To: University Senators, Administrators, and Trustees
From: ROTC Task Force
Jim Applegate (Sen., Ten., A&S/NS), co-chair
Aaron Lord (Nonsen., Stu., P&S)
Scott Olster (Nonsen., Stu., GS)
James Schmid (Sen., Stu., Bus.)
Kendall Thomas (Nonsen., Ten., Law)
Nathan Walker (Sen. Stu., TC), co-chair
Sean Wilkes (Nonsen., Stu., CC)
Peter Woodin (Nonsen, Alum)
Re: Final Report of the ROTC Task Force
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Abbreviations................................................................................................................ 3
II Executive Summary...................................................................................................... 4
b. Some Rationales
III Report to the University Senate................................................................................... 6
c. Some Historical Background
Our deliberations............................................................................... 7
d. Some Findings............................................................................................... 10
ROTC and some peer institutions
–Nearby ROTC programs............................................................... 11
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell...................................................................... 12
–The Solomon Amendment
e. Legislative History of TF Recommendations................................................... 14
–TF resolution of
–Representative statements by
TF members of pro and con positions............................................. 17
–Other relevant statements by
TF members................................................................................ 20
Appendix 1. Final Voting Results of Task Force................................................ 22
Appendix 2. Summary of Deliberations by Rationale.......................................... 23
Report on ROTC ............................................................... 24
Appendix 4. Proposal to Return ROTC to
Appendix 5. ROTC Web page, Senate Web site............................................. 42
Appendix 6. Three Student Government Resolutions........................................ 43
Appendix 7. University Petition with over 600 signatures.................................. 45
Appendix 8. Task Force Report to the Senate,
Appendix 9. Task Force Members’ Statements at
DADT Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Don’t Harass Don’t Pursue
DOD Department of Defense
LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
ROTC Reserve Officer Training Corps
TF ROTC Task Force
II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The ROTC Task force was split (
i. The Task Force unanimously agrees that the military’s discrimination against homosexuals, as seen in the federal law DADT, is inconsistent with the values of the community as expressed in the University’s non-discrimination policy. However, the Task Force is evenly split on whether or not DADT should prevent the immediate return of ROTC to campus.
ii. The Task Force was split on whether or not the return of ROTC would have a negative or positive impact on the campus climate.
b. Almost unanimously (9-0-1) the Task Force favored returning ROTC if there is no longer discrimination against LGBT service-members in the military.
A majority of the Task Force agrees that there are
significant benefits in returning ROTC, such as financing students’ education
No one agreed (0-6-4) with the following statement: Under
no circumstance should ROTC return to
A majority (
e. Almost unanimously (9-0-1) the Task Force recommended that the University Trustees establish a financial contingency plan to protect LGBT students who may be victims of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
f. It was unanimous (10-0-0) that if ROTC returns then Columbia University should maintain full and independent control over questions such as academic credit for ROTC courses, titles for ROTC instructors, and the use of Columbia’s classroom, office, and training space for ROTC functions.
i. A majority of the committee believed that the use of University resources such as classroom, office, and training space could be a reason why ROTC should not return.
Five members voted in favor of the return of ROTC in
the 2006/7 academic year, or as soon as is practicable. They all oppose DADT, but believe the best
way to reform it is through engagement with the military. They believe the main
benefits of an on-campus ROTC program—above all
The five members who oppose returning ROTC in 2006/7
believe that such a decision would not only violate
III. REPORT TO THE UNIVERSITY SENATE
SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The trustees announced the termination of ROTC in May 1969,
along with the launching of a new institution—a university senate, designed as
a reform for structural weaknesses in university governance that were believed
to have contributed to the cataclysm of 1968. This new institution addressed
ROTC more than once in its early years, but its definitive statement came in
A number of issues in the 1976 report reverberate today. One
prompt for the committee’s work was the threat of sanctions—such as the 1972
Hebert Amendment—against institutions that refused to cooperate with the DOD over
ROTC programs. Universities actively opposed the amendment, which never became
law. But the DOD exacted other sanctions, enrolling fewer DOD personnel in
academic programs at
The report also notes current efforts by universities to
persuade the DOD to establish regional ROTC programs that could accommodate
students from several schools. It also indicates that several
The 1976 resolution was the Senate’s last pronouncement on ROTC, until now.
Task Force Composition
Our Task Force was to have six students, five faculty, and one alumnus. The founding resolution assigned responsibility for appointing the members to the Senate Executive Committee, but the Student Affairs Committee successfully amended this procedure on the floor, providing for the Education Committee to appoint two of the faculty members and two of the students; for Faculty Affairs to appoint the other three faculty members, and for Student Affairs to appoint the other four students. Alumni Relations was asked to appoint the alumni member.
One student appointee, Derek Wilder (nonsen., GS), had to withdraw from the Task Force before the first meeting in the fall. He was replaced by Sen. James Schmid (Bus.). Two other original members, Sens. Robert Pollack (Ten., A&S/NS) and Sean Kelly (Stu., SEAS), were unable to attend most meetings last fall, and stepped down in February. They were not replaced, and the Task Force finished its work with 10 members.
Task Force Meetings
The Task Force met for the first time last October, and has met more than a dozen times. Guests at its regular meetings have included the following:
--Steven Brozak, a 1982 GS graduate with two decades of
military service, and an advocate for restoring ROTC to institutions like
--Prof. Michael Rosenthal, who served as Associate Dean of Columbia College for nearly two decades, and helped arrange off-campus ROTC opportunities for undergraduates in the early 1980s.
