threat posed by nuclear weapons and the environmental crisis presented by nuclear waste.  We want to help you and the university to do the right thing.  Imagine the praise and prestige the university would receive because you renounced nuclear weapons research.  Your legacy would be profoundly enhanced.  We look forward to your response.


Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center

Joel Andreas, Professor of Sociology – John Hopkins University

Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology

Coordinator, Program on Global Social Change

Director, East Asian Studies Program

Jean Athey, Maryland Peace Action – Baltimore

Ellen Barfield, Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace

Bill Barry, Baltimore Green Party

Bonnie Block, Co-Facilitator, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

Fr, Robert Bossie. SCJ - Chicago IL 60631

Wilfred Vardy Candler

Marilyn Carlisle, Baltimore Peace Action

Tom Chalkley, former JHU faculty - Baltimore

Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, Nuclear Resister –Tucson

Charlie Cooper, Sc. M., JHU School of Public Health, 1979 - Baltimore

Ronda Cooperstein – Baltimore

Louis Brendan Curran, Esq. (B.A. '70) - Baltimore

Jean Cushman, Maryland Peace Action

Rebecca DeFraites, JHU, BA, 1978

Jeanne Dresser - Baltimore

Dat Duthinh, Maryland Peace Action & Prevent Nuclear War Maryland – Frederick, MD

Gwen DuBois, M.D., Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

David Eberhardt, Baltimore Four - Baltimore

Veronica Fellerath-Lowell, Pax Christi – Silver Spring, MD 

Terrence Fitzgerald, M.D., Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Bruce Gagnon, Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space – Bath, ME.

Sister Carol Gilbert, OP – ICAN – Washington, D.C.

Clare Grady, Kings Bay Plowshares – Ithaca, NY

David Grant, NuclearBan.US

Anne Greene, 17219 Quaker Lane, Sandy Spring MD 20860

Carole Hamlin – Baltimore

Jim Holmes, Maryland Peace Action & Prevent Nuclear War Maryland – Frederick, MD

Mari Inoue

Linden Jenkins - Cambridge MA

Ken Jones, Reject Raytheon Asheville – Asheville, NC

Elisabeth Jungmeier, Austria

Stephen V. Kobasa, New Haven, CT

John LaForge, Co-Director, Nukewatch; and Editor, Nukewatch Quarterly

Jay Levy, Nuclear Free Takoma Park Committee - Takoma Park, MD

JoAnne Lingle – Indianapolis, IN

Ed Loring, Open Door Community - Baltimore

Pat McSweeney – Tauton, MA

Dan Morhaim, M.D., Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2002-2018)

Delegate, Maryland General Assembly (1995-2019) - Baltimore

Nick Mottern, Ban.Killer.Drones

Carole Seligman - San Francisco

Janice Sever-Duszynska, Baltimore Peace Action

Robert M. Smith, staff coordinator and co-founder, Brandywine Peace Community - Philadelphia, PA. 

Alice Sturm Sutter, retired family nurse practitioner, NYC

Dick Vanden Heuvel – Annapolis

Dr. James P. Wagner, Prevent Nuclear War Maryland & Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area 

Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

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