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PROCEEDINGS OF THE UNIVERSITY SENATE:

SHOULD COLUMBIA RESTORE ROTC?

A TOWN HALL MEETING

MODERATED BY THE SENATE TASK FORCE ON ROTC

 

February 15, 2005

Davis Auditorium in the Schapiro Engineering Building

7-9 pm

 

JAMES APPLEGATE:I am a professor of astronomy here at Columbia, and I am the faculty co-chair of the task force which has been meeting throughout this academic year discussing the issue of ROTC at Columbia.What I would like to do now is to make a few brief opening remarks, introduce the task force, invite people sitting up here who are on the task force to say whatever they wish to say, and then we will open the floor for discussion.Most of my remarks are by way of history.

††††††††††† The reason we are meeting is, thereís a proposal, a student-authored proposal, to reinstitute ROTC as a program at Columbiaóessentially for Columbia to be a host institution for an ROTC programóthat came to the University Senate last year. It was discussed somewhat on the floor of the Senate at that time.[It was] decided that the Senate would create a task force to discuss the matter, and so with the advice of the president, the provost, the Executive Committee of the Senate, a task force was put together.The task force consists of twelve members.There are six students on the task force, there are five faculty members, and there is a graduate, an alum of the Law School, on the task force.I am the faculty co-chair of it, and Nate Walker, who is sitting to my left, is the student co-chair. Heís a graduate student from Teachers College.

††††††††††† We have been meeting since the fall of 2004, discussing quite broadly the issue of the return of ROTC to Columbia.We have discussed a number of issues, none of which are particularly surprising.I think if you sat down for a few minutes and thought about what you might think about on this issue, youíd come up with everything weíve been talking about.But the issue we have been discussing is the history of ROTC at Columbia.Columbia was host to a Naval ROTC program for many years.It was expelled in 1969.We took it upon ourselves to find out why that was.It was a number of issues, most principally involving titles for ROTC instructors and academic credit for courses taught in ROTC that people at the time did not feel were up to snuff for Columbia credit.†† At any rate ROTC was expelled from campus in 1969 after a faculty committee met for about two years, made a recommendation, and then the recommendation was acted upon by the Trustees.

††††††††††† The issues weíve been discussing, in a brief summary, are academic issues such as appropriate titles for ROTC instructors, and if ROTC was to return to the Columbia campus, how would we deal with that, academic credit for courses, housing the program on campus, the effect of having ROTC program on campus in the classroom environment here, and more broadly the appropriate role of the military on campus.We discussed the status quo.

††††††††††† ROTC was expelled in 1969.Columbia students have been able to participate in ROTC as ROTC cadets since 1980 in an agreement reached at that time between Columbia and Fordham.We now have about a dozen students who are ROTC cadets who take their courses in an Army program at Fordham.Weíll talk about how that came about.

Other Ivy League schools have ROTC programs and some do not.In particular there is a program at Princeton, an Army program, which, should ROTC return to Columbia, we thought would be, perhaps, a model for what we would do here, and we discussed some of the details of that program.

It probably will come as no surprise to anyone in this audience that the policy of Donít Ask, Donít Tell has occupied a great deal of our time.We talked about that more than a bit, and I suspect we will do that here.We talked some about military recruiting on campus, although that is not our primary charge by the Senate.The reason for that was that ROTC and military recruiting on campus were packaged together in a federal law which is generally referred to as the Solomon Amendment.The Solomon Amendment in a nutshell will cut off Federal funding to universities that do not allow military recruiting or ROTC on campus.We talked about that somewhat early on, but that issue has somewhat fallen off the agenda because the Solomon Amendment, at least for now, has been found to be unconstitutional, although this is widely expected to be appealed by the Bush administration.At any rate, the Solomon Amendment is out of our hands, and we canít do anything about it except respond to it.

We discussed the reasons for bringing ROTC back. We have students who want careers as military officers. Thereís basically two ways of doing that.You either attend college at a service academy or you participate in an ROTC program.There is a lot of financial benefit to a student who participates in ROTC.Basically, you get your college education paid for.There also is a substantial obligation.You will be a military officer for about five years, essentially, and exactly, you have joined the Army.

Another reason, of course, is that Columbia plays a significant role in educating leaders in the United States and in the world.We do so in science, in law, in medicine, and in other areas, and we could do so in the military if we in fact brought ROTC back.I think, in summary, that this is an issue on which reasonable people disagree, and those are my opening remarks for now, and I would ask that Nate make whatever comments he would like to make, and then weíll introduce the task force and get on with the business at hand.

 

NATHAN WALKER: Nate Walker:Thanks.Letís talk about what weíre doing this evening and its purpose.A town hall is a mechanism used by the University Senate to solicit opinions of the university community.That is you.We will invite each of you to speak briefly into the microphones at your leisure. We ask that you do be brief, the reason being that there are many of you who would like to express your opinions, and we would like to hear everybody.If you would like to respond at length, you can do so by sending the entire task force an e-mail, which is right behind us here, ROTC-Taskforce@columbia.edu.All of the transcripts from tonight and the e-mails that we receive will go into a document that will be attached to the report that will be developed by this task force when we bring it to the Senate, hopefully by the end of this semester.At that point the Senate will review the material, they will deliberate about the recommendations of the task force, and that report will go directly to the executive board of the University Senate, and in turn the Trustees, who make the final decision.

††††††††††† So we are not the final body that will determine whether or not ROTC will return, but we are the deliberating body that take very seriously our role in hearing your opinion.

††††††††††† With that said, we ask that your opinions be expressed with the utmost academic excellence.If you have points to make, please use supporting evidence to explain your position, and I say this because after having read about a hundred e-mails that weíve been receiving in the last few days, not all of them are very persuasive.Others are.So this is your opportunity to use your skills as a scholar within this community to help us deliberate about this very complex topic.

††††††††††† Now that thatís said, I will pass the microphone around to ask each task force member to introduce themselves, and if they have any opening remarks, they can do so at their leisure.

 

JAMES SCHMID:Good evening.Iím James Schmid, Columbia College Class of 2000. I now represent the Business School in the University Senate, and itís great to see everybody here tonight.Look forward to hearing your feedback.Thanks.

 

AARON LORD:My name is Aaron Lord.Iím a second-year at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, and I would just also like to thank you guys for coming out.

 

PETER WOODIN:Good evening everyone.My name is Peter Woodin.Iím a Law School graduate, and Iím the non-faculty, non-current-student member of the task force.

 

KENDALL THOMAS:My name is Kendall Thomas.Iím the Nash Professor of Law here at Columbia, and I teach constitutional law and courses as well in law and sexuality.In addition to what our co-chair said, I would hope that in addition to what he described as the excellence of the interventions we hear tonight that all the interventions abide by a principle which I think is at the center of our common life, namely, the principle of civility.And I would hope that no one who is here tonight has any intention of doing anything or saying anything that in any way threatens that vital principle, which as far as Iím concerned is the life source of the university.Thanks.

 

SEAN WILKES:My name is Sean Wilkes.Iím Columbia College, Class of 2006, and Iím one of the student representatives.

 

JOSEPH McMANUS:Good evening.My name is Joe McManus.Iím an associate professor of pediatric dentistry, not surprisingly at the Dental School, and I did serve in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, and I certainly look forward to your input in this very important matter.Thank you.

 

APPLEGATE:I guess Iíd like to say one last thing before we open the floor to comments, and that is that the request for advice on the issue of ROTC at Columbia has come from the highest levels of the university administration: the president, Lee Bollinger, the provost, Allen Brinkley, are members of the Senate executive committee.Paul Duby, the chair of the Senate Executive Committee, is at this meeting, and I think that you should interpret the mandate for what we are here to do today rather broadly. There is a proposal to bring ROTC back to Columbia on the table.What is the right thing for Columbia University to do right now, both internally in terms of its own community, and also externally in terms of how Columbia sees itself as, you know, participating in the United States of America and the world?And I think at that point weíre open for comments.

 

WALKER:You may line up at the microphones, and again please speak briefly and come up at your leisure.Yes.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:I have a clarifying question.You were saying that thereís going to be a Trustees meeting where this is going to be decided.Canyou tell us when thatís going to be and the time line?

 

WALKER: We donít know that.We donít know that time line now.

 

APPLEGATE:My understanding of how this works is that the task force will make a recommendation to the Senate, the Senate will discuss it and vote on it, and then the results of that will go to the Trustees, and the Trustees will make the final decision.

 

WALKER:And they meet four times a year.

 

APPLEGATE:I do not speak for the Trustees so I canít say when theyíre going to do that. Sir.Oh, before you speak, can I ask that people identify themselves and their affiliation just for the record so we know whoís talking?

 

ILAN MEYER:My name is Ilan Meyer.Iím an associate professor at the School of Public Health.I just wanted to make two comments on the process first, if I can, before addressing the actual content. One question or proposal is that it would be posted on the Senate web page that you accept written testimony, because that has not been clear to everybody, and several people who could not be here asked me about that.So thatís number one.

 

APPLEGATE:Okay, let me answer that right now. There is an e-mail address which is given up here.Itís ROTC-taskforce@columbia.edu .If you want to send your comments to that, feel free to do so, and I promise Iíll read them.

 

MEYER:But I think it will be important to reassure people that their comments actually get into the written record of this task force because when you send an e-mailóI actually sent an e-mail to this task force, and I never received a confirmation or an answer, not that you maybe need to, but I did have a couple of questions that were not addressed. So just for the purpose of maintaining the record, and so people know that their e-mails are in fact taken in.Some people may want to submit more than an e-mail.

 

WALKER:As someone whoís managing the e-mail address, I can assure you that weíll probably do something like we did last year when we solicited advice about the diploma design.All of those e-mails will go into a document that will be attached to our final report which will go the Senate, which is a public document.We will take out all the names and e-mails for confidentiality purposes, but the comments themselves will be available.

 

MEYER:So other materials can be submitted also to the committee and be included?Other materials that people may wish to submit in writing?Is that possible?Any document or anything?†† Okay?And also that it should be noted on the web site?

††††††††††† The second proposal is that on the same web site there will be published also the opinion of the people who are opposing.Because currently there is the proposal only, but not the statement of those opposing.There are answers to some of the questions that were raised by those opposing within the proposal,but there is no statement of an opposing side.

 

WALKER:If there is an individual or group that would like to create such a document, all of this is transparent.But there has not yet been a group.

 

MEYER:Right.Well, we didnít know about this.I personally didnít.So there is a group who is interested in proposing a con side.Okay.

 

WALKER:Then please submit the material.

 

MEYER:Okay.Well, Iíll let some other people talk.I have other comments for the actual thing, butÖ.

 

MATAN ARIEL:Hi.My name is Matan Ariel, GS í06.Two years ago a group of students approached the undergraduate student councils asking for support.I just wanted to read out loud the resolution made by the General Studies Student Council, adopted March 12, 2003.ďWhereas the Columbia community is committed to diversity in both demographics and intellectual discourse, and whereas ROTC program would provide a new alternative voice on campus, and whereas Columbia Universityís policies clearly state that any form of discrimination, be it based on religion, race, gender and specifically sexual orientation, not be tolerated in any form; therefore be it resolved that the General Studies Student Council would not be willing to endorse an ROTC program at Columbia University until openly gay members of the Columbia University community are allowed to participate in any and all aspects of the ROTC program.Ē

††††††††††† I just wanted to share this, and this might not be representative of the current council. This is from March 2003, but I wanted to share this with the task force and thank you for your work.

 

WALKER:Thank you.

 

QUINCY LEHR:Well, Iíll speak explicitly.

 

WALKER:Your name, please.

 

LEHR:Iím Quincy Lehr.Iím a graduate student in history.Iím also on the Spartacus Youth Club on campus.And first off, Iíd just like to say, comments about civility aside, I hope that we can understand that we are dealing with a political issue here.In a period in which the United States military is increasingly active around the world, this is not merely a question of the relative abstract worth of one class versus another.And I would say personally my objection to the ROTC is primarily based on the role of the military in general.One can look anywhere from Abu Ghraib to interventions in places like Haiti and Panama and so forth, and with the history major I could give you a long list.And it is these that make me oppose this, and in the opening remark it struck me that the ROTC was eliminated in 1969.Well, what happened on this campus in 1968?That was a result of the Vietnam War.A lot of buildings got occupied; a lot of people were very, very justly angry about what was going on in Vietnam at that time.

††††††††††† So, under these circumstances, the question has to become one, particularly in a period when you can look at the current witch hunt thatís going on. And I do not think I exaggerate by saying thereís a witch hunt against professors in the MEALAC Department in particular who hold opinions contrary to those of the U.S. government.And the U.S. government meanwhile, with ROTC, would be getting a much, much bigger hold on this campus, particularly the part of the government that goes out and kills people.And this would be a negative, indeed catastrophic thing to happen at this campus.

 

JEFF WILLIAMS:My name is Jeff Williams.Iím a law student graduating this year, and I also was a graduate of the undergraduate program, Columbia College, in 2002.I was heartened that the General Studies School contributed their resolution, and it seems to me to be a point of agreement actually, that even proponents of the ROTC agree that it would be wrong to have a discriminatory policy.In that spirit I would just like to open and invite a question, not only to the panel members but also to the rest of the audience.How exactly does anyone believe this policy can be open and nondiscriminatory towards homosexuals entering this program?If there are leadership opportunities, how are homosexuals going to pursue these leadership opportunities?And if this is a career path, how are homosexuals in the ROTC program realistically expected to want to pursue this career?

 

VICTOR COCCHIA:Good evening everyone.Victor Cocchia, School of General Studies, 2006.I think there are a couple of key words that were mentioned.When we talk about the ROTC leaving here in 1969, we use the word expelled.And the gentleman over here brought up the political aspects of it.But arenít we really talking here about inclusion?Itís stressed on campus inclusion.Itís stressed on campus being open to opinions that donít represent the entire mass of the student body.We learn in our American politics classes about the Constitution and about the peopleóour foundersówho specifically wrote the Constitution to make sure that the tyranny of the masses did not overtake the rights of the few.Here on campus weíve gone out of our way to make sure that a lot of organizations, student bodies who have small participation are protected.The ROTC is the same thing.Why should we exclude them specifically because of politics, specifically because some people are anti-military, some people are anti-war?What weíre doing is that weíre training people here to serve in the military.Weíre not indoctrinating them.Itís a voluntary program.And as well, donít we want the leaders of this military, if there is to be any sort of change in policy or thought process in it, shouldnít these leaders be trained at the highest level?Shouldnít they be trained at universities like Columbia, like Harvard, like Yale?And wouldnít that facilitate a little bit more of this internal change?For anyone to think that the military is going away because we have no ROTC program at Columbia is sort of naÔve.