--Jeff Williams, a third-year
an associate general counsel at
The Task Force sought the views of the
The Task Force solicited e-mails from the
Apart fom the e-mail collection, the Task Force has received a dozen letters, mostly from pro-ROTC alumni.
Student government resolutions
The student governments of General Studies, Law, and Union Theological Seminary sent formal resolutions opposing the return of ROTC (Appendix 6).
A petition opposing the return of ROTC, written by Prof. Ilan Meyer of the School of Public Health and signed by more than 600 faculty, students, administrators, alumni, and staff of Columbia University, was presented to the Senate on April 15. The text of the petition is available here as Appendix 7; the full document, with signatures, is available in the Senate Office, 406 low.
Town hall meeting
Senate session of
A preliminary report of the conclusions of the Task Force was on the agenda of the Senate’s April 1 plenary, but it had to be postponed when another group claimed the meeting room at 3 pm—nearly two hours into the meeting—before the Task Force could report. So President Bollinger authorized a special Senate meeting devoted exclusively to ROTC two weeks later, on April 15. About 35 senators attended, along with about 15 spectators. A full transcript of the meeting, which ran over two hours, is available on the Senate Web site.
Regular Senate meetings
i. Today’s plenary meeting is the sixth in the past year with ROTC on the agenda. The others are:
Proceedings of these meetings are on the Senate Web site.
ROTC and Some Peer Institutions
Six of the eight Ivy schools
dismissed ROTC during the Vietnam War—
Harvard now has a contingent of 40 students in the Army ROTC program at nearby MIT. The Harvard faculty voted to end its connection with ROTC in 1969, and the ROTC building was burned to the ground a year later. But before long students were participating in a program at MIT, with some payments to MIT from the Harvard administration. The faculty voted to end this financial arrangement in the early 1990s in protest against discrimination against homosexuals in the military, and to bar ROTC commissioning exercises from the Harvard campus. But some alumni donors assumed the costs of participation in the MIT program, and the administration has held ROTC ceremonies on campus, with President Summers in attendance, despite the faculty ban. ROTC supporters are pursuing an active campaign to establish a small, formal ROTC presence at Harvard.
Cornell and Penn have active,
longstanding on-campus ROTC programs. The Penn NROTC program, founded in 1940.
Cornell has Army, Navy and Air Force programs, and a total of XX students involved
The Dartmouth ROTC program, restored during the 1970s, survived a concerted attempt to terminate it again in 1994 when the Trustees rejected a faculty resolution calling for its ouster on account of DADT. Now about a dozen Dartmouth students take ROTC on campus, trained by an officer from Norwich University, which is about an hour way. The only credit toward the bachelor’s degree for ROTC offerings is physical education course credit.
Princeton’s “elite” Army program
grants “full-tuition-and-fees, plus an annual book allowance of $600 and
monthly spending allowances… which adds up to $31,000 for freshmen and $32,500
for seniors” (Princeton Army ROTC website, April 14, 2005). Hypothetically, if 40
MIT provides on-campus Army,
Navy and Air Force ROTC programs for a total of 144 students (68 of their own),
including contingents from Harvard, Tufts,
AIR FORCE PROGRAM AT
The Colonel brought to our
attention Title 10
Funding v. Scholarships:
It is worth noting that ROTC funds are not fundamentally “scholarships,” but rather advanced contracts. In order to receive the funds, one must become a “contracted” cadet or midshipman, signing an agreement to complete the ROTC program and to serve for a number of years after graduation (4 on active duty, or 8 in the Reserves). Students continue to receive funding for the remainder of their involvement.
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL:
Not all citizens of the
Since the establishment of DADT in 1993, some 10,000 GLBT servicemembers have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation.
THE SOLOMON AMENDMENT
Most law schools determined that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, like the military’s earlier bans on homosexuality, violated their own nondiscrimination policies, and they accordingly barred military recruiters from their campuses.
In 1995 Congress responded with the first of the so-called Solomon Amendments, which denied DOD funds to any law school that barred military recruiters. In subsequent years Congress expanded the reach of the Solomon Amendment to deny funds from three other federal agencies to uncooperative law schools, and later to deny all of these types of funds to their parent universities.
Faced with the loss of many
millions of dollars in financial aid and other federal funding, many
On October 29, 2004, President George W. Bush signed an addition to the law—written by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA)—providing that institutions that bar ROTC programs from their campuses or prohibit their students from attending ROTC programs off campus will also face the loss of federal funding.
A month later, on
There has not yet been an attempt to enforce the added ROTC-related provisions of the Solomon Amendment.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS:
The Task Force distributed a preliminary report to the Senate for the April 1 meeting, and then, when discussion of ROTC was postponed, presented a revised preliminary report at the special April 15 Senate meeting (Appendix 8).