††††††††††† We talk here as well about the fact of the Donít Ask, Donít Tell program.But again as it said in the literature, that is a federal law, and itís not something that the ROTC can change. But when we talk about inclusion, do we have to exclude the ROTC and the opportunities that it gives to people who donít have enoughmoney to attend Columbia?I know personally someone who would like to attend Columbia, cannot attend Columbia because she doesnít have enough money.She is going to go to another school because she has an ROTC scholarship.Why canít she come here?Why canít she achieve the best that she can?Why does she have to go a school where sheís not going to achieve the kind of education she would get here?

††††††††††† So I think if we start preaching inclusion, if we start preaching diversity, diversity of opinion, diversity of people, then thereís no way that we can ethically keep out the ROTC because of some peopleís objections to what the military does politically.Because then where do we start?Do we start excluding Republicans, do we start excluding conservatives, do we start excluding libertarians because they donít follow what the majority of the students believe?Thank you.

 

JAMES SCHMID:Can I ask you a clarification?Whereís Sean? Sean, do you want to clarify just what the current scholarship structure pays for right now, and what the difference is between attending classes at Fordham and how that financial aid varies, please?

 

SEAN WILKES:Sure.As far as attending an ROTC program at Fordham, youíre limited by what the Fordham scholarship offers, which is based on Fordhamís tuition.So if you attend the Fordham program, which you can as a Columbia student, your ceiling is reached at $20,000. Which does not go to pay for all of Columbiaís tuition.If there were a program at Columbia, as there is at Princeton and MIT for instance, they do pay for all of the tuition.So thereís a difference of about $12,000 a year.

 

WALKER:In addition to that, by bringing ROTC back, we could potentially include approximately 60 students like they do at Princeton, whereas right now the Fordham contract only permits funding for about 12.

 

ROBERT WRAY:I think I joined the line at the right time.My name is Robert Ray, CC í06.And just two quick things.One, I was vice president, Columbia College Student Council, last year when they took a referendum basically to gauge student opinion on this, and just to present it.It was basically about a two-to-one opinion of those who voted for who were attending at that year (so itís obviously not representational of this yearís freshman class) in support of the idea of investigating bringing ROTC back. So I do think that this is an important issue that should be discussed.

††††††††††† In addition, I have personally visited, just because I have friends there, at ROTC programs at other schools of our caliber, such as Georgetown, Princeton, Cornell, and they have seemed to function very well there.I think that it has added to the diversity,and the students generally havenít seemed to (at least none that I met at those schools) have any problems there. And I think that if they could function there, then I think it could work at a school like Columbia, because we have a very similar student population.Thank you.

 

CHAN CASEY:Hi, Iím Chan Casey.Iím a first-year law student.And while Iím very uncomfortable with the message that Columbia would be sending externally if they welcomed ROTC to the Columbia community, I wanted to focus more on the internal aspects and the responsibility Columbia has to care for the well being of its students.

††††††††††† Iím a gay man.I did not realize that I was a gay until I was a senior in college at William and Mary.I think there will be people relying on these scholarships to come to Columbia that may not know that they are gay, and what happens to them when they realize they are, and they have this duty to serve in the military or pay back their scholarships they relied on not having to pay back when they come out of the closet, or conversely, if they donít come out of the closet as a result of the Solomon Amendment?You know, the difficulties that theyíll have in their lives that I think Columbia has a responsibility to at least think about. Thank you.

 

JEFF SULT:Jeff Sult.Iím a graduate of Teachers College, 2003.I was formerly a student observer on the University Senate here.Professor Applegate, you talked about the history of this issue coming back.I wanted to just add something to it because I was involved in it at the beginning.That was in fall of 2002.President Bollinger had asked, put out the word to us and asked if there were any questions for him, and I brought up the ROTC issue at that time with the diversity argument.And he seemed to be receptive to that.And that was again fall 2002, September, October, and it was after that, I wrote some letters, some other people wrote some letters, and thatís what got the ball rolling and the referendum came about.

††††††††††† The point I want to make is not to pat myself on the back, but to let you know that this was a grass-roots movement.It came from the student body, and after it was brought up in the Senate, then the undergraduates properly took the initiative because it concerns them, and theyíre the ones that are being harmed by the policy of keeping ROTC off campus, as students do need the money for scholarships.And also I believe that Columbia needs to step up to the plate and do their part to support the United States government because of the support that the government gives to Columbia.It seems to me itís a one-way street.Thereís a lot of federal money coming to this university, but whatís the university doing in return for that?So.

 

APPLEGATE:Well, I mean the short answer to that question is federal money that comes to Columbia mostly comes under federal grants and contracts to do specific things, and Columbia does those things.Those are mostly to scientific research in biomedicine, physics, chemistry, geophysics and things like that.But, a comment on your other hand, I was not aware of the grass-roots movement amongst the students or the referendum.I became aware of the movement to bring ROTC back to Columbia when there was a table that showed up on College Walk with a sign on it that said ďBring ROTC Back to ColumbiaAnd since Iím old enough to remember when ROTC was thrown off a lot of college campuses, I kind of looked at it and said, Man, Iím really getting old.[Laughter].

††††††††††† My involvement in it, I mean, I thought it was an extremely interesting issue, and I remember looking at it and thinking, Well, thatís an issue I might like to get interested in.And be careful what you wish you for because wishes occasionally come true.And, in fact, when the University Senate formed this task force, I was first asked to be on it and asked to co-chair.

 

SULT:†† All right.Thank you.I just wanted to mention that.Thank you.

 

STEPHEN MADSEN:I am tired and I am sick so I will be brief.Just as one might ask what right does the federal government have to discriminate against homosexuals, I would like to know what right does this university have to impede a patriotic citizen like myself who wishes to serve?Thank you.Iím sorry.Iím Stephen Madsen, GS í08.

 

SOREN BECH:Good evening.My name is Soren Beck.Iím the president of Cluster Q, the LGBT student organization at the Columbia Business School.I am going to kind of read from a document that I prepared for the Bottom Line, which will be published on Thursday (that Ďs our school newspaper):

††††††††††† ďWhile on the surface this appears to be a matter about patriotism in a time of war and national security concerns, the actual issue that we all should consider is equal rights.This is because there are at least thirty-five members of the Columbia Business School community and hundreds of other members of the Columbia community who are not allowed to participate in the ROTC or in other military programs just because of who we are.We have all the other qualifications: able body and mind, weíre U.S. citizens, and weíre of appropriate age.But we are gay Americans, and are not welcome in the Army, the Coast Guard or the ROTC just because of that.Denial of equal rights in the work place for gays and lesbians is one of the last legal forms of discrimination in this country.While the vast majority of corporate employers that Business School students are looking to work at go well beyond equal protection of gay and lesbian employees, the federal government is the most pronounced offender of the principle in this country of equal rights and equal protection.Asking a gay or lesbian to serve under the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy is like asking an immigrant to deny his or her heritage or someone to denounce their religion.Itís denying equal protection that is the cornerstone of American society, and this is what is truly unpatriotic.

††††††††††† ďThe current policy that does not allow ROTC to use facilities or have formal status on our campus is appropriate, and as a graduate of another university that also does not allow the ROTC, that being Yale, I believe that there are plenty of other economic programs that can benefit the students and allow them to get access to a wonderful education such as at Columbia University.But as a university we have the moral obligation on these matters to do what is right, and not allow discrimination on our campus.

††††††††††† ďBefore the Equal Rights Amendment would we have stood by and allowed firms to recruit on campus that discriminated against Latinos, African-Americans, against Jews?No.We would not have.Would we have allowed organizations that didnít allow women to join their ranks?No. We would not have.By welcoming the ROTC back on campus, we are endorsing discrimination of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, and continuing to propagate homophobia in this country.Ē Thank you very much.[Applause]

MICHAEL WOODLEY:Hello.My name is Michael Woodley.I am a student of the School of General Studies, and I am president of the Columbia College Conservatives Club.I would just like to point out that it appears to me that a large amount of the current resistance to the ROTC is a result of the inertia of the radicalism of the 1960s.I agree with a lot of the comments here that it is political.This university made a commitment to insure freedom of speech and ideological diversity on campus.Allowing the ROTC here onto campus to do their duty as American citizens and to give the opportunity for others here on campus to do the same is insuring that same ideological diversity.As far as I am concerned itís as simple as that.Thatís all Iíd like to say.[Applause]

 

JAKE BENNETT:Hi.My name is Jake Bennett.Iím a student at the Business School.I served three years in the Israeli army in an anti-terrorist special forces unit.So Iím coming from the background of one who went out of his way to serve and put a lot of his own energy and time into that.So for me the question of service is a personal one, as it is to others, who are taking the anti stand today.

††††††††††† The main argument against ROTC that weíre hearing tonight is that the U.S. military doesnít allow gay people to openly express their sexuality.A lot of people are saying that the Army doesnít allow gay people in, but according to the law in the Senate, you can be gay and be in the military, but you are not allowed to express it.So.

††††††††††† I come from an army where thereís universal service, and regardless of sexual orientation or background, whether you came from rich parents or poor, you do your duty.And I think that when you have a democracy where the military is also representative of all the aspects of society, you get the best out of your military.And when you have an institution such as this, which is an elite intellectual institution, denying the military a place here, you are in effect denying the intellectual elite of Columbia from taking part in that military.You are hurting the organism that a lot of people here wish to change.

††††††††††† And one might ask, okay, sexuality of individuals, it goes to the core ofyour being.Itís a part of your, you know, your most basic urges and a part of who you are.But is it right to deny your classmates or your students here at Columbia the opportunity to serve their country because the Army denies one group the right to express sexual orientation?I think if you bring it down to that level, youíre politicizing an institution that should not be politicized.Military does the will of the United States, does the will of the body politic.If a person wants to change the actions of the military, then you change the government.You donít rail against the individual soldiers or the institution itself.

††††††††††† And if the students of Columbia wish to change the Armyís policy towards homosexuality and openness of homosexuality, I think that shouldbe done through lobbying Congress and making an effort in that way.But when whatís in this case a thirty-three percent minority of the student body wants to make their stand here by stopping ROTC from existing here, there are penalties that weigh against the benefits of this political speech. And thatís what I wanted to say about that.Thank you.[Applause]

 

SCOTT CARDIFF:My name is Scott Cardiff, and Iím in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and I believe that there are many reasons to oppose ROTC returning on campus, most importantly, perhaps, because of their policy with regards to gays and lesbians, but I would like to dwell on two particular issues: mainly the life of ROTC members on campuses, and second, more about the political aspect.

††††††††††† Now, I was an undergraduate at Cornell University, where there was an ROTC program, and a good friend of mine and my roommate was in this program, in the Navy ROTC.So I got to see firsthand what it was like being in the ROTC in a university of the caliber of Columbia.Now there are many ways that ROTC probably affected his academic life at Cornell.Of course his early morning schedules may have contributed to him falling asleep all the time, including during exams, but more importantly he was then committed after graduating to serving in the military.Now he had studied as a biologist, as I am.However, now that he has, is finishing up his term in the military, he is faced with the problem of wanting to return to his original academic career, and yet having completely outdated skills and knowledge because of the time he has lost serving in the military doing completely unrelated tasks.

 

APPLEGATE:A comment on that.Participating in ROTC requires you to serve in the military.And you have to accept that up front.If you are participating in ROTC and you are going to graduate in the spring of 2005 from an Army program, I will virtually guarantee you that you will not only be a second lieutenant in the Army, youíre going to be in Iraq.I mean, you canít tell me that thereís a problem with ROTC because somebody didnít realize that they had a commitment after graduation.

 

CARDIFF:Iíll continue.

 

APPLEGATE:Yes, continue.

 

CARDIFF:His reasons for joining the ROTC were actually financial.Now of course it is not anyone who needs money to attend school who is allowed into the ROTC, but he also wanted to be a biologist.Iím discussing the aspects of lives of ROTC members on campuses.Iím not suggesting that he was unaware of the consequences of his actions, but he was motivated by financial interest as well.Now some argue that this is a very good reason to return ROTC to campus, because people need the money to attend. But that is talking about the need for more federal funds for financial aid for students.Why donít we now directly lobby for more funds for financial aid for students rather than using that as a justification for returning ROTC to campus?

††††††††††† Now, my last point is regarding the political aspects.I believe that returning ROTC to campus, especially during the current administration, is a sort of tacit endorsement of the current policies of our administration, and makes in some way the university complicit in what is going on in the world with our militaryís activities.And so I believe that the university is faced with a choice: either supporting its educational goals and the aspirations of its students, and perhaps lobbying for more federal financial aid, or becoming complicit in promoting the militaryís murderous assault on peoples all over the world today. Thanks.[Applause].

 

JONAH BIRCH:My name is Jonah Birch.Iím a senior in the College. First of all Iíd just like to echo what Scott had to say about the issue of funding because thatís entirely a separate issue.There really is a problem where, you know, it costs way too much to come to Columbia, and I welcome proponents of ROTC joining me in a movement, a fight, to actually get more federal funding and redirect Columbiaís resources towards allowing poor [people] into school here.

††††††††††† The second thing that I wanted to point out was that the undergraduate referendum that was referred to by the representative from the Columbia College Student Council was actually written by proponents of ROTC intentionally in such a way that it would be confusing. Actually, on the referendum a no vote was actually a vote to return ROTC to campus.So most of the people I talked to that voted were, one, against ROTC, and actually voted yes because they were confused about the wording of the referendum.

 

SEAN WILKES:One comment on that was that weóthe proponents of ROTCódid not write the referendum.It was written by the members of the student council.It was recommended, we had asked for it to be written, and we had presented our own questions, and then they took it and then wrote their own question.

 

BIRCH: Thatís fine.But the people who wrote it were pro ROTC. The only way that the question could have been worded in that way was if they were supporters of ROTC.Thereís no other way that that happened.

††††††††††† And the other thing is that itís really disingenuous to say that this isnít a political question, because it is.In the real world what weíre discussing here is whether the next generation of officers are going to be recruited and trained here at our campus, who are then going to be in Iraq, like you said, or in Afghanistan, or possibly in Syria, depending on what happens in the next year, and theyíre going to be the ones who are sending, you know, front-line soldiers, poor kids usually, predominantly black and Latino, into these wars, into battles, into the assaults like on Fallujah.So we have to be clear about what weíre dealing with right here.If you want to go join the military, go join the military.You know what Iím saying? There are recruiting stations all over. The question is whether weíre going to allow the remilitarization of our campus here at Columbia, and Iím completely against that.[Applause]

 

JOSEPH McFADDEN:My name is Joe McFadden.Iím a third-year in the Law School.I know we keep talking a lot about gay people in the military, but one thing I did want to talk about and make sure is clear is that the Donít Ask, Donít Tell and the ROTCís policy are not just simply about job discrimination and not allowing gay people to be in the military.Itís a lot more complicated than that, and the policy works a lot more unfavorably against gay and lesbian members in the military than that.As a senior, going into my senior year at Georgetown, there were two members of the ROTC who lost their scholarships that year.One of them was a very good friend of mine.And he went into ROTC as an eighteen-year-old kid, right out of high school, grew up in a military family, thought it was something he was going to do, and as he went off to college realized that he wasnít going to be able to spend the time that was going to be required in the military serving as, either as, well, obviously not an openly gay man, but trying to integrate that with his life.And these are kids growing up during school, coming to terms with this, and he was put in this position where he was forced to either pay back the money, lie about what was going on in his personal life, or find another way to pay for school.And it was an impossible position to put students like that in, and it happens. And I donít know how frequently it happens, but like I said, that year at Georgetown it happened twice.

††††††††††† Beyond that, Donít Ask, Donít Tell isnít just a simple policy that keeps gays and lesbians out of the military.Iíve worked with national organizations that work with service members who have been kicked out of the military.Iíve worked with private attorneys who also work with those service members, and this is a policy that literally destroys peopleís lives.You hear people say that they donít investigate or that they donít pursue these members, and thatís just not true.I mean, I would urge you all to really look at the way this policy works.Iíve spoken with several, many people whose lives were literally destroyed by this policy when some kind of allegation came out about them and their sexual orientation.Itís not some simple thing that keeps people out of the military.It really wrecks lives.

††††††††††† And Columbiaís made a decision that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not something that we want involved in our academic community, and even beyond that, I would urge us not to make this statement and bring ROTC back.You also hear people say that itís a Congressional policy, that the military has nothing to do with it.I would urge you all to look at the legislative history of Donít Ask, Donít Tell.It was certainly supported by the vast majority of the military members who spoke for it, and quite strongly, and it still is.It still is a fundamental part of the way the military culture works, and as long as itís in place, itís both supported by the military as well as Congress.Itís not as simple as saying thereís just nothing we can do about it.Anyway.[Applause]

 

TIM FRASCA:Good evening.My name is Tim Frasca from the Mailman School of Public Health uptown. First of all, Iíd like to say that Iím a little surprised and disappointed that there seems to be no female representation on this panel.[Applause]And weíre discussing the relationship of an academic institution with the military, the national military, it seems to be a perspective thatís required, and itís not just a knee-jerk response.I also am old enough to remember and feeling a bit of dťjŗ vu about this, and the incident that I most recall in my undergraduate days was a very difficult situation that arose because one of our professors of anthropology taught a course in Southeast Asian cultures.And at the same time as the My Lai massacre case was breaking open, she had an active-duty Army captain in her class, and found herself in the situation of presenting this very useful information to a war-making effort that she deeply disagreed with.She eventually refused to teach this individual and was fired by the university.

††††††††††† I mention that becausethe United States armed forces are not just any armed forcesóitís not an abstract situation that weíre grappling withóand also in order to express my own feelings about it.When I saw the mail a couple of days ago, I was in a class in which we were spending the whole day talking about ethical treatment of research subjects.Public health is a field in which weíre trying to promote public health, and at the same time, weíre discussing entering into a formal relationship with an entity that sanctions the torture of defenseless detainees.Now, Iíve heard all the denials of that, but I also lived for twenty years in a country that had torture as state policy, and I also became very familiar with the denials at the highest levels.Those are false.And I think itís fairly obvious, and I donít believe that we can hide behind that kind of sophistry and believe that our national policy is something else, when the people who presented that policy, who justified it legally through their memoranda, are promoted to the highest offices in the land.So itís not really a political issue, but itís a very concrete one.For me itís a moral and ethical issue, and I am opposed to this.[Applause]

 

WALKER:We should make one clarification.There is one female member on our task force.It doesnít create a critical mass on our team, and in no way do weó

 

APPLEGATE:She couldnít be here tonight.

 

WALKER:And in no way do we endorse this, the maleness of this.

 

APPLEGATE:On the other hand, we donít view it as a fundamental problem either.

 

JEFF WILLIAMS:I do appreciate that comment.I would also first like to echo the comments of Mr. Galey and Mr. McFadden.While I donít think it is fair or reasonable to hold ROTC responsible because an individual does not realize their commitments, I do believe it is fair to hold ROTC or, more specifically, this university responsible if an individual does not realize his or her sexuality and are treated unfairly as a result of that.Returning to the question I asked in my first comment, I do not see and would love an explanation from anyone in this house or from the panel members who are actively involved in this conversation as to how we realistically expect to treat homosexuals in the ROTC program fairly and equally.I have not heard that answered yet.

 

APPLEGATE:The short answer to that is that Donít Ask, Donít Tell is a discriminatory policy against homosexuals.It is written to be precisely that.The military does not want you if you are gay.

 

WILLIAMS:Yes.

 

APPLEGATE:Thatís that.Columbia canít change that.The issue is, for me, is that a sufficient reason to bar the military, in particular ROTC, from campus?You, of course, can always choose not to participate in ROTC.

 

WILLIAMS:Yes.And we as a Ė

 

APPLEGATE:But on the other hand by saying ROTC is barred from campus, you will essentially bar everyone else on campus from participating in ROTC as well.

 

WILLIAMS:Or from going to the Fordham program, correct?

 

APPLEGATE:Thank you.

 

KENDALL THOMAS:May I make a point of order?

 

APPLEGATE:Absolutely.

 

WALKER:Please use the microphone.

 

KENDALL THOMAS:I do think that itís worth marking that civility aside, this discussion places us all in a political situation.That is to say, this town hall discussion is taking place against the backdrop of a number of developments, both inside the university and outside of it.We have gathered tonight as a body which has been charged to offer at the end of the semester a recommendation to the University Senate.Our position in this context is one where weíre sitting up here on this dais. We are for all practical purposes the representatives of the power elite at the university.I would simply ask that people be allowed to make the statements or put the questions to the panel or to those assembled here that they like, and then if someone wanted to respond to them after theyíd finished, then that would be entirely appropriate.My concern is that we are risking creating the impression, which I know you donít want to do, that the relationship of the task force to those whoíve come here tonight to express their views is an adversarial one.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:Thank you.

 

THOMAS:Or that the views expressed by the chair in response to a particular speaker are the views of the committee as a whole.And I would prefer to err on the side of silence as far as that particular risk goes, at least as Ė Iím speaking as an individual member of a committee in that regard.So the suggestion simply is that people be allowed to speak, and then if there are responses after theyíve spoken, then that would be appropriate. Thatís my suggestion.

 

APPLEGATE:Thatís fine with me. The ground rules that I circulated among the task force, which of course are advisory only, were that the purpose of this was for us to hear your opinionsónot for the task force to report on ours.This is by no means a press conference being held by the task force.The task force members sitting up here were free to speak as they wish, but I advise that people probably confine their remarks to brief statements of fact, things like, you know, how does Columbia decide academic credit for a course and stuff like that, and follow up questions on comments.So Iím sorry if I offended anyone.

 

WILLIAMS:While I did appreciate that comment, Professor Thomas, I certainly didnít take anything amiss.And in fact I think our conversation was quite useful in pointing out that openly homosexual members of Columbia University are strictly barred from participating in ROTC, and individuals at Columbia University who are interested in ROTC are not strictly barred from being members of Columbia University.

††††††††††† I also believe as regards speech and as regards inclusion, I do think, and this is what Iíll leave on, that it is appropriate to note that it is not as if we are an entirely and completely inclusive campus.We do make efforts, but we also make practical decisions.And Iím sure if you speak to, excuse me, identity groups or representatives of minority cultures, we can understand historically that the administration has not been blindly sympathetic to the call of inclusion.Similarly, without risking civility, I think it would be naÔve to say that the administration has been blindly open to the suggestions of the student body, or has really put much credence in those consistently.I donít mean to belittle any of the individuals or institutions involved in student government, but I think an empirical rundown of the voting numbers, of the campaign slogans, etc., might bear out explanations for this.

††††††††††† The last thing that I want to say regards the question of free speech, because while I think individuals are certainly entitled to free speech, I think most people here would agree that organizations and associations are as well.If conservatives or proponents of ROTC or questioners of gay rights would suggest that the Boy Scouts, as an organization, have the ability to chill the speech of an individual scout master who says, Iím gay, because they have speech associated with themselves, I fail to see how we as a university are not entitled to stick up for our own speech and our own values as well.

 

MONIQUE DOLS:My name is Monique Dols.Iím a senior in the School of General Studies, and thank you to Professor Thomas for interjecting that. Because, I mean, if you get to interject every time you disagree with someone who speaks, Iím sure thereís someone on that panel thatís against ROTC coming back.I would like them to also have the opportunity to do the same.

††††††††††† I just had a couple thoughts.One of the things that really angers me the most about this discussion is when you have people talking about how the ROTC will help diversify Columbia University, and there were signs put up around campus last year saying that ROTC is affirmative action.I find that incredibly insulting considering the fact that last year when we had an upheaval around several documented racist events at Columbia, and I went to my school leadership, and I asked the School of General Studies to publish the statistics of the makeup of General Studies because itís not very diverse, I couldnít get that information.And if the people are here to say that ROTC will help diversify Columbia University would actually do something to help double or triple or quadruple the Pell Grants that are getting cut right now as we speak and making it hard for working class students to stay at Columbia, then we would actually get a lot farther in this discussion.

††††††††††† My school, the School of General Studies, is a school for nontraditional students.That is, if youíre not rich and have money to get tutored for the SATs, you could still get into the School of General Studies. That means that the School of General Studies should be the most diverse school, and it should have need-blind admissions.That is, if you get in, the university should insure that youíre going to be able to stay in, and youíre not going to get thrown out if Pell Grants continue to get cut because the Feds are cutting it to send more money to the war in Iraq.,So if there is real, genuine sentiment about increasing the diversity of this campus, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with those people.But I think that it is an incredibly disingenuous statement from people that want to tie the strings of education to joining the military and killing and being killed.That is the bottom line of this debate.People should be able to come to this school whether or not theyíre for the war, whether or not theyíre prepared to go die in Iraq.And I think that is the most insulting thing that working class people shouldnít be able to go to school unless they sign up for the military.And I think thatís what is at stake here.

††††††††††† I really wanted to thank the brother for, okay, I guess thereís one woman on this panel, but given the recent statistics about violence against women in the militaryóthat one in three women in the military get sexually harassed in some wayóany task force that does not take this into considerationówhat it would mean to remilitarize our campus, what it would do to violence against women on this campusóand has one woman I guess is not legitimate in my eyes.

††††††††††† Finally, I just wanted to speak to the issue of what it actually means.I mean weíre talking about civility here, but the reality is that thereís a very uncivil war going on in the Middle East right now.I just wanted to read a quick quote from someone that was recently in Fallujah, because unfortunately that discussion is somewhat, yeah, itís actually very relevant because, like the chair said, if people are going to sign up for ROTC, theyíre going to be going to Iraq and so on, and so I think itís actually extremely relevant what our university and other universities are involved in if they have military recruitment and ROTC on campus.

††††††††††† Iíd just like to read a quick quote.

 

APPLEGATE:Very quick, please.

 

DOLS:Okay. Well, you know what,Iíll skipóIíll just read a quick quote about Fallujah:ďI remember being approached by an elderly woman, her eyes raw with tears.She grabbed my arm and told me how her house has been hit by a U.S. bomb during an air raid.The ceiling collapsed on her nineteen-year-old son, cutting off both of his legs.ĒI could continue and continue about the continued massacres that are taking place in Fallujah and cities like Fallujah all over.

 

APPLEGATE:Could you maybe conclude?

 

DOLS:So Iíll conclude with one thing.There are a number of veterans that are coming back from Iraq that are drawing the conclusions that the war in Iraq and the occupation of Iraq is the wrong war.Will you accept testimony of people like Benderman, whoís just recently came back from Iraq and is now refusing to go back, who says he will have nothing to do with it?Are you going to actually take the testimony of people whoíve actually seen what itís like?

 

APPLEGATE:Are you asking me if these people going to testify before the task force?

 

DOLS:Iím asking you if you would allow for some of these people, like Pablo Paredesís brother, like Benderman.I can name a few more.Would you have them testify before your group?Because clearly you have one studentó

 

APPLEGATE:No.This is not a referendum on the war in Iraq.

DOLS: But it is a referendum on whether or not ROTC, whether or not we should have a military programó

 

APPLEGATE:Weíre discussing ROTC at Columbia.This is not a referendum on the war on Iraq.That referendum was in November and my side lost.Okay.

 

DOLS:So you wonít hear from vets who are to be against ROTC?

 

WALKER:Weíve been hearing from people who will specifically speak to the issue of ROTC.So the scope doesnít go beyond that.We are notó

 

ANOTHER VOICE:As outlined by the co-chair?Heís the one determining what the outline of the discussion is?

 

WALKER:The mandate of our committee is not to address the issue in Iraq, but only the scope of whether or not ROTC should come back to.

 

DOLS:What about the fact that thereís only one undergrad whoís written very publicly inó

 

END SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE; BEGIN SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE.

 

APPLEGATE:This committee is actually dominated by students.We need to go on.

 

WALKER:--with a wide range of views on the topic.