At that meeting the members of
the Task Force each made presentations (Appendix 9), which revealed some of the
dilemmas the group faced. On the first question, an up-or-down vote on
returning ROTC as soon as practical despite DADT, the group was evenly split,
5-5. They also acknowledged that the near-unanimous vote to support returning
The Task Force sought a compromise again at a meeting a week later, on April 22, and subsequently 6 of the 10 members approved the following resolution:
to ESTABLISH a Reserve Officer Training corps Program at
Whereas five of the ten members of the Senate Task Force on ROTC voted to support the establishment of an ROTC program at Columbia University in the 2006-07 academic year, and
Whereas five of the ten members of the ROTC Task Force voted to support the establishment of an ROTC program at Columbia only if gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members are permitted to serve openly in the military, and
Whereas all students at
Whereas the military’s current policies and practices with respect to gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons are inconsistent with the values of the Columbia community, as expressed in the University’s official non-discrimination policy;
Therefore be it resolved that in the event that gay, lesbian, and bisexual service-members are permitted to serve openly in the military, Columbia should establish an on-campus ROTC program, and
Therefore be it resolved that in the event that an on-campus ROTC program is established at Columbia, the University should maintain full and independent control over decisions regarding such matters as the award of academic credit, titles of ROTC instructors, and the program’s use of classroom, office, and training space, and
Therefore be it resolved that Columbia will continue to support those students who participate in area ROTC programs and will notify students of their eligibility for the tuition stipends offered through the ROTC programs offered at Manhattan College and Fordham University, and
Be it finally
Proponent: Task Force on ROTC
The Executive Committee did not accept the compromise
resolution at their meeting a few days later, on April 25, for two main
reasons: the resolution seemed to commit the university to a conditional policy
at an uncertain future date, and the explicit linkage between ROTC and the end
of DADT entailed political and legal risks, particularly given the recent ROTC-related
additions to the Solomon Amendment. The Executive Committee voted
University Senate Proposed:
RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH
A RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS (ROTC)
WHEREAS the Armed Forces are an essential, permanent, and unique part of American society, and
WHEREAS the ROTC programs based in our nation's colleges and universities produce a significant fraction of our military officers and future military leaders, and
WHEREAS the maintenance of our Armed Forces is the collective responsibility of all Americans, and
WHEREAS the better educated
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that
The titles at Columbia University of ROTC instructors must be appropriate for their level of education and professional accomplishment as judged by Columbia's criteria, and
Proponent: Executive Committee
REPRESENTATIVE STATEMENTS BY TASK FORCE MEMBERS OF PRO AND CON POSITIONS ON RESOLUTION TO RESTORE ROTC
Of the many statements that Task Force members have made over the last several months, we offer here two representative ones on the resolution before you today, the first for the pro position, the second for the con position.
THE CASE FOR ROTC AT
James H. Applegate
Professor of Astronomy
Co-Chair, Task Force on ROTC
forces of the
It is in this
context that a group of students and alumni have proposed the return of ROTC to
looking inward and seeing
The world in
which we live is a more complex place than it was during the cold war, and the
role of our military is correspondingly more complex and subtle. From peacekeeping missions to relief
operations to local wars,
The establishment of an ROTC program at
must insist on certain conditions if ROTC is to return.
of returning ROTC to
The purpose of the University is the education of its students, and the creation of new knowledge through scholarship and research. The values which sustain us in this endeavor are the freedom of speech and of inquiry, the right to express one's views in a forceful but respectful manner and the obligation to respect the right of others to do the same, openness and honesty in our inquiry and teaching. Collectively, this is what we call academic freedom. This is what we are about.
has developed policies which sustain us in what we do. These are important
policies, but secondary to the core values expressed in academic freedom. Our policies on admission and financial aid
are very important because they determine who the students are, but they do not
define us. Need-blind admissions is very
does not define the College. The University's nondiscrimination policy should be understood as one of these supporting policies, not as a defining one.
We should not
Bringing ROTC to Columbia would expand and make more visible on campus a program and career path that, for practical purposes, is open to some Columbia students but not others for reasons the community finds to be discrimination. The opponents of ROTC argue the armed forces are "just another discriminating employer," and should be excluded from campus for
this reason. I cannot
think of more powerful evidence of the erosion of the idea that the maintenance
of our Armed Forces is the collective responsibility of all Americans, or
demonstration of the depth and breadth of the civilian-military gap at
The ten members of the Task Force are united in their opposition to DADT, which we believe to be bad policy and fundamentally wrong. We do not disagree on issues of principle. We do disagree on strategy and tactics. The five of us who voted for the immediate return of ROTC argue that our most effective way of abolishing DADT is to engage the issue and do what
a university does best—teaching. We argue that, by far, the most powerful agent of change we can provide is Columbia-educated leaders for the military. Our opponents argue that the University should withdraw from the issue and boycott the military until DADT is abolished. They argue that this is a moral high ground. We argue that they are avoiding the issue. You cannot affect change without engaging an issue. Universities are vital when they educate and irrelevant when they boycott.
of ROTC argue that the establishment of an ROTC program at
A Columbia ROTC program is no more a
One of the key
lessons Americans collectively learned from the
military is a choice that a private university is free to make. It is not a choice that Americans collectively
are free to make. It is a choice that
THE CASE ARGUING AGAINST THE IMMEDIATE RETURN OF ROTC
Nathan C. Walker
Co-Chair, Task Force on ROTC
M.Div. student, Union Theological Seminary (’05)
Summary: Columbia University should not return ROTC to campus because (1) there is no demonstrated need; (2) adequate funding is currently available; (3) there is no demonstrated hardship; (4) the return of ROTC is a potential financial threat to the regional ROTC programs; (5) the University’s commitment to train military leaders is not contingent upon an “elite” Columbia ROTC program; (6) the military’s discriminatory practices are in direct violation of the University’s non-discrimination policy; and (7) the return of ROTC to campus will not reform the military’s discriminatory practices.
There is No Demonstrated Need: Only 4 Columbia
students participate in the New York City Army ROTC program housed at Fordham;
Adequate Funding is Currently Available:
There is No Demonstrated Hardship: There is
no compelling reason why a ROTC program should be housed at
The creation of a ROTC program at
Military leadership is not contingent upon a
6) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell violates Columbia’s non-discrimination policy: The military's discriminatory practices (i.e., Don't Ask Don't Tell Don't Harass Don't Pursue) violates Columbia University’s non-discrimination policy and New York City Human Rights Law, Title 8, §8-107, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. The proponents continue to equate the DADT with the “discriminatory practices of Barnard’s admissions and the University’s fraternities and sororities.” This demonstrates the proponents’ inability to understand the U.S. Supreme court’s definition of “invidious” v. “benign” discrimination. An institution, such as the military, that engages in invidious discrimination is not compatible with a private institution that explicitly upholds the principles of non-discrimination.
In closing, there is no evidence to suggest there is a problem with the current relationship with the regional ROTC programs and no demonstrated urgency for the immediate return of ROTC to campus.
OTHER RECENT STATEMENTS BY TASK FORCE MEMBERS
Nonsen., Stu., General Studies (’05)
As a member of the University Senate’s ROTC Task Force, I have had the privilege to witness and engage in most discussions concerning the military program’s potential return to our community. In the latest weeks of this sensitive debate, I have noticed that emotions on both sides, even among the task force, are heightening and the quality of reflection of opposing viewpoints is weakening. In the wake of this deterioration, I would like to express a few (hopefully reflective) thoughts on the debate as I currently see it.
The ROTC Task Force was asked to deliberate whether the
program’s return to our community was in the best interest of the
university. The task force met on a
series of occasions to acquire more knowledge of the ROTC program itself, the
level of interest among the
The vehement convictions of many of the task force members frequently precluded the possibility of seeking creative compromises. Instead, much of our debate focused on the same ideological disagreements. The Department of Defense’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy was deemed inconsistent with our university’s policies and ideals, but the task force was split as to how to effectively respond to the discriminatory policy.
At present, DADT stands in direct contradiction to our
university’s non-discrimination policy.
The ideals of constructive engagement, while impressively idealistic, do
not solve the contradiction entirely.
Constructive engagement proposes a hope in the future that Columbia ROTC
cadets will serve an influential role in the revocation of DADT. If we accepted constructive engagement as the
sole reason to bring ROTC back to
ROTC proponents claim that denying the program’s return is
an act of hypocrisy because of
On the other hand, proponents of the ROTC aptly point out
What is needed, however, is a compromise, not an outright contradiction of our university’s policies and, more importantly, our community’s ideals. A compelling compromise, I believe, is one in which Columbia better advertises the existence of ROTC programs in the New York area with the caveat on every publication or website that the university does not endorse the discriminatory practices of the Department of Defense, embodied most specifically in the DADT policy.
There are, at present, nine Columbia-affiliated ROTC
cadets. This number makes up less than
As the University
Senate prepares to determine their course of action, I call to President
Bollinger, the Executive Committee, and our entire community to support
compromise, deny ROTC’s return as an act of support for the greater health of
our community, and extend a continuously public hope that DADT will be reversed
in the near future.
Over Low Library, inscribed in
stone, is the founding mandate that
Within that light, we ask the
university not to make a subtraction that divests any member of the
Why is it so critical now? The
Much of the opposition to
granting ROTC a place on campus has centered around the Don't Ask Don't Tell
Don't Pursue law (DADT). Over the course of the campaign for ROTC on campus,
many accusations have been thrown at the military, and members of the military,
that it is an organization of bigots and homophobes, and that such people have
no place on campus. These astounding statements were not only examples
irresponsible stereotyping, but were hurtful to many veterans and military
family members in the
It is not the military's purpose or mission to discriminate. Neither is that the purpose of ROTC. Their purpose is to help ensure the viability of our Armed Forces by providing them with well educated leaders and citizen-soldiers. Accepting ROTC would not send a message that "we accept discrimination," but that "we strive develop leaders in all areas of society, including the military."
Both the military as a whole,
and ROTC as a part of that whole, are required to follow laws established by
congress and executive orders signed by the President. This is not a matter of
an employer discriminating on its own accord, but of a public service being
required to follow laws put in place by elected leaders. It is certainly
Granting this program a place on
campus will benefit students who wish to gain the leadership training that ROTC
provides and serve as officers—leaders—in this nation's military. Just as
Appendix 1. Final Voting Results of Task Force
Jim, Joe, Sean, James, Peter (5)
Nate, Scott, Aaron,
1. ROTC should return to
Nate, Jim, Joe, Scott, Sean,
2. ROTC should return to
Nate, Jim, Joe, Sean, James Peter (6)
3. Under no circumstances should ROTC return to
Nate, Jim, Joe, Scott, Sean, James, Peter (7)
4. If ROTC does not return to campus, CU should strengthen its relationship with the Fordham ROTC program
Joe, James, Peter (3)
Nate, Aaron Sean, Peter (3)
4a. Should there be a shuttle service for CU students to attend the Fordham ROTC program?
Nate, Joe, Scott, Sean, James, Peter (6)
4b. Should there be more funding for CU students who participate in Fordham’s ROTC program?
Nate, Joe, Sean, James, Peter (5)
Jim, Scott, Aaron,
4d. Should CU students receive academic credit on a transcript for their Fordham ROTC classes (because Fordham students already receive academic credit)?
Jim, Nate, Joe, Scott, Sean, James, Peter (7)
4c. Should CU bargain with DOD to add more spots to the Fordham program to accommodate more CU students?
Jim, Nate, Joe, Scott, Aaron, Sean, James, Peter, Kendall (9)
6. Regardless of whether or not ROTC returns, a financial contingency plan should be created to protect LGBT students who may be victims of DADT
Jim, Nate, Joe, Scott, Aaron, Sean, James, Peter, Coco, Kendall (10)
7. If ROTC returns, CU should maintain control over whether or not ROTC courses receive academic credit
Jim, Nate, Joe, Scott, Aaron, Sean, James, Peter, Coco, Kendall (10)
8. If ROTC returns, CU should maintain control over what titles are given to ROTC faculty
Jim, Nate, Joe, Scott, Aaron, Sean, James, Peter, Coco, Kendall (10)
9. If ROTC returns, CU should determine space availability for ROTC classes, offices and training space
Appendix 2. Summary of Deliberations by Rationale
· Financing: a majority believed that financing is a reason why ROTC should return.
· Service to Country: a majority believed that service to country is a reason why ROTC should return
· Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: nine out of ten members of the Task Force agreed DADT is a reason why ROTC should not return
· Physical Space: a majority believed that physical space – classroom, offices, and training space – is a reason why ROTC should not return
Military Reform: the Task Force
unanimously agreed that reform needs to take place in the military. The Task Force was evenly split on how that
should occur. The pro position
· Campus Climate: the Task Force was evenly split on whether or not the return of ROTC would have a negative or positive impact on the campus climate.
Strengthen University and Military
Relationship: the Task Force was evenly split on whether or not
· Financial contingency plan for victims of DADT: Unanimously, the Task Force agreed that the creation of fund to protect potential victims of
· Academic Credit
· Titles for Instructors
Appendix 4. Proposal to Return ROTC to
Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to
“One should view ROTC not as an example of the military in the university, but of the university in the military. ROTC allows for an acceptable level of civilian control of the military through the influence of civilian colleges and universities”
-Michael S. Neiberg, Assoc. Prof. of History, USAFA
The Reserve Officers Training Corps produces over 60% of all Armed Forces Officers. It is designed as a college elective that can be tried for up to two years with no obligation. The program provides a wide range of experiences for Cadets combining military science classes with hands-on leadership experience.
Students’ studies focus on leadership development, problem solving techniques, management, strategic planning and organization, and professional ethics and responsibilities.
According to University documents, ROTC was removed for two basic reasons:
1) Opponents of the program maintained that the presence of any military organization on campus violated the goals of an academic community.
2) Many opponents disagreed with the appointment of military officers to the academic position of Professor within the Department of Naval Science, when most if not all had not obtained a degree above a Masters and were employed not by the university but by the DOD.
CURRENT SENTIMENT TOWARDS ROTC:
In April of
2003 the Columbia College Student Council, with prompting from student groups,
presented a referendum alongside the CCSC elections to gauge student opinion on
the issue of returning ROTC to
reviewed by an impartial
REASONS TO RETURN ROTC TO
Benefits to Students:
Scholarships: ROTC Cadets can obtain full scholarships worth between $17,000 and
$29,000 providing many underprivileged students the opportunity to attend
high-cost schools like
2. Leadership Training: ROTC is one of the premier leadership training programs in the world. Classroom instruction combined with hands-on training in management, information analysis, and health and physical fitness gives students an edge over their peers in any job market.
3. Job Security and Opportunities: Active Duty Commissioned ROTC Cadets are guaranteed employment after graduation with extensive medical, dental, housing, and retirement benefits. In addition, extensive summer courses and internships are available for additional training and leadership experiences.
Service to Country: ROTC serves as the primary conduit for the
commissioning of Military Officers. Many students have a strong desire to serve
their country as commissioned officers. A ROTC program at
5. Careers and Skills: The military is not made up of just infantrymen and pilots. It takes a whole range of professionals to support and run the military – from Doctors, Lawyers, Psychologists and Scientists to Supply Officers, Logisticians, Foreign Area Officers, and Veterinarians, as well as the requisite combat officers. Many advances in science and business have come out of the military, from the very successful burn treatments developed at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, to the product tracking and shipping systems used at such companies as FedEx, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart, developed originally by military Quartermaster Corps.
Benefits to the University and Nation
Tower" separation of
2. Societal benefit. Guide and improve the military community with higher quality, better-educated, diverse leaders: Officers with a Columbia-taught perspective of tolerance and respect directly benefit the diverse members of the military.
Citizen Soldiers. Civilian educated officers bring to the military a wider
and more rounded background.
Educate the armed forces. ROTC on campus allows
5. Positive addition. A native cadet population increases diversity on campus and enriches the community. Cadets state that ROTC provides focus, discipline and pragmatic skills in their college education. Military service via ROTC embodies selfless service, duty, respect, integrity, responsibility, courage and leadership as core values.
Increase interest for
Columbia. A well-advertised ROTC program
8. Professional benefit. The 21st century military requires smarter, better-educated, ethical leaders. The military is becoming a faster-reacting force with an emphasis on professional acumen and the adaptation of technology. The situations and missions faced by the military are more varied and complex, whether they are humanitarian, defensive, or nation-building.
Fair treatment for ROTC
cadets. Cadets deserve the benefits of a
Columbia-based ROTC program. Ending separate and unequal status for ROTC
10. Practice inclusion, not exclusion. Fight ignorance and misunderstanding about the military at
11. ROTC scholarships.
ROTC provides scholarships and financial assistance to many of its participants
and can help qualified, underprivileged students attend
Changes in ROTC since the
1. Reduction of the importance of drill: In the 1960s many, including some in the military, criticized drill as outdated, irrelevant, mindless, and embarrassing to the student. As such, with prompting from various universities on the issue, drill requirements were significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated completely. In the modern ROTC program, drill is relatively infrequent and is taught simply to give students familiarity with the commands and training processes of enlisted soldiers, who they will soon be commanding as 2nd Lieutenants or Ensigns when commissioned. “To succeed in the new American military system, ROTC had to focus less on drill and more on assuring its place on the campus through congruity with the goals of higher education” (Michael Neiberg, Making Citizen Soldiers; Harvard University Press: 2000,. Pg 138)
2. Substitute Coursework: Professors of Military Science were authorized to substitute the time formerly spent on drill with academic coursework. “MIT, for example, replaced it with cadet research on aspects of engineering and physics relevant to the military.” Others had students take courses in such areas as “American military history, world military history, diplomatic history of the United States, political geography, American government, international relations, geopolitics, international trade and finance, psychology, biology, physics, chemistry” and so on and so forth (Neiberg, 140).
Professional Recognition: While the academic qualifications of ROTC officers
improved since the 1960s, many university administrators and faculty still
disagreed with the academic titles of Professor and Assistant Professor given
to ROTC officers. Some universities voted to modify the titles, while others
removed them altogether. “The services initially resisted this change but
amended their stance after the civilian leadership of the DOD accepted the
position that the titles themselves were not important” (Neiberg, 144). Many
colleges and universities still confer the official title of Professor to ROTC
officers, but others, including Ivy League sister
Academic Credit: Another major contention many universities had was with
the credit granted for ROTC courses, which many considered academically
inferior to other coursework at the colleges. This was challenged by many in
the military who feared,
1) “That faculties were repudiating the military and the military model for organization and authority”; and 2) “That losing credit would adversely effect enrollment in ROTC” (Neiberg, 146)
This was repudiated even by some in the military, who “noted that engineering schools rarely gave any academic credit to ROTC, yet several engineering colleges, like Georgia Tech, supported strong and vibrant ROTC programs.” Again to give a contemporary example, Princeton has a strong Army ROTC program at their school which grants no credit whatsoever to their students, while those Cadets who cross-enroll at Princeton ROTC from New Jersey’s public university do gain credit from their institution. (Neiberg, 147)
Cons against the ROTC Program
Arguments made against the return of ROTC to
Lack of Interest: Today’s privileged
Military courses not
Columbia-caliber. Military courses are
sub-standard. Officers are not qualified to teach at
The Program would be too costly: Bringing an ROTC program to campus
and having to pay for all the supplies and books and personnel would be too
4. Non Discrimination Policy: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Don’t Pursue (DADT) goes against university non-discriminatory policies and therefore prohibits ROTC’s presence. Answer: Most people on this campus, including many proponents of ROTC’s return, agree that an anti-homosexual policy in any shape or form is wrong. Almost all favor changing the policy. However, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not a military policy, it is a Federal Law rooted in 10 USC 654. ROTC is bound by Federal Law as is the rest of the military. To change this situation one must address not ROTC or even the DOD, but the United States Congress. To disallow the presence of so positive and advantageous a program simply because it is required to follow a federal law is just as wrong. In addition DADT does not outright prevent openly gay/lesbian students from participating in ROTC: it only prevents them from receiving ROTC scholarships and being commissioned (see note below); and it prevents cadets from being open and public about their sexual preferences in the military. Under DADT, the feeling is that service people's private lives are their own business. On the flip side the military cannot pursue members “suspected” of being homosexual and force them to say so. Many saw this law as a stepping stone to phase-in the full integration of homosexuals and lesbians into the military, but in order for this to happen Congress must change the law again, to offer protection to all, regardless of sexual preference. The military has no say in the matter except to make recommendations to Congress. Note: The answer above follows from a question as to whether there were any examples of ROTC programs being implemented in which only the stipend and commissioning aspects (a Dept. of Defense issue) were deemed as discriminatory under DADT, while any campus activities (such as classes, training, meetings) would be open to everyone, even though the program is funded by the Dept of Defense. There are indeed examples of such a program being implemented: The AF ROTC program at Manhattan College (and indeed all AFROTC programs to our knowledge) allows non contracted students who wish to do so to participate in the program for the leadership experience and training without stipend or commissioning requirements, and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law does not apply to them.
5. Financial Aid: What are the details of the money received? Would not ROTC cadets be receiving scholarship funds above and beyond the amount of financial aid they have, thereby getting more financial aid than he/she would need? The ROTC monthly stipend is given to any student who is contracted (who has signed a service agreement for a certain amount of time after college). The scholarships are merit based and not based on need, but according to Columbia’s financial aid policy these funds would be used to reduce the student loan and/or work study part of a financial aid package and once that need is eliminated the scholarship will then be used to reduce any Columbia grant received. So, for instance, if a student is using work study and loans to pay for $8000 of annual Columbia tuition, but then receives a $22,000 scholarship from ROTC, $14,000 of that would be used to reduce the Columbia grant specifically, $8000 in place of the work study and loans.
elitism. The military perspective has no
7. ROTC is racist: Just like the rest of the military, ROTC is racist, preferring protestant white males to serve in their officer caste over just about anyone else. Answer: This is not true, and one look at the numbers will tell you so. For the most relevant example, look at the Fordham University Army ROTC program: As of 2002 over 50% of their Corps of Cadets were minorities, including 23% Hispanic. As President Bollinger’s fight for affirmative action in the Supreme Court showed, the Military has been one of the staunchest proponents of affirmative action. A Supreme Court Brief filed in support of U. Michigan’s AA policy by many of the nation’s best known military officers and former top Pentagon officials stated that service academies and ROTC programs need affirmative action to maintain a highly diversified officer corps. Officials supporting the brief included Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander in the first Persian Gulf War; Adm. William Crowe, Gen. Hugh Shelton and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, all former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of the U.S. Central Command.
The military restricts
free speech. ROTC restricts the free
speech of cadets, which is unacceptable for
For a full list of resources on the arguments made regarding ROTC at Columbia please visit http://www.advocatesforrotc.org/columbia/coverage.html which contains many articles, mostly Columbia Spectator and New York Times, on the issue. www.advocatesforrotc.org also includes information on the movement at other Ivy League schools and a broad range of resources on such topics as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Solomon Amendment.
Sean L. Wilkes, Chairman Jennifer Thorpe, President
6254 Lerner Hall 6643 Lerner Hall
Appendix 5. ROTC Web page, Senate Web site (www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/)
of the task force were appointed later that spring, and the group has been
deliberating since the fall. It has sought the views of the
The ROTC Task Force plans to offer recommendations to the Senate in time for the last plenary meeting of this academic year, on May 6. Read the Task Force's interim report, updated for the April 15th Senate meeting.
The Senate devoted an entire meeting to the subject of ROTC on April 15, 2005. Other Senate discussions of ROTC or the work of the Task Force over the past year are recorded in minutes of the following meetings:
Appendix 6. Three Student Government Resolutions
General Studies Student Council, Adopted
RESOLUTION ON ROTC
WHEREAS the ROTC program would provide a new, alternative voice on campus, and
WHEREAS Columbia University’s policies clearly state that any form of discrimination – be it based on religion, race, gender, and specifically sexual orientation – will not be tolerated in any form;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Studies Student Council will 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.
Appendix 6b. Union
Theological Seminary, Adopted
the Executive Committee of the Student Senate of Union Theological Seminary,
strongly oppose ROTC’s return to
As a recruiting arm of the U.S. Army, ROTC participates in predatory recruitment practices that offer financial incentives to the poor and people of color to participate in military activities for which few U.S. Americans, including our policymakers, are personally willing to sacrifice their lives or take the lives of others. We reject such solutions to systemic injustices and support more equitable and life giving programs to address the severe economic and educational disparities in our country.
As members of the Morningside Heights community, we do not wish to have further military presence in our neighborhood than already exists through Columbia’s numerous departmental contracts with defense and intelligence agencies; furthermore, we urge Columbia to sever its ties with such agencies until drastic democratic reforms are made to US foreign and domestic policy.
military’s discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians are not only
deeply damaging to gays and lesbians serving in the military, but further
instill homophobic views in heterosexual soldiers. Given that these soldiers are necessarily
trained to be violent and are put in high-pressure situations in which moral
judgment is often compromised, we consider this institutionalized homophobia a
safety issue for gay and lesbian civilians in the
also note that the
invoke the spirit of justice and peace that led to
Solomon Amendment that economically punishes universities who will not accept
ROTC onto their campuses exposes an attempt by the
of us are pacifists and others of us simply reject the
Our rejection of ROTC and the US Army does not imply a rejection of the inherent worth and goodwill of the enlisted men and women themselves. It is largely because of our concern for their physical and psychological well-being that we call on Columbia to withhold its support for ROTC until guarantees are made that Army recruits will be better supported within the military institution, and until US foreign and domestic policies better reflect the enormous potential for just, visionary, and democratic policies that remain untapped in our society.
Signed on this 14th day of April, 2005,
Dominique Atchison, co-chair UTS Student Senate
Josh Thomas, co-chair UTS Student Senate
Margaret Sawyer, secretary UTS Student Senate
Laurel Severns Guntzel, Co-chair, ROTC Response Task Force, UTS Student Senate
Miguel Angel Escobar, Co-chair, ROTC Response Task Force, UTS Student Senate
WHEREAS, we appreciate the dedication of the U.S. Armed Forces,
WHEREAS, we realize that our nondiscrimination policy is premised on the understanding that there can be no fair or adequate balancing of a student’s individual desire to pursue a particular career and a student’s fundamental need to be free from discrimination,
WHEREAS, discrimination against Gay, lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons is morally wrong and antithetical to our University’s mission and integrity,
WE RESOLVE to: (1) Urge the University Senate not to allow any ROTC programs to return to the University campus; (2) Urge the University Senate to explicitly and categorically reaffirm our University’s nondiscrimination policy; (3) Ask the University Senate to express its current intention not to review the return of ROTC again until such time as the ROTC programs can provide adequate assurances that they no longer discriminate; (4) Ask the Administration of the Law School to actively intervene and express the School’s commitment to nondiscrimination and academic freedom; (5) Recommend the fullest prudent measure of transparency to ensure the satisfaction of all our campus’ constituencies with the process utilized by the University Senate and the ROTC Taskforce.
Appendix 7. University Petition with over 600 signatures
If reinstated, the ROTC will become a formal
The University cannot justify and hide the adoption of this discriminatory policy by arguing that ROTC would provide benefits to some students, as is argued by the proponents of the proposal. Ensuring that benefits do not accrue to some on the basis of programs that deny the opportunity for participation to all is the point of nondiscrimination policy. The ROTC ban on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals clearly violates the spirit and letter of nondiscrimination. An alleged nondiscrimination policy that accepts the denial of educational, financial, and career opportunities to specifically targeted groups of
We view the value of nondiscrimination as surpassing immediate gains to any select group of the
We call on the University Senate to reject the Proposal to Return ROTC to
The author is Ilan
Meyer, a professor in the
Appendix 8. Task Force Report to the Senate,
From: ROTC Task Force: Co-chairs Jim Applegate (Sen., Ten., A&S/NS) and Nathan Walker (Sen. Stu., TC), Coco Fusco (Nonsen., NT, Arts), Aaron Lord (Nonsen., Stu., P&S), Joseph McManus (Nonsen., NT, SDOS), Scott Olster (Nonsen., Stu., GS), James Schmid (Sen., Stu., Bus.), Kendall Thomas (Nonsen., Ten., Law), Sean Wilkes (Nonsen., Stu., CC), Peter Woodin (Nonsen, Alum).
Re: Results of deliberations
The ROTC Task force was split (
2. There was a supermajority (9-0-1) of votes in favor of returning ROTC if there is no longer discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual service-members in the military.
No one agreed (0-6-4) with the following statement:
under no circumstance should ROTC return to
A majority (
5. There was a supermajority (9-0-1) of votes recommending the University Trustees establish a financial contingency plan to protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual students who may be victims of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
It was unanimous (10-0-0) that if ROTC returns then
Summary of Findings
The committee is split 5/5 on whether or not ROTC
should return to
2. The Task Force unanimously agrees that the military’s discrimination against homosexuals, as seen in the federal law DADT, is inconsistent with the values of the community as expressed in the University’s non-discrimination policy.
A majority of the Task Force agrees that there are
significant benefits in returning ROTC, such as financing students’ education
4. Also, a majority of the committee believed that the use of University resources such as classroom, office, and training space could be a reason why ROTC should not return.
5. The Task Force was split on whether or not the return of ROTC would have a negative or positive impact on the campus climate.
The five proponents voted in favor of the return of
ROTC in the 2006/7 academic year.
Notwithstanding the existence of discrimination in the military, various
benefits would be realized by returning the program to campus. In addition to the benefits identified above,
The five opponents believe that returning ROTC in
2006/7 would not only violate
8. Finally, the Task Force voted 9-0-1 in favor of returning ROTC if there is no longer discrimination against LGBT service-members in the military.
Appendix 9. TF Members’ Statements at the
[TF members Peter Woodin and Juliana Fusco missed this meeting]
PROFESSOR APPLEGATE: Hello. My name is Jim Applegate. I’m professor of astronomy here and I am co-chair of the task force on ROTC. We’ve been meeting on this issue for pretty close to a year now, and I have to tell you one thing—that despite Nate’s little jokes in here, the discussion on what can be a very emotional and rather intense topic has in fact been remarkably collegial. So let’s not get the wrong impression on that.
voted in favor of the return of ROTC because I believe the Armed Forces of the
believe a number of things. One is that
I have to disagree with Nate about something, and that is resolution number 2, and this is a bit of fine point. We did not agree 9-0-1 that ROTC could return, but subject to the precondition of the abolition of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That was something on which we did not vote. We did discuss, and it was clear at least five people would have voted against it. Nine people said we are willing to, we would like to have ROTC back if the military does not discriminate. But that does not preclude the possibility of bringing ROTC back under current conditions, and that is why you got a supermajority.
also must say that we all agreed that it is absolutely essential that certain
conditions are met.
I’d like to introduce Jim Schmidt from the
SENATOR JAMES SCHMID (STU., BUS.): Thanks, Professor Applegate. I just want to second the final point in terms of clarification that was just made, and that is I think that the second vote. It’s clear that in a vacuum everyone on the committee would like to see the ROTC come back under the condition that there was no Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I don’t think it was at all clear that given that policy is not changing today that the five people who voted in favor of the second statement would necessarily vote in favor of that as an only condition, which is what Professor Applegate stated. So I just wanted to make that point clear.
I actually tried to beg off this committee a few times. It wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to spend the last year at Columbia University doing because it was, you know, very time consuming and, you know, it consumed a lot of my thoughts throughout the year. But at the end of the day I thought it was important after having been here for six years to take on an issue like this. And I basically narrowed down my feeling to three points.
The first is that for the last thirty years, approximately since 1968, the University has essentially said we’re not going to have the ROTC on campus, and that was the University’s way of stating to the military, We don’t agree with some of the things you’re doing. The fact of the matter is, within that time period nothing has changed regarding the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And for the University to continue to support the ROTC off campus basically says that they can have their cake and eat it too. They can take money from the ROTC, allow their students to go there and to train, but they don’t have to house it here. They don’t have to put up with any of the issues that would come with having cadets on campus. And that’s obviously a difficult task to engage. So why not stash them up at Fordham so that no one can see the program, still take the money? And to me that’s somewhat disingenuous.
If I was an advocate for saying I won’t allow the ROTC back on campus until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was eliminated, then I would support the issue also that the University should not take money from any cadet that’s involved in the ROTC program anywhere. One necessarily follows the other.
second point I boiled down to was that there is a substantial hypocrisy in
keeping the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ROTC off campus and allowing groups such as
Greek organizations, fraternities or sororities, or for that matter Barnard College,
to continue to be actively involved in student life here because the fact of
the matter is, all the organizations that I just mentioned discriminate in some
way or another based on certain conditions.
And back when this discussion was had in the late ‘60s, if you look at
last point that I think is important is that this University does not act in a
vacuum. Just because it’s a private
university and can make its own decision, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t take notice
of the reality of the rest of the
So, with that I’d like to introduce Joe McManus to share his thoughts.
JOSEPH MCMANUS