 

DYLAN STILLWOOD: Hi, my name is Dylan Stillwood. Iím Columbia College, Class of 2002.And I just wanted to speak to the issue thatís been brought up from time to time by supporters of ROTC that it would open up Columbia to poor and working-class people, and would open up the military to the more enlightened views of Columbia students.Because to me those things, those notions, are actually kind of offensive to me.I mean, I came to Columbia from a public high school, from a, you know, predominantly black and Latino high school, Newburgh Free Academy in upstate New York, and it had a large Air Force ROTC program in it.And I canít say that Iím happy with the role that that ROTC program played in the high school.I honestly think, to echo what Monique just said, that students from my high school should be able to come to a school like Columbia whether or not they sign up and volunteer to be part of the military effort.That to me should not be something thatís a pre-condition for their being able to attend a school like this.And, you know, to me one thing that the committee should definitely consider is the role that Columbia plays as a wealthy and influential university in endorsing this kind of, what I would call legalized bribery of high school students in getting them to sign up to the military.Because if Columbia allows ROTC back on to its campus in a more active and official role, itís going to give confidence to people around the country who want to bring ROTC to more campuses.Iím sure that the supporters of ROTC here are in touch with people around the country, and Iím sure that people wonít be blind to it.And it will only further the influence of ROTC programs.And far from making higher education more attainable to poor and working class students, it will only further make it, you know, pre-conditioned on whether or not people sign up to the military.

††††††††††† Like. to me, the idea that the military is just another organization or just an embattled minority subject to the tyranny of the majority is just insanely naÔve.Itís actually the best-funded institution in our society.Trillions of dollars go to it every single year.To me the idea that theyíre being discriminated in the same senseóthere was once a cartoon that compared it to the civil rights movementóis like unreal in its absurdity.Actually it has so much leverage that the federal government is able to withhold to colleges if they donít allow military recruitment on their campus.That shows the type of power, the type of pernicious influence over higher education, a type of manipulation of the aspirations of poor and working-class people that I donít think that Columbia should be supporting.And I think that if Columbia puts its endorsement behind thatófar from this being an issue of individual students being discriminated against, ROTC students are currently more than welcome to attend Columbia, attend classes, and bring their insights and the core curriculum back to the military if they so desire.

††††††††††† You know, itís not an issue of discrimination.Itís an issue of Columbia endorsing this relationship between the military and higher education that to me is very harmful both to higher education and to the poor and working class who are being bribed to join into a type of service that they donít know the full extent of when theyíre young and impressionable.[Applause]

STEVEN BROZAK:My name is Steve Brozak.Iím a graduate of the class of GS 1982, and Business School 1994, and for lack of a better term I am an Iraqi vet.I just spent twenty-two years in the Marine Corps on active duty, in the reserves, and then back again on active duty as well.I served in places like Haiti, at the United Nations Mission in Haiti.I served at the U.S. Mission in the United Nations here in New York.I served as part of the NATO task force in Bosnia.And then my last job, after 9/11, was to go out and be the spokesperson for one of the Department of Defense agencies that try to preserve jobs for guardsmen and reservists.I left active duty in December of 2003.I immediately ran for Congress on the Democratic ticket.I was endorsed by the human rights campaign.I was endorsed by a number of groups, including moveon.org, and got an opportunity to speak during the Democratic convention for Senator Kerry.

††††††††††† I believe that ROTC is a terribly important thing for three reasons. The first one:I came to GS in 1982 as a transfer student.I couldnít afford to come here.Unfortunately people like Sean canít afford Columbia without additional assistance.And the halfway measure that Fordham offers doesnít cover the full bill.By itself would just that be enough?I am firmly opposed, as everyone in this room should be, to Donít Ask, Donít Tell.But unfortunately it was the situation that came up because during the Clinton administration when he tried to reverse the discrimination that took place, there were not enough voices within the military, within Congress that had enough experience within the military to say no, this is simply wrong.There were not enough people that could go out there and critically analyze the statements that were being made.Today there are even fewer.

††††††††††† The worst part about it is that today, I should say yesterday, men and women have given their lives that are gay.Today, I am certain that men and women have given their lives that are gay as well.And tomorrow itís the same situation.But unfortunately there isnít an eloquent voice that can go out there and that can address the issues of why we have to change this.There isnít enough familiarity within the system. There isnít enough familiarity even in this room here today to start to address the points, point by point.By itself, this is an important issue, but hereís where Columbia becomes a disproportionate player.General Shinsecki, the chief of staff of the Army, testified before Congress and went out and explained what the case was going to be in Iraq.The administration didnít see fit to follow his guidelines.They immediately retired him, as they did with his boss, the Secretary of the Army.

††††††††††† I like to think if there had been more people from the Ivies, men and women, if there had been an eloquent voice that could have gone out there and said no, Mr. President, no, Mr. Secretary, this is not right.These are the facts.We can go out there and do things differently.We can go out there and make a difference.

††††††††††† Now people might argue, well, what is one cadet, or two, or twenty or fifty going to do in the next few years?The disproportionate effect that having ROTC return to campus would be that the academics, the faculty, would start to realize what needs to be done to change our military today.I came off of active duty because I was very disturbed by what I saw.The people that surrounded my campaign realized that there had to be a voice.I was the only person leaving active duty to run for Congress from either side.I was labeled a liberal because I believe that you should not discriminate against anyone because itís a womanís right to choose.But unfortunately there are a lot of people today within the military that donít understand, and even fewer in Congress that can start to address these issues.

††††††††††† As an example of what one person can do, when we were trying to figure out how bad it was for the people that were called back to active duty, we were short on statisticians.In the back of the room I drew from one of Columbiaís Business School statisticians, took him to Iraq to figure out exactly how bad the situation was.Imagine if there were twenty or thirty others within the service that could do the same thing.There has to be a situation now where this university can now play a role in addressing what the problems of the military in this country are.Thank you.[Applause]

 

JOSHUA SPODEK:Hi.My name is Joshua Spodek, Columbia College Class of í93.Prof. Applegate probably remembers me in his class.I think I got a good grade.I got my masterís in physics in í95 here, master of arts, master of science, and a Ph.D. in physics in 1999 and 2000.Iím getting my MBA now, expected next spring.My sister has a masterís from Teachers College and a masterís from SIPA.My father has a degree here, a BA from 1963.[Iím] A longstanding member of the community, myself and my family as well.

††††††††††† As an undergrad I had a suitemate who was a veteran of the first Gulf War.He had served his active duty there, actually fired his weapon and seen people he was with killed.In his time here at Columbia in the year that he was there, he had comeóI would say, I donít know, from taking classes here, being part of the community at Columbiaóhe had come to decide that all wars were wrong, and you know this was not indoctrination.This was him going to class, him being himself.He would go to Fordham every, I donít remember how often, maybe once a month or something like that.And after some time of researching, soul searching on his part, researching the issues, law and so forth, he applied to be a conscientious objector, and Iím not aware of all the laws and so forth, but he applied to do it.And when this happened, they never treated him with respect on the issue.I donít know the procedures that he went through, but I do know that when he came back, he was always frustrated, and he was never treated withóit never went through.They never took him at his word.And then he ended up being stonewalled for several years until he ended up being dischargedóI guess honorably discharged or something like that, but never actually getting to follow through on what he believed was right.

††††††††††† He had already done his active duty.And it was not a question of fear or anything like that.It wasnít a question like he didnít believe that he had something to follow through or some contract, but he came to oppose it.As I read it, when it came time, when there was a disagreement between the beliefs and values of the Columbia community and the beliefs and values of the military community, the military community simply didnít respect those of Columbia.That was clear from how things worked out for him.

††††††††††† Itís all well and good when everybodyís saying, Letís all work together, and weíll giveyou your money, and weíll give you whatever weíll give you.But when it came time for disagreement, my reading of the situation was that they exercised power and disrespected him.

††††††††††† Later on in graduate school I had a classmate who was ROTC undergrad and he was continuing his ROTC as a graduate student.He was very proud of his service.He liked it a lot.What I do remember is that when he sat down and actually calculated the financial benefit that he had for being in ROTC and what he would have had had he just gotten regular jobs or worked in other ways, and at least according to his calculation, he found it to be a net loss, that it did not work out for him in his favor.The amount of time that he spent would have been better served doing other things.I apologize.Iím not privy to those calculations.I canít pass them on to you.But that was the case for him.

††††††††††† His being on campus and being actively on ROTC, I donít understand.Some people here have been saying that if Columbia doesnít allow ROTC on campus that somehow people are not able to do ROTC anymoreóbecause this young man did it, and he was fully able to exercise his desire to be in ROTC.And I donít see how not allowing it on this campus prevents him from doing what he believes, what he believed his patriotic duty was.

††††††††††† Finally, when I joined the Columbia campus, this was in the late Ď80s, there was a strong feeling, I donít know strong.Certainly there were a lot of people who were asking Columbia to divest from South Africa at the time. That was something that the community felt strongly about.I think early on that was referred to maybe as inertia from before, but at the time it felt like people honestly expressing their views.I think the feeling at the time was, How can we part of this community and not, and somehow wash ourselves of supporting apartheid?

 

APPLEGATE:Josh, Iím going to have to ask you to wrap this up.

 

SPODEK:All right.To me, I donít see how we can support part of this community, this group that tortures, that kills.Itís difficult for me to see how we can allow them on campus and not actually be supporting those things.[Applause].

 

WALKER:Letís take a minute to refocus.There are about forty minutes within this session and there are many of you in line.I recommend that you stick to a one-minute-or-less comment.If you would like to make further statements, please do so by sending us an e-mail.Sir.

 

IMAN BHULLAR: Yeah, Iíll keep it really short.My name is Iman Bhullar.Iím a GS senior.Iím an Army vet.I spent two years in the military, and the last person actually said mostly what I wanted to say.One thing I wanted to address to the speaker over there was that the issue is not that you can come here and go to Fordham as well.The issue is that your ride is paid for if you come here fully, and that weíd be more diversity.More people can apply to Columbia.I for one would never have been able to come here had I not had the GI Bill and otheróso that I was too poor to be able to come to this campus.And were it not for the military, I wouldnít be here.So I have a strong feeling toward that.

††††††††††† Secondly, the people who actually want Columbia to step away from ROTC, Iím wondering what you want to accomplish by that?If you want to accomplish change in the military (this is what the last speaker said, Iím just reiterating almost),youíre being counter-productive because people can go elsewhere and that you wouldnít actually accomplish.All you would do is give yourself some moral quietude saying, Oh, thank God we arenít involved in that. You know.And actually all the same policies against gays, which Iím against. of course, and against imperialism, and all those wrong-headed wars, which Iím against as well--even being in the military you can be both, in the military and against military policy.So you would not change a thing. Whereas if you allowed people to come over here, first of all who want to come to Columbia in the first place, so the applicant would be a person who wants to be here, wants to be at Columbia, wants to go through the core curriculum, wants to learn what we learn, and at the end of it, we should have faith that a person going through Columbia would make a good officer, and would make a clear-headed officer and not be jingoistic in a wrong way and not be stupidly a meat head or anything like.There would be a good officer.And as the last person said, if you actually want to effect change in policies, like against the gays, and policies against women or policies against prisoners, youíd want people from Columbia to be there.You donít want to plug your ears, close your eyes and shout and say, ďThank God we arenít contributing to that stuff. Oh, but let it go on anyway. It will go on as it was before, but thank goodness we arenít involved.Ē

††††††††††† You know, thatís just lack of bravery, lack of faith in Columbia.I mean if you have faith in your school, you have faith in the core, faith in learning about history and learning about ethics, then you would have faith that a Columbia student who wants to be here in the first place would make a difference when he was there in the military.Thatís all I have to say.[Applause]

 

MOEZ KABA:Hi, Moez Kaba.Iím a third-year at the Law School.Itís hard to be civil because a lot of the discussion sort of attacks you at the core.So Iím going to maintain civility as much as possible.Professor Applegate, with due respect, earlier you asked a question.Donít Ask, Donít Tell clearly discriminates Ė Iím paraphrasing Ė Donít Ask, Donít Tell clearly discriminates against homosexuals.For you the question is, Is that sufficient grounds to exclude them from campus.I would suggest that the question itself is offensive and the answer simply is yes.It is sufficient grounds.

 

APPLEGATE:Okay.

 

KABA:And I have reasons for that which Iíll get into in a second.Your hand is sort ofóI donít know if you want to say something.

 

APPLEGATE:No.Please, go ahead.

 

KABA:Thereís a couple of things.I think thereís lots of arguments against ROTC on campus.There are lots of questions about what we want to accomplish.I come before the panel suggesting I want to accomplish nothing.But the message that this university sends by letting ROTC back onto campus is that we are willing to tolerateóindeed we are willing to endorseówhat the military is doing, which is discriminating against gays and lesbians.Iím happy to join the military.I, in fact, have talked to people at the Law School about how it would be kind of cool to be in JAG for a few years.Itíd be a great experience.Itíd be a great opportunity to serve the country.I unfortunately cannot do so.I also think that the panel needs to sort of separate the issues. Thereís this argument against sort of the military because itís the military, and because they go to war. And that may be a political issue.This is not a political issue.The fact of discrimination I think has to be set aside from that and considered in its own right.

††††††††††† Questions of patriotism I find even more offensive because nearly 700 patriots were dismissed from the military last year under Donít Ask, Donít Tell, nearly 800 dismissed the year before.Several gay Arab-Americans who were translating for the military to win this war were also dismissed. So donít question oneís patriotism, or Columbiaís patriotism, for saying we will not associate with that entity in that respect.

††††††††††† And finally, I mean, and just to sort of keep this short and under a minute and what not, I think the panel needs to acknowledge that the question is not so specific.It is not, Should ROTC be allowed back on to campus? And maybe thatís the question posed to you.The question really is, Are you willing to recommend to the University Senate and to tell the entire student body, graduate students and undergraduate students, that Columbia University will suspend its nondiscrimination policy?That is the question.Thatís what you need to deal with, I think.[Applause]

 

LYMAN DOYLE:Hello.My name is Lyman Doyle.Iím a second-year student at the Business School, and many of the points Iím going to say Iím certainly not going to say them as eloquently as the gentleman sitting in the front row did, but I think I have a couple of other things to add.I was in the Army for five years, graduated from West Point in 1988, and decided to leave the Army and go to business school, and thatís where I am. One thing I just want to make clear is that I am against the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy.And along the same lines, how should we go about changing this policy? And I think the very simple answer is we need more guys like Sean Wilkes in the military,guys that are tolerant, who will add a clear voice of reason to the debate thatís going on within the military.I think a lot of it is trying to understand why is the military anti-homosexual.And I think that really the short answer is, people are afraid of what they do not understand.And thereís very little understanding of homosexuality in the military.Letís try and educate them.

††††††††††† Second point.Why is the military such a conservative, some would argue a red- state institution?Over my five years in the Army I met one graduate of an Ivy League institution.I certainly would have loved to have had them as fellow lieutenants.I think they really would have done something good, good for our country.I just want to make the point that I donít think this gives Columbia any influence whatsoever, this ban on ROTC that currently happens.

††††††††††† A third issue is money.Iíd just like the panel to take a look at the tuition reimbursement differences between Sean going to Fordham and other students: how much money they get now and how much money they would get if Army ROTC or the other ROTC branches would come back to Columbia.And I think thereís a tuition reimbursement.Essentially youíre asking Sean to pay $12,000 a year out of pocket because heís got to go to Fordham.

††††††††††† Number four.Some have argued that the faculty standards will be lowered because the military professors may not have a masterís degree, may not have any qualification that the university would accept.And Iíd just like for the panel to take a look at, Iím just curious what Princeton, MIT, or Cornell doesIím just curious, you know, how they do that.I think that would be a useful thing to look at.

††††††††††† The fifth thing is, I really believe the military leadership experience is excellent. In fact, the Business School actively recruits former military students as a way of improving the student body.And, you know, thereís a variety of resources here on campus that you could use.You might ask Linda Meehan, the admissions officer in the Business School, what she thinks.Just an idea.Also, within the student body here, I know some people had a concern that was raised earlier about women and minorities in the military, and there are a couple of former officers: Gabby Bolton is a former Marine Corps captain, whoís in the Business School now, and Thaddeus Underwood and Joe Beard.There are also former Army captains.So if youíd like, you can ask them what they think.

 

WALKER:Your closing comment, please.

 

DOYLE:My closing comment is this.People have brought up politics as a reason, a tacit endorsement, and whether you agree with the wars with Afghanistan or Iraq, I think one thing we can all agree on is that the face of America in many parts of the world is the American soldier, sailor, airman and marine.Essentially they are the face of the people in this room.Letís make that a good face.Letís make the mind behind that face an intelligent, educated mind.Thatís all I have to say.[Applause]

 

SARAH CARLEY:Sarah Carley.Iím a second-year at the Law School.I wanted to make this short.Thereís tons of people here that still want to talk.Specifically regarding the Solomon Amendment which you briefly brushed over in the beginning: you said it was basically out of the question to discuss because it was deemed unconstitutional.Unfortunately the holding in the recent FAIR litigation, which Iím sure is what youíre referring to, back in November, was a very narrow holding and it had to do with military recruiting at law schools.Weíre dealing with a completely different issue here, adifferent form of military recruiting, but itís having an impact on the campus even more so than occasional visits by JAG attorneys coming to recruit lawyers.

††††††††††† As I hope you all know, the Solomon Amendment has two different prongs to it, one dealing with ROTC and one dealing with military recruiting.All the litigation out there has been over the military recruiting.Hence, thereís been a stronger move in government to push ROTC on campus because itís the next gradual step.I mean, quite simply, everyone has already described that Columbiaís non-discrimination policy and non-harassment policy applies to sexual orientation.ROTC discriminates based on sexual orientation.It does not let people who are openly gay do leadership laboratories in upper-level courses.Thatís a fact.Thereís no other class that I know of on Columbiaís campus where based on your race or your religion or any sexual orientation you arenít allowed to take a class.

††††††††††† And then on an entirely different point, I would suggest that the next time we have a meeting, it would be helpful to have a timer for people who are speaking because it seems like some people are being arbitrarily based on their viewpoint, and it would just be a lot more civil. Thanks.

 

WALKER:Thank you.

 

DENNIS SCHMELZER:Hi.,Iím Dennis Schmelzer.Iím Columbia College, Class of 2006, and Iíd like to say, first of all, Be sure that there is interest in ROTC, that if there was a naval program at this academy today, I would be in it.That being said, it would not be for the money.Right now Columbia is assisting me a little bit with it, and the money would be helpful, but it is not primarily for me an issue of finance, because I donít think that ROTC is primarily about finance.Itís about what people want to do with their lives.I would like to make myself a military officer.I would like to change the military.I do not support Donít Ask, Donít Tell, but I do believe that there is no opportunity at this point for me to change it because at this point, if you are not in an ROTC program or youíre not in Annapolis, it is very hard to become a naval officer.

††††††††††† Now, I am not at Fordham because I want to be in the Navy and not in the Army, and there is a difference between the two.And I think it would be quite appropriate for Columbia to have a Naval ROTC program here.I believe that is really the best way to change, you know, the military.And I think that it is discriminating against people like me who would like to be in the program, but who also would like to have the education that Columbia offers us.

 

KENDALL THOMAS:Mr. Chair, just a point of information.Iím curious to know whether it is in fact the case that if you are a graduate of a school like Columbia or some other school that does not have on its campus an ROTC program, whether there are not opportunities after graduating short of enrolling in another degree program, that would allow you to be eligible for service in the armed forces, the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, or the Marines.Thatís a factual question.

 

SCHMELZER:Can I address that? And youíd have to ask the Navy for more information on it.But I have been speaking with the navy about different programs they have.They do have a JAG program which Iím looking into, which would require being in another program.ButóIdonít know if you know thisóthe Army needs more people right now.The Marines need a lot more people, and they might be willing to take me.But I know as far as the Navy, itís very unlikely right now that they will be accepting new officers when they are letting old ones go.And so it is very unlikely that I would be able to change the culture of the Navy without having been in an ROTC program.Now at this point it canít help me, but Iíd like to help people like me when they go to Columbia in the future.

 

APPLEGATE:Okay.My understanding is that it is very difficult to be a military officer if you have not either graduated from a service academy or participated in an ROTC program as an undergraduate.Now there are several people in this room who have served in the military; I have not.And so if any of them would like to correct me, please do so.And I gather that was very popular.So somebody say something.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:I actually was a graduate of Officers Candidate School, which is where you go if you have a four-year degree.But I didnít do a service academy or ROTC.But if you go to Officers Candidate School, you do not receive any sort of financial assistance toward your loans.

 

THOMAS:But you can become an officer?

 

APPLEGATE:Can you give me a sense of what fraction of the officers come from Officers Candidate School, [and from] ROTC?

 

ANOTHER VOICE:Itís not terribly large.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:It depends on the branch of service and it depends on the year and it depends on what service youíre going into.So absolutely there are opportunities to go become an officer through not academies and not ROTC, but it depends on whatís going on in America. As the guy said, the Army is looking for officers right now.Theyíll take anybody who graduated from college.

 

WALKER:To honor those in line, ifyou could send us those statistics or anything that would be factual to help the committee that would be helpful.

 

APPLEGATE:Also, Weíre getting quite pressed for time.A couple of comments.Weíve got about twenty minutes to go at nine.We donít have to stop exactly at nine, but Iíd like not to run too much over.So people please keep your comments brief, and if it is absolutely essential, we will do another one of these.

 

ERIC CHEN:My name is Eric Chen.Iím a student in General Studies.My prep is that I served in the Army for four years.In fact, I think, like Iman [Bhullar], Iím in the same situation.If it wasnít for the army, I wouldnít be at Columbia today, both for financial reasons and for the experience I had that I like to think helped shape me as a person.

††††††††††† One thing thatís worrying me about discussion of sort of this rigid framework around sexual orientation.I hope weíre not setting up a reason to kick Barnard off campus here as an all-womenís college.†† In terms of gay students at Columbia,Iím sympathetic.Count me as a person whoís against Donít Ask, Donít Tell, and my reason is that I think whoever wants to serve in the military should be able to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.But I donít see ROTC being added to this university as depriving a gay student.I mean, I donít see anything being taken away from this university.I donít see ROTC as a university-wide statement about the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy.In fact, if ROTC was here, you know, the university would make a statement, you know, clarify that position on Donít Ask, Donít Tell.I think that would be a good idea.

††††††††††† You know, dissent, disagree, protest, make sure the cadets hear your protests and engage in that dialogue.I think itís very healthy as a progressive.I think thatís one of the reasons ROTC here is that I want that progressive influence, and I want it to affect the military more strongly than it is now.And right now if you just look at side by side, if ROTC returns, gay and lesbian students will still be here.Theyíll still be supported by the university.Theyíll have my support as a classmate.But unfortunately you look at the other side of the equation, ROTC is not here, military representation is not here, and that is exclusion and all the ill effects that come from that.

††††††††††† And I want to make a personal point.

 

WALKER:And a closing one, please.

 

CHEN:Yes, this is my closing point.Itís about the issue of ROTC and its wider effect in the society and specifically in the military community.As the gentleman brought up earlier, Columbia University is wealthy, it is influential, itís an elite university, it sets a social standard.And coming from, as an enlisted soldier going into the military, I know how just that wider social effect of no ROTC plays on the mind set of just the regular people who think about the military, the people who are in the military.Where I suffered disconnect.Iím a New Yorker.Before I joined the military, I had every negative stereotype about the military.I mean a recruiter came to me in high school; I tore him down because I thought it was offensive that he would talk to me.But when I joined the military and I found out what it, and then served the honorable, the valuable service they do.Yet also compared to this perception that, you know, weíre not worthy.Just look at Harvard, just look at Columbia, they donít have ROTC. Thatís a social statement, thatís a stamp on the value of military service, and it denotes a negative quality. And I feel itís very important that our university makes a statement to the people of this country, to the people of this world, and particularly the people in the military that the military is not an underclass occupation.Thank you.[Applause]

 

STEFAN HASSELBLAD:Good evening.My name is Stefan Hasselblad.I am Columbia College í07, and I am a cadet at Fordham Army ROTC.I had a lot to say.Iím going to cut most of it off.Iíd really just like to share my personal experiences as a member of the Army ROTC program at Fordham.First of all, thereís a lot to be learned at Columbia University intellectually, a lot to be learned in the classrooms here, but also I believe that Columbia University is an institution that is trying to educate a full person.And the types of experiences that I have had in ROTC over the last year are the types of experiences that do contribute towards the kind of well-rounded person I think the goal of an institution like Columbia University should be to create.

††††††††††† Also in terms of the political discussion that weíve been having this evening, which I donít think often is related to the issue of ROTC,Iíd just like to say that I was at BU last yearóIím actually a transferóand a lot of people talk about it like a militarization of a campus or a hold, this really abstract notion of a hold on a campus because there is an ROTC program there.And Iíd just like to say thereís a very vibrant, healthy ROTC program at BU, and thereís no government hold on this, and none of these issues are present.So Iíd just like to say that Iím completely in support of bringing an ROTC program here to Columbia.[Applause]

 

PATRICK PEARSALL:Good evening.My name is Patrick Pearsall.Iím Columbia í02 from the College, and Iím currently in the Law School, graduating this May.I think itís very heartening to hear the resistance to Donít Ask, Donít Tell from the current members of this community and those who have served in the military.It reminds us that the military is civilian-ruled, and that educating a tolerant populace in the military will do some to stop bashing and beatings and murders in the military, but it wonít change policy.

††††††††††† Second, just invoke the entire history of employment nondiscrimination in this country and that it has been brought to bear by institutions like Columbia and other elite institutions and then the U.S. government, demanding, demanding that discriminatory employers change or they will not get the benefits of a diverse society and all of the brains and all of the great elite that this country has to offer.

††††††††††† Third, and very briefly, imagine what it would be like to be eighteen years old in a dorm room, and youíre not necessarily out, but youíre coming to Columbia and youíre ready to start a new life, and you werenít out in high school and now youíre out at Columbia.And there are people with uniforms in your hall or in your seminar.Youíre getting ready to make a comment.You saw something in a novel that, maybe itís Lit Hum, andyou see something that kind of might be a little homoerotic and you want to bring it up in class.And itís not a safe space to do that.There will be a fracture on this campus.I think that the ROTC is a great program.I just wish that everyone could participate in it.There will be a cultural fracture on this campus, and it is a danger, it is a true danger to the development of gays and lesbians in this college, and please, please recognize that.[Applause]

 

SARAH CLARKE:Iím Sarah Clarke.Iím a sophomore in the Engineering School, and Iím also a cadet in Army ROTC.And what Iíve experienced, Iíve been doing it for the last two years, the biggest opposition Iíve gotten to being in ROTC has been people who are anti-war. And thatís fine, but I was actually expecting to hear more of it tonight.But I think itís really important to keep a division between anti-war and anti-military because Iím opposed to a lot of things that are going on in Iraq, but I still fully support the military and I know a lot of people are that way.And thatís the same thing for the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy.I donít support that, but I still support the military.

††††††††††† Whether or not thereís an ROTC program here, a lot of people have been saying, and I completely agree with this, there will be still be homosexual people at this school.The fact that there is not an ROTC program at this school, I almost didnít come to this school.And I think [it] actually kind of discriminates against people who want to be in ROTC because itís a lot harder to participate in the program when itís not on campus.†††

Someone mentioned how it was very difficult for their roommate at Cornell to be in ROTC because he had to get up early to go to PT in the morning, and you know he had a lot of commitments to it, but if the program isnít on campus, you still have to do all those things.You just have to travel to go to them.So itís even worse if you donít go to a school that has the program.

††††††††††† The other thing a lot of people have been saying is how people end up in ROTC and then canít quit.If youíre in ROTC, you can quit.If you go to Officer Candidate School you canít quit.Thatís right, isnít it?

 

ANOTHER VOICE:If you go, you can.

 

CLARKE:Oh you can?My dad told me you canít.But you can quit in ROTC even if youíre on scholarship. After your first year you can quit, and you donít necessarily always have to pay the money back. I still havenít contracted.Iíve been in ROTC for twoyears, and I can quit any time that I want to.So what everyoneís been saying about, you know, being sucked into it and tied into it isnít necessarily true.And even though at this point I can fully participate in the program and graduate as an officer, there are a lot of things in the program you canít do because youíre not on campus.Like, thereís a lot of groups that youíd be able to join if they were on campus.

††††††††††† So itís not just about the fact that you canít get the full amount of money from Fordham because you donít go to Fordham.There are programs at Fordham you canít participate in.[Applause]

 

PHILIP BERGOVOY:Hi.Iím Phil Bergovoy.Iím a í50 graduate of Columbia College.I think 1850, and I want to tell you about something no one has mentioned.There are going to be the same number of ROTC officers no matter whether theyíre at Columbia or not.Just going to be from somewhere else.Thereís a certain number that Congress contracts for.

††††††††††† Now this is what happened July, 1951.I took my commission in the Marine Corps.I was in ROTC.July, 1951. there were a great many black people in the Marine Corps who were officers.A lot: there were three. And on this particular hot summer day two were posted to Quantico. We were sitting up in Harry Lee Hall, which I hope still stands, and up at the top a bunch of Ivy League people and someone from Tufts and so forth, and here come these two black officers, just posted here with some friends, guests.They get in the pool.Guess what happens?Everyone gets out.Almost everyone.No one up there said one word.Not a Harvard person, not a Columbia person. We had our significant others. We all got up and went down to the pool.We didnít look behind us to see if anyone was following us. We went down to the pool.

††††††††††† Now the commander, the base commander at that time, called a meeting the next day of all people, all officers on campus, and boy did he rip into everybody that got out of the pool.He didnít name names, and he also thanked those who went down to the pool. They were all Ivy Leaguers except one kid from Tufts.And a lot of people aliveóa few, it was a long time agoówill back up what I say.So donít ask what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

††††††††††† If you believe in Columbia, and I do; if you believe in the education that people get and the selectivity about coming on campus, any of our people who go in any military service are going to enrich that service.When you hear Abu Ghraib, you know thereís no Columbia person involved.William Calley graduated not far from where I did in High School.He went to Miami Dade Junior College and I went to Columbia.I donít know which is better off, but I didnít wipe out any villages.Thank you very much.[Applause]

 

MARGARET YARDLEY:Hi. My name is Meg Yardley.Iím a Social Work student graduating this year.I want to comment.Iíve heard a lot of people say, Well, obviously Iím against Donít Ask, Donít Tell.I think itís wrong.But is it really that important?Is it really a priority?Is it really so important that we should ban ROTC?Iím here to say yes.Gay rights are human rights.This is a human rights issue.If Columbia believed that we should have a nondiscrimination policy, which it does, then what kind of message are we sending by giving some resources of Columbiaís, resources which could be devoted to other things, to an organization that openly and clearly discriminates against gay people?I donít think that we want to send that message.

††††††††††† I also want to comment on the diversity issue.I think if Columbia wants a more diverse student body, which I think it should, absolutely, then Columbia should recruit in more diverse areas and offer more financial aid.If Columbia were really committed to doing that, it could.I firmly believe that.And I donít think that encouraging people to think that the military is the only way they can come to Columbia is good, as some people have already said.

††††††††††† Finally, I want to point out that some people have said, Well, Columbia would have a positive influence on the military.I think itís more likely that the military would have an influence on Columbia, frankly.You know we will be giving them space and I think that they are the ones who are going to beótheyíre also a very large and powerful institution, so I think itís a little bit questionable to say that Columbiaís the one thatís going to be doing all the influencing.It seems to me that it might also happen the other way around.Thank you.[Applause]

 

STEPHEN MADSEN:Again, Iím Steven Madsen, GS í08.Let me begin by saying that of course change from within is the best way to change any organization or institution.And I think it is an excellent argument to have, to say that you must introduce the academic elite into the military.There is no reason for the academic elite to shut itself out from the military.You cut yourself off from one of the most important elements of this society, the element which protects the society.Let me also say that a point was raised about a question of losing years of your life.Well, how many years of your life do you lose with student loans?For people in their twenties itís a crisis now.You can read about it in Newsweek.People in their twenties are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to repay their loans.They spend an entire decade repaying student loans for an education which the military could pay for, and you could be done in five years.

††††††††††† Let me also thank Mr. Birch for helping reaffirm my determination to join the military, and say that I will do so whether Columbia re-introduces ROTC or not.What Iím asking is that Columbia not shun me or exile me to Fordhamís campus.Why should that happen?Why should my participation in a voluntary organization keep me, force me to leave this?Why should I be forced to leave this campus to do it?It doesnít hurt anyone.Well, it does if we go to war, but it doesnít.Itís not directly harming anybody on this campus.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:It hurts me.

 

STEPHEN MADSEN:Very sorry to hear that.But I donít see how it does.Anyway, thatís all I have to say.Thank you.

 

LAURA BRENNAN:My name is Laura Brennan.Iím a student at the School of Public Health, and I wanted to disagree with people who said that not having ROTC on this campus denies them the opportunity to participate in the military or to have Columbia students or Columbia-educated students influence the military. Because youíre free to either attend a school that has an ROTC programóColumbia only has a limited amount of any major.I mean, I could argue all I want for this major that we donít offer, and we should have it because itís denying me.But you know that when you come here.I donít see how itís Columbiaís responsibility to accommodate everybodyís issues for their career choice.Or youíre free after you graduate to join the military, or you could do the Fordham program.

††††††††††† Secondly, my second point is more of a question.It talks about ROTC providing scholarships.My definition of a scholarship is money given for school, based on academic merit, where you donít have to pay it back.Itís not a loan.You donít.So is that accurate towards ROTC?Iím assuming that if you get a scholarship, you are then required to pay back the military by enlisting or?Can you clarify that?

APPLEGATE:Accepting support at an ROTC program obligates you to serve in the military. And in the sense of your definition of a scholarship, it is not properly a scholarship. It is essentially an up-front compensation for work that you will perform in the future.

 

BRENNAN:Because I think that should be changed from a lot of this material calling it a scholarship, because I think that implies something that itís not.

††††††††††† But, okay, anyway, the third point is when I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington, my parents after my second semester told me they couldnít afford to send me to school anymore, and I was desperate to find some way to stay there, and I seriously considered joining the ROTC.Luckily I got a job as a resident adviser, and I took three part-time jobs, and my grades plummeted and I was miserable, but today I am here at Columbia because I didnít join the ROTC.Iíd probably be in Iraq if I had.And I think the issue, having this scholarship program at a university, I mean, forces the students to make this cruel choice.I mean joining the military is a very, very serious decision to make, and I think the money issue complicates it.I think if youíre going to choose this, it should be because you want to join the military, because you want this as a career.You want to spend the next three years or whatever of your life doing this,not because you need money, not because you have no other choice.

 

DONAVAN LOWTAN:†† Don Lowtan, Law School.I donít really have an opinion one way or the other whether you bring ROTC back.Itís just a few things about the facts that Iím hearing that kind of bother me.I object to the notion, with all due respect to my fellow veterans in here, that an ROTC at Columbia will make much of a difference to the military culture.[Applause]

 

APPLEGATE:Can I ask one thing in light of the time, and we only have a few minutes left, that we can hold the applause?

 

LOWTAN:Less than one percent of all officers who take a commission will make it to the grade of admiral.We know that, sir, and weíre both there.Those are the people that make the difference in the policy, and in order to get there you have to spend about twenty-plus years in the Navy.And in order to spend those twenty years and survive, you better fit in like any corporation.And if you canít fit in, youíre not going to make admiral to make a difference.I wish you well, my friend.I hope you do make a difference, but you got a tough road ahead of you.Thatís all Iíve got to say.Thank you.

 

MICHAEL SEGAL:My name is Michael Segal.I spent about ten years at Columbia as an MD/Ph.D. student with a payback provision, and as a neurology resident.And I think Iím the first person to speak tonight in favor of ROTC who was excluded from the military, in my case for reasons of health, but theyíre reasons of health that would have been against the nondiscriminatory policies of a university because those are inappropriate forms of discrimination, but itís appropriate for the military because the military is a different place and itís governed by certain federal laws.

††††††††††† One thing I wanted to say was that as I run the Advocates for ROTC website and am involved with both the group here and the group at Harvard, where I have my undergraduate degree.And in that role I was asked by the Congressional leadership for my opinions about what they should do legislatively about the ROTC issue.I recommended that the policies that I found to be completely unsupported by anybody that Iíd ever spoken to, which are the exclusion of gay lawyers and gay doctors, should be gotten rid of immediately, and that I felt that that was something that could be done by a Republican administration and a Republican Congress.They didnít do it, but I felt it was an important point to make, and I bring it up for two reasons.

††††††††††† One is that itís important to have people who are invested in the issue, whether by being concerned that we would have ROTC here, or whether by being in the military or pushing from within. Itís important for our voice to be heard, and by excluding ROTC, we really create a gulf between the military and the Ivies, which is a bad thing.

††††††††††† And the second is that the exclusion of the military for this reason, even though thereís good parts to the reason and thereís worthy goals, is heavy-handed and if weíre going to denounce things like the Solomon Amendment, which is also heavy-handed, we should recognize that excluding ROTC because of Donít Ask, Donít Tell is also heavy- handed.And we frankly shouldnít do any of these.

 

WALKER:Weíve agreed that weíre going to let everyone here speak even though itís going to go over 9 p.m..We hope that all of you can stay to hear all the voices.Sir.

 

MATTHEW SHAW:Thank you.My name is Matthew Shaw.Iím a Columbia Law student, Class of 2005.And I agree with everyone who said that ROTC provides benefits to the students who are enrolled and who participate, and I agree with everyone who said that ROTC may provide a benefit to campus.Of course we donít know that yet.I agree with the people who say that service in the military provides a common good to the community, and that Columbia students should have an opportunity to serve in ROTC on their campus.But the problem is, if you are a gay student at Columbia, you donít get that opportunity, and this affects the university because we have a policy of anti-discrimination, in which discrimination against a person because of their sexual orientation is prohibited.

††††††††††† So the question I have for you is, Will the university abandon its anti-discrimination policy?Because if the university does bring ROTC to campus while it still has its discriminatory policies, it will in effect abandon that portion of the discrimination policy.Because you canít really effectively say, on the one hand, we donít advocate, promote or allow organs or organizations associated with Columbia University to discriminate, while on the other hand doing that very same thing.Thank you.

 

JAMES SCHMID:Just a quick point of order to respond to what you just said.To give you an illustrative example, at MIT what they do is they actually footnote, when they make reference to the ROTC, that the ROTC does not abide by the policies of non-discrimination that MIT has instituted on its campus, and that MIT has taken note of that.Iím just saying that the program happens to co-exist, and that is the way they treat it.Itís not here or there.Itís just what they choose to do.

 

SHAW:Yes sir.But itís still on MITís campus and that was the point that I was makingóthat youíre basically saying two different things at the same time.Youíre being very disingenuous in doing that.

 

ANYA ALLEN:My name is Anya Allen .Iím Columbia College, Class ofí02, and Columbia Law School, Class of 2006.And I will keep my comments brief.I think that we should welcome ROTC to campus if and when they can abide by all the university rules just like all the other institutes, student organizations and other bodies of this campus do.Weíre talking a lot about 48 additional students who would be in ROTC, and whether or not weíre going to include them and make this a place that is more inclusive for them. But weíre also talking at the same time about including 48 new members into the Columbia community while bringing a program that will exclude hundreds of gay and lesbian members of the Columbia community, and I think that we need to keep clear the issue of cause and effect.

††††††††††† Everyoneís saying that if we donít allow it, Columbia will be doing this harm to these 48 students or 60 students, but 48 additional students that want to do ROTC.But I think if you will bear with me for a comparison:If there were an organization that had lots of great intellectual views to add to the university, that was giving scholarships to 60 white students and only white students, for example, and Columbia were to say that weíre not going to welcome this program into the university because it conflicts with our discrimination policy and we want to stand by that policy, would Columbia be the person that is the villain, that is hurting those 60 students, or is that an issue that they need to take up with their program, with their scholarship program, and with that institute?

††††††††††† So I have several other comments, but Iíll leave that to an e-mail.[Applause]

 

YI-SHENG NG: Hello, my name is Yi-Sheng Ng.Iím a Singapore citizen, and Iíve served in the army for two and a half years in Singapore.Iím also president of the Queer Alliance in Columbia.I have seen the army mentality at work firsthand, and for people who have signed on to make a commitment to the army, there is a trend towards indoctrination amongst them.Itís very difficult to think independently, and I do not trust the core curriculum to teach us how to think independently.There are classes in Columbia where you can learn such skills, but many people opt not to take such classes.

††††††††††† Also as a group leader, I find it disturbing that, if ROTC returns to campus, you have to fight for the already scarce and resources with the ROTC, and the fact that I am one of the groups under the office of multicultural affairs makes me feel even more strongly that itís important to apply the word inclusiveness to only groups which are inclusive themselves.The Queer Alliance is co-sponsored with black history month, with Latino heritage month, and I feel this aspect of crossover, of overlap, of inclusiveness is what makes Columbia such a great place to be.

††††††††††† Iíd also like to mention that no matter whether you think allowing ROTC should not change the mood on the campus, there will be a perceived change in mood.No matter whether you think ROTC is not connected with war, people who come now to Columbia, peopleís perspectives will hear of the fact that ROTC policy has been changed and will believe that there has been a greater right-wing force thatís taken over Columbia.Thank you.

 

ILAN MEYER:My name is Ilan Meyer.Iím an associate professor at the School of Public Health.I also served in the military in Israel, and that military does not discriminate.I just want to make this point, that this is not a necessary part of the military, that it should discriminate against lesbians and gay men.In fact, the Israel army has a policy of affirmatively promoting people and making sure that theyíre not discriminated against in the promotion process.Iím also a gay man, and Iíve been at Columbia as a student since 1987 and then as faculty.Columbia has been a wonderful place for me, and I developed my thinking and my work and my research, which is now what I do here.Part of it, a big part of it, involved thinking about issues that affect gay and lesbian populations, and it is very sad to me to think that this university that has been so great to me would open its doors to discriminatory policies.Some people here said how great the ROTC program is, and we should therefore not make too big of a deal about this little discrimination thing.But I have to point out that the better your claim is about ROTC, the greater the evil of this discrimination is, because itís saying basically we are withholding something that is really great, not just anything that is unimportant.

††††††††††† Thereís also a kind of strange moral parallel in what was positioned, that Columbia is unfair to current ROTC students because they have to go to another campus and because they may not receive the full benefits.But it will become more fair when it discriminates against people who can receive none of the benefits.That is not a very good trait.I would rather have some people get some of the benefits, than more people get none of the benefits.

††††††††††† Finally, there is a question about the role of Columbia, both within and outside in the community.And Columbia has a role as a leading institution in this country to state what is its moral view and vision.And not allowing ROTC is a form of protest against the federal legislation that allows it.I understand from the position paper that it is not up to ROTC to decide this, but it is a form of protest against this policy.That is in fact something that is written into the decision of the Court of Appeals about the Solomon Amendment.They actually stated there that it is the right of the university to withhold.

 

END SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE;BEGIN SIDE ONE, TAPE TWO

 

THEODORE GRASKE: [The first portion of these remarks was not recorded. It included the information that Mr. Graske, CC í59, was an NROTC cadet, a varsity football player, and a history major in college.]

I am not going to repeat the eloquent arguments that weíve heard tonight, on both sides.Itís a dilemma for the students and the faculty.But I would like to add some information as you go forward, some suggestions on how to decide.

††††††††††† One, it was already stated by a young lady before.The role of the military versus Iraq.Iím going to use a term called military excursions, which means you put people, money, time and energy into rescuing people, into bringing food, into warfare, shooting.There are many, many roles for the military.Since 1985, and this is documented, there have been twelve hundred excursions across the face by the U.S. military.Only a small percentage of them were bloody.Many were to save fellow citizens or other citizens.So when you go forward, separate the current administration and ask yourself the question, Is this going to change the world conditions in the next few years?And if it is, what role can Columbia play?So please separate current politics from that argument because history is predictive.

††††††††††† Second, the arguments both pro and con about the Donít Ask, Donít Tell have been stated.I will not restate them.I will add somethingóthat it seems to be a policy dilemma,because the policy of sexual orientation in almost any organization not only covers homosexual students but heterosexual students as well.You have the choice.And I think in going forward, itís a real dilemma because there may be many gay people, and they are serving now, who are wired for the military.Conversely, there are straight people who could care less about the military.So military is something that people may be motivated.So I see a real dilemma here because certainly you want to not have discrimination.On the other hand, you want to leave students with choice.If they voluntarily wish to give up eight years of their life and theyíre straight, fine.If they want to stay in the closet, that should be their choice. Not peer pressure.

††††††††††† So Iíll leave it at that with one final question for everyone.IfDonít Ask, Donít Tell was abolished tomorrow, tomorrow, just by fiat, how would that change your feeling towards ROTC?Would it make it more positive?

††††††††††† A third point is that one thing I didnít bring up in my background.Maybe it makes me a four-time loser, but I spent quite a few years as a human resources executive in corporations.They used to call us the hall monitors.Why were we the hall monitors?Because our job is to go around and make sure that people were enforcing the affirmative action, the equal employment laws, and I can guarantee you students, youíve heard a lot about the military, but those of you who have been in the corporate world will know itís a continuing battle to keep things right.So do not just focus in on the military; realize that in society there are issues that need to be solved.

††††††††††† One last comment. Credentials. In the Ď50s I guarantee you the credentials were not so popular.But today, and this was brought up before, in many of the enlisted ranks you cannot get into the job category without a college degree.I would bet, and Iíll bet anybody in this room $100, that if the ROTC was in here, that the Department of Defense would send in every Ph.D. they got, and they would not load it up with a bunch of high school graduates from someplace.So credentials would be negotiated.They would be worked on.With that I wish you luck in your deliberations.

 

JESS CLANCY:Hi.My name is Jess Clancy and Iím an undergraduate in the College, and I guess I want to talk about the issue of opportunity and specifically financial aid.

 

WALKER:Can you speak up, please?

 

CLANCY:Oh, sorry.

 

ANOTHER VOICE:Pull the mike down a little.

 

CLANCY:Pull it down?Is this good?Thanks.Well, I want to mention that, when you enroll in ROTC you are aware that your financial package is tied to military service.I think itís important to think about issues of choice where there exists an inequality of opportunity, and how we want Columbia to fit into that potentially coercive inequality that exists.And I guess my hope is that if Columbia is concerned about the current amount of financial aid that it offers, that it would increase that amount outright without any commitments.Thank you.

 

HEIDI WILLIAMS:Hi.Heidi Williams, Teachers College.And Iím also engaged to a Columbia grad so I have that background.A few things.I think you should ask what is the goal of a university and, you know, I think it would be at least ideological diversity, a space for everyone to talk, a space for everyone to debate, a marketplace of ideas.I think keep that in mind in your discussions.

††††††††††† I donít think the goal is to create a safe space because I think thatís non-existent.I think thereís never a safe space, and you all just have to deal because the real world is that itís not safe.You just have to go out there and state your opinion and do it, and you canít have everyone protecting you.So I think it should be, because of free speech, you have to go out there and allow for a diversity of opinions.

††††††††††† Also I think you learn from your peers in a university, and so I think that would be something you should consider, that, you know, you have someone next door to you whoís in the ROTC, you can have those late night debates.And I think thatís something I learned at Brown as an undergrad, and I think thatís a really important point to have.I also am worried about precedent setting.If you ban the ROTC, who else do you have to ban?Whoís next?Whose opinion donít you like?And then do they have to be kicked off?That includes religious groups that donít support anyone whoís gay, etc.

††††††††††† I also think the officer versus enlisted.You want to make an impact, you want to make a change, you have to go in as an officer.I think thatís, you know, the place you can make the greatest impact.I have relatives who are West Point, ROTC at Lehigh and at UCLA, so I have some background listening to them about that.And I also think that if the goal is to change military policy, and to make an impact, you need to do that from within.You canít just shout from the outside.You have to get into the military to have a chance to make a change.And I agree.I donít like the Donít Ask, Donít Tell, so I agree you should get into ROTC and make a change that way.

††††††††††† Also, I just think itís condescending to tell students what to do, and not allow them to have opportunities.I think you should have a university to have that free speech, have opportunities and go for it that way.And whoís the university to tell you what to do and what you canít do?And I think that should be for everything at a university.And you know I come from a really liberal university, so thatís the background.

††††††††††† And I thank you for this opportunity to debate this, and allowing Teachers College people as well here.Thank you.

 

JOSHUA McNEY:My name is Josh McNey.Iím a student in General Studies.Iím a former Marine.I spent seven years with Third Force Reconnaissance Company and left the Marine Corps as a sergeant, and Iím a gay man.Itís difficult for me to sit and listen, because I sort of hear what sounds to me to be a claim that we think Donít Ask, Donít Tell is really bad, but we still want ROTC to be here on campus.And my question is this.If the argument is that Columbia students will somehow change the military from the inside, then how can you simultaneously make the claim that is that just some set of rules that weíre subject to? Weíre just following them.It seems to me to be kind of a paradoxical relationship that you would argue that youíre going to, once youíre inside the military, change it from within.But as an ROTC student youíre impotent to make any change.

††††††††††† The question that I would ask is that for those of you that have stood up tonight and said that you donít believe in Donít Ask, Donít Tell, why is it such a heroic thing to ask that you would stand by the gay community, to stand by gay and lesbian men and women, and say that--you know what?--Columbia can exert institutional pressure to change this policy?One of the most disappointing things that I heard tonight came from the co-chair, when you said that the military doesnít want gays and lesbians, and Columbia canít change that.I canít say that I ever heard anything that was so wrong.

 

MICHAEL THADDEUS:Iím Michael Thaddeus.Iím a faculty member.Well, I guess the follies of a Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy have already been addressed in a lot of detail.Some people, I think, have even pointed out that itís now possible to be legally married to someone and yet legally unable to discuss that condition with your peers in the military.But letís recall instead why the ROTC was removed from Columbia in the late 1960s.That had to do with some other factors.I think it had to do with the fact that the U.S. at that time was embroiled in a war that was poorly justified, had no exit strategy, caused untold suffering to civilians, and caused us to be hated around the world.And all of those reasons are just as relevant today as they were then.

††††††††††† I donít criticize the individuals in the military or the Reserved Officers Training Corps.I admire their bravery and in many cases their sacrifice.But I question the behavior of a machine that takes brave and patriotic people and incorporates them into a device that is responsible for causing killing on an untold scale.Unless youíre an absolute pacifist you have to concede that the U.S. military needs to exist, the ROTC needs to exist, and therefore it has to have some place in society.But that doesnít mean that the place should be a central place.It doesnít mean that it should be incorporated into one of our greatest institutions of higher learning.And I think at Columbia many of us donít want to enter into an intimate relationship with an institution unlike one we have with any other institution outside education, where we would have students walking around on our campus, going to exercises in their military uniforms.We would have a professor of military science incorporated into our faculty holding a commission in the armed forces.

††††††††††† I think itís proper to resist that sort of arrangement.I want to resist, and I think many on the campus want to resist the growing remilitarization of our civil society and our campus society.Iím confident my views are shared by many, and I think those are the moral values of Columbia University, and we should be proud of them.

 

ADAM ROMAN:Good evening.My name is Adam Roman.Iím a first-year student at the Business School.A couple of personal points that I would like to make.I served on active duty in the Navy for six years.I did Navy ROTC at MIT up in Boston.The first thing is, regarding the faculty standards, I donít really believe thatís an issue. As an undergrad I was involved in a committee where we went through an entire process on which ROTC instructors we would select, so I think thatís definitely a viable process to go through, and I also served as a ROTC instructor myself.

††††††††††† The other thing is, like a lot of people here, I donít and never did believe in or felt that the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy was the right thing to do.But I do firmly believe in this idea of change from within.And two things on that. First of all, if this issue of ROTC coming back on campus wasnít a debate, we wouldnít be here today having this debate.If you go for years without even this being an issue, then we donít get to have this dialogue. So I think that in itself is kind of proof positive.I know as an undergrad every year there was protest and debates about the militaryís policy, and I think that was good.

Secondly, there are lots of examples of negative experiences with homosexuals in the military.I can only speak to two positive onesOn two of the three ships I served on, we had two guys that were openly gay, and it was a non-issue up and down the chain of command, senior officers, junior, enlisted folks.People didnít care that they were homosexuals just like they didnít care that I was heterosexual.All they cared about is, Could they do the job as well as the next person? And they did, and thatís all that mattered.And I think itís important to kind of be able to bring progressive, open-minded people into the military and help to foster that change from within.Thank you.

 

TAYLOR WANG:Good evening.My name is Taylor Wong.Iím a Business School student, and I went to Columbia SEAS undergrad, graduated í92.I participated in the Army ROTC program through Fordham while I was here.Afterwards I immediately went to Berkeley and got a masterís degree in material science, and then I went on active duty for four and a half years, then went into consulting for two years, and then went back into the military for another year and a half, serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.And I wanted to offer that I greatly enjoyed my experience in the military.I think it was enhanced by my education here.The fact that I went from the military to the civilian work force and back I believe is one of the purposes of having the ROTC program in this country, and I think a lot of us forget thatís one of the reasons we have itóto make sure that we have an integrated civil military work force and that the militaryís representative of the civilian population.

††††††††††† I would have liked to have seen greater participation among my classmates from the school and other top-notch academic institutions in the country.I think it would have stimulated more intellectual debate.I did find my experience both physically and intellectually demanding, and I think that participation and integration between academic communities and the military is a much better way to try to push change from withinóIím also an advocate of change from within, [rather] than excluding them.I just donít see how exclusion can foster any more productive debate than integrating the program. Thank you.

 

MARK XUE:Good evening.My name is Mark Xue.Iím Columbia College, Class of í06.The co-chair made it clear that the military will discriminate against gays.In your words, if youíre gay, the military does not want you.Well, let me borrow your words if I may for a moment.Barnard College discriminates against men.If you are a man, Barnard College does not want you.But Columbia College has made an exception to its nondiscriminatory policy because it believes that the greater good for the university and for society as a whole is served by having Barnard College than by not.

††††††††††† Now, this protest of having ROTC off campus.Make no mistake about it.Itís not going to influence Donít Ask, Donít Tell.The loss of 48 cadetsóthe military is not crying over the loss of 48 Columbia graduates.Theyíll find them from elsewhere.But the question we have to ask here is, Do we want to have 48 Columbia graduates in the officer corps of the United States military?Do we want to have these 48 graduates of Columbia College making decisions at every level from the platoon all the way up to the highest brass?Decisions that shape and change the military and shape and change the way our military operates both at home and abroad?And I believe what you must do is consider where the greatest good will come.Thank you.

 

DAVID JUDD:My name is David Judd.I am a student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.Well, first Iíd like to point out that to the best of my knowledge, though Iíve missed fifteen minutes of this, every gay person who has spoken has been against bringing ROTC back to Columbia.I think thatís a point that the committee should take into consideration.Another, and then Iíd like to get to what I originally came up here for, which is to point out that the military is not just another career choice, and it is not simply one more voice to be included in this university that is, you know, currently being discriminated against somehow.Many people have made it sound like only the people who are against the war or against the military are making this a political issue.Thatís simply not true.

††††††††††† If you think about how this will perceived in the wider world, I think itís pretty clear that this will be perceived as a signal of support for the Iraq war in the context that this is a movement happening just like two years after weíve entered Iraq, which is a war thatís killed 100,000 civilians, and in the context that weíre making the only exception toward discrimination policy specifically for the military.This is a political statement that the university will be making supporting whatís existing now.Even if itís not intended that way, if will be perceived that way, and it is a statement that itís acceptable.And I donít think we should be doing that, for reasons others have eloquently explained.Thatís why our universityís values shouldnít be those of the military torturing people in Abu Ghraib.

††††††††††† Iíd like to address the point of change within the military.While I agree that certainly nothing Columbia is going to do is going to stop that policy in terms of our pressure, neither is change from within from Columbia graduates going to have nearly as much an effect as I think people are hoping.An education from Columbia University is good, but it doesnít provide some kind of magical power to keep people progressive and to have them transform whatever they touch.The military is an organization that trains people to kill and to be violent and to follow orders.It doesnít train them to be active within it and change things.And as people, advocates, have pointed out, currently these policies are imposed from outside.This is a federal law.Thereís not something thatís so much better about Columbia students that means that when they enter the military theyíre going to change things in the case of gays and lesbians, or in the case, for example, of Abu Ghraib.I donít think that most of those people when they entered the military were already planning on torturing any more than we are.

††††††††††† And one final point.On the issue of financial aid, I think that if weíre worried about the lack of access to this university, which we should be, we should change our policies to provide more financial aid and divert issues to that rather than to the ROTC.Thank you.

 

NADIR JOSHUA:Hi.My name is Nadir Joshua.Iím a third-year law student.I just wanted to say that at first, to some extent what isnít being talked about is, it becomes an issue of resources.In that the military and the Federal government gives universities a certain amount of money annually, and the ROTC from what I understand supplements that funding, or the funding that the ROTC would get is subtracted or in some way accounted for in the money that gets given to universities.So that would mean that people that the university is supporting or getting money or not having money for a group, for an organization, for students, that an entire class of students wouldnít be allowed to participate in simply because of their identity.

††††††††††† And then the second thing is, Iím a little concerned and somewhat offended by the notion that weíre looking at this as two comparable forms of discrimination, and I think itís important for us to reframe the issue so that we look at it not as whether or not, as someone said before, the military should be allowed on campus, but instead whether or not the university has a compelling reason to violate its non-discrimination policy.And there hasnít been, I think, proposed, at least in this meeting, a legitimate justification for why we should say that weíre willing to break our anti-discrimination policy because we want people to join the ROTC or we want the ROTC to be on campus.

††††††††††† So when we talk about it in terms of choice and when we talk about it in terms of discrimination, I think it becomes disingenuous, because in reality itís a choice.Itís not that students who come to Columbia are discriminated against and arenít able to join the ROTC for absolutely no reason or arbitrarily.Itís that students who choose to come to Columbia are at some level accepting and signing on to a policy that they donít want to be affiliated with employers who discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.And I think that should be an informed decision that people who come to the university are allowed to make and a statement that we accept.And so I just want to really emphasize that in framing the issue as students being discriminated against, I guess, first of all, youíre not accounting for the number of people who get discriminated against because of the military policy.But then more importantly, we are assuming that people just have no choice in whether or not they can join the ROTC and then come to Columbia when in fact thatís not true.

††††††††††† So if weíre looking at the issue, it should be, Is there a compelling justification for the university to deny or no longer abide by its anti-discrimination policy?And even if we have sort of footnotes or other ameliorative efforts, that doesnít seem to be enough.Either we abide by the policy or we donít.And to whatever extent weíre unwilling to abide by it, then there should be a legitimate reason.And people wanting to be a part of the military doesnít strike me as a legitimate reason because there are other choices and other avenues.

 

GABRIEL ZUCKER:Good evening.Thank you for your patience.My name is Gabriel Zucker.Iím a junior at General Studies.Iím also a graduate of JROTC through a military school in Indiana, and also an aborted veteran of the U.S. Navy nuclear power program.And nobody has spoken yet about their experience with Donít Ask, Donít Tell, and Iíve never spoken publicly about it so Iíd like to just say a few words.

††††††††††† I was kicked out of the navy basically for being gay.I was admitted in í96 out of high school, recruited, scored perfectly on the ASVAB physical, psychological exams.Perfect candidate.Offered a very generous contract and GI Bill, etc.Kicked out.Homeless.Stripped of the GI Bill, stripped of the contract obviously.So thatís just kind of a personal note that I wanted to share.And Iíve listened to the arguments this evening.Iím still kind of mystified why thereís still a debate, basically because of integrity.I would imagine that the university wants to produce students and alumni who have integrity, and as such, should have integrity as an institution.And integrity to me is keeping your word.And the university has made their word clear through their policy.If you discriminate against people on the basis of many things, including sexual orientation, you have no place here.You rightly said, chairman, the Navy, or the militaryís policy is, if youíre gay, we donít want you.And Columbia should equally stand steadfast on their policy that says if you discriminate against people who are gay and lesbian, we donít want you.Thank you.

 

PAUL HACKETT:Paul Hackett. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.Many people have said a lot of things.Iíll just address two things.One, itís been said that ROTCís presence would add diversity to Columbia University.I think weíve seen enough people from both faculty and students who do represent the military on this campus.A second issue.I believe just in terms of reading the proposal as it was put forward to the community, I found a lot of the arguments made there and in this room this evening rather disingenuous.Simply stated, a lot of people claim that they are opposed to the discriminatory policies of the military, and that they would like to see them and help them in fact change from within.I hardly think that the motivation for most people who want to join ROTC is to get gays back in the military.If that was actually the case, and if there are members who are in support of ROTC to do that, I would encourage them to actually support Columbiaís opposition to ROTC on campus and in that way make their voice heard if that is truly their wish.

 

WALKER:So the people standing now will be the last people to speak for this evening.

 

AMY OFFNER:Hi.Iím Amy Offner from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The point has already been made, I think extremely well, that Columbia has an anti-discrimination policy, and thereís been no compelling reason put forward why it should violate that.So I consider that to be just a closed question.But I just wanted to say that even if the military did not discriminate, ROTC still has no place on this campus because universities should not be training grounds for the military.And I think that that is really the core issue.The decision that Columbia makes on this is going to be seen as a decision and a reflection of the universityís approval or disapproval of U.S. foreign policy and the use of U.S. military power.Thereís no separating Columbiaís decision as to whether students are going to be trained for military service on this campus from the activities of the U.S. military.And that should just be extremely clear, I think.

††††††††††† The question of whether Columbia students are going to improve the military from within strikes me as very disingenuous.Itís been put forward, I think very compellingly, that the military is a hierarchical organization and people who are entering at this level do not have the ability to change military policy, whether itís on Donít Ask, Donít Tell or whether itís about the use of U.S. military power.I am not as familiar with Columbia as I am with the institution where I attended college, which is Harvard, and itís a very similar institution, and I can say that the two biggest influences that Harvard affiliates had on the military were, one, there was a chemistry professor there who invented napalm, and two, Henry Kissinger was an esteemed professor there.And I think thatís typically the level at which influences are made on the military by universities, and I donít have any confidence that Columbiaís would be too different.

††††††††††† I guess finally Iíll just say if Columbia does want to recruit more working class students and help more students of color attend college, then I absolutely applaud that.And I think that is a very worthy goal and one thatís completely within its reach, and I think it should be done by making Columbia a leader in the effort to restore Pell grants which have traditionally been the leading way that working class students and students of color have been able to attend college, and which are being eviscerated by the Bush administration.Thanks.

 

KEVIN CARPENTER:Hi.My name is Kevin Carpenter, and Iím an employee at Columbia, and Iím happy to say that my employer pays for my tuition at Teachers College, and I do not have to act as a bullet guard in return for that.So there are many corporations who are willing to pay for education other than the military and with much less of a commitment.I have to say Iím in Human Resources.Part of my role is to ensure that we recruit and hire people that are diverse.I work with the affirmative action group, and we ensure that our policies are followed.We have two policies.We have a policy for employees; we have a policy for students that prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation.We would not be abiding by either one of those policies.I understand that 48 students will be affected by the ROTC on campus.From my count we have over 20,000 employees and over 20,000 students.Iím not a statistician, but from what I understand approximately ten percent of the population is gay.So you can do the math to figure out thatís a lot more people than 48 people that would be affected by this.And as HR professional and as a Columbia employee, I can say that I cannot reconcile the fact that we would allow discrimination on our campus.And I donít really think that itís just a homophobia issue.I think thereís a bigger picture.I think itís a civil rights issue.You canít separate these things out.

††††††††††† And as another gentleman noted (you know, Iím a gay individual as well), no gay person has come up here and been in support of that.And Iím certainly not in support of ROTC coming back to campus.But I can also say that I would not be up here and I would not speak to say that we want a racist group on campus either just because I happen to be white.So I think that, you know, again I cannot reconcile this from an employee perspective, and I canít reconcile it from a student perspective.And I do think that tonight, you know, Iím glad that I did join in.I think there are some very intelligent, articulate people that are involved in the military.So Iíd say to these folks, Donít wait for Columbia to come and join you and endorse what youíre doing.Start acting now and start talking to people and sharing your wisdom within the military. Because again, there are some very intelligent, articulate people here, and, you know, I donít think Columbia should hold them back for them to have some meaningful discussions.

 

RONALD LEWENBERG:Hi.My name is Ron Lewenberg.I studied at General Studies, and I founded the Columbia College conservative club there.Iím going to speak actually just as an American, as a former student here.And Iíd like to see a little bit of intellectual honesty in everybody to accept pain.If theyíre willing to say, We donít want to have an ROTC here because we oppose certain policies of the government in a constitutional republic, theyíre opposing the republic in voting, etc., for a protest.If they want to do that, then let us have the university not accept any Federal funding because as a university it opposes, you know, discrimination against homosexuals or certain policies on stem cells, etc., etc.Let us have some honesty here from people.Because there is none.

††††††††††† Itís very easy to say that , Oh, I oppose the ROTC becauseóyou know something?óitís going to hurt a bunch of people, and I donít really care for them anyway.Itís very easy for us to say, Iím going to be offended.Well, a lot of things offend me.A lot of things offended me when I was here.We have a bunch of Communists here and professors who are Communists offended me just as much as if they were Nazis, because both killed members of my family, but Iím not crying about it because Iím an adult.And I expect everybody here to be adults.For the most part weíre over eighteen.

††††††††††† If youíre actually discriminated against for any reason, you have redress in the university to go to teachers, to go to professors, to go to the administration.But to say point blank that any group is going to discriminate against them or theyíll feel bad, frankly infantilizes everyone at the university and everyone whoís ever been here.Thank you.

 

ALLAN SILVER:My name is Allan Silver.Iím on the faculty.Apart from my short, inglorious career as a rifleman, I have one other status to report.I am arguably the only member of the faculty who was on the faculty in the Ď60s and who lived through exactly the events that formed the baseline of this discussion.And if you feel old, imagine how I feel.NROTC was sent packing in í69, I vividly recall.No one who was here does not recall about the Ď60s because of a convulsive cultural and political upheaval going far beyond this campus, but peaking at this campus, involving the war in Vietnam.And there was conscription.And I can assure you that without for a moment minimizing the political and cultural upheaval of the time, which still resonate of course, the matter of conscription played a very central role.

††††††††††† Student protest at Columbia and elsewhere against the war receded with remarkable velocity when conscription was phased out.The circumstances today are very different.The situation cannot be cast in terms of Vietnam.It used to be said that the generals fight the last war.Thatís not true. On the whole, the generals are futuristic.Itís the intellectuals who persist in fighting the last war.The situation now and for some time is that of a volunteer military, so-called professional military, in any case not a conscriptive military, which cuts deep into the society and across it.The last time I knew, there were three members of Congress who had children in the military.The Congress that voted to authorize the war in Iraq had three members of their families who were in the military there.That speaks to the condition in which we are today.

††††††††††† The military, love it or leave it, is a permanent, major institution in the American polity.And that circumstance must be sundered from oneís attitude towards this administration and toward the current military endeavors, which in any case bear no resemblance to those of Vietnam.In these conditions it would be irresponsible on a political level, using the word politics in its higher sense, not in its, let us say, colloquial sense, for Columbia to refuse having ROTC on the campus.Thatís a tragic choice, and I hope I will not be heard as being unctuous about that matter.It is a tragic choice.It may or may not contribute to the civilianization of the military with respect to policies towards homosexuals.I donít know.An argument can be made either way.

††††††††††† What I do know is that not doing so, symbolically as well as literally, continues or rather reinforces a cultural isolation of the military from civil society. That was okay in the Ď30s and Ď40s, which produced a General Marshall.It is not okay now.It makes Columbia as part of civil society a free rider. a free rider on an institution, like it or not, which is both indispensable and permanent as far as we can tell,a free rider in which you are notónone of us anymoreóforced to serve.And I think that is a professionally and politically irresponsible and unacceptable situation.

††††††††††† I was there in í68 and í69 and itís a different world.You have to accept your responsibilities.

 

DYLAN STILLWOOD: Hi.My name is Dylan [Stillwood], and Iíll try to be pretty brief.Itís just that I heard people earlier on, speaker after speaker, getting up and talking about this civilizing and soothing influence that well-educated, elite Columbia students would have on the barbarous institution of the military.It has insulted me so much that I wanted to point out the rather obvious fact that the current commander in chief of the military went to Yale University.To my knowledge he hasnít done anything to overturn Donít Ask, Donít Tell, or to make our policies any more progressive or less imperialist.Same goes for the current Secretary of State, who used to be a provost of Stanford University and who was also national security adviser.I mean, thereís a long history of people from elite universities being involved to the highest levels of decision-making in the military and in our government.There seems to be this sort of strange amnesia going on when people got up and acted like the military was just run by right-wing rednecks, and that, you know, the soothing influence of people who had read Plato would somehow make it more progressive.

††††††††††† Itís really insulting to me, to be perfectly honest.The previous speaker mentioned napalm, not to mention Pupin Hall, where the development of the atomic bomb was begun.If anyone here is wondering why theyíve never had a class in this building, wonder what kind of research goes on it.I mean you can look into it. And the same goes for Mudd next door.I mean itís Department of Defense-related projects, are largely what goes on.

††††††††††† So I just wanted to say, the speakers who got up were reflecting an extremely elitist attitude towards the military; it just doesnít reflect reality.Actually, thereís a huge relationship of elite universities to the military, and actually Iíd say the most significant change in military culture that happened in the twentieth century was not as a result of well-educated people, but as a result of enlisted soldiers during the war in Vietnam refusing to fight, refusing to take officersí orders, openly rebelling against the war in Vietnam and often identifying with the rebels in Vietnam, and causing the so-called Vietnam syndrome that prevented countless, you know, military invasions by the U.S. Army.

††††††††††† So I would say that we need to flip it on its head and really look at the effect of the relationship of elite universities and the military, and I think itís not progressive at all.

 

ANYA ALLEN:Okay.Anya Allen.Columbia College, í02, Columbia Law School í06.Last comment.I just wanted to clarify for everyone a factual thing, in case anyone here didnít know.Barnard College does allow men to take classes there and to live there on their campus.Okay weíre not going to go much further on that, and the reason why womenís colleges exist.

††††††††††† But I do want to comment on the opportunity for changing leadership and, you know, bringing the discourse into the military.I think that Columbia University has a great opportunity right now to actually further the discourse.And I think that hopefully, when this task force and the president of this university goes back to the military leadership and were to say thatóyou know what?ówe just donít feel comfortable with this because of our discrimination policy, I think that will be a great opportunity to further discourse with the military leadership.And I do think that there are many ways that we can keep this debate going without having to sacrifice our discrimination policy.Thank you.

 

APPLEGATE:And thank you all very much foryour patience.Any further comments can be sent to the e-mail address up on there ROTC-taskforce@columbia.eduThank you very much.

 

END OF SESSION (9:50 PM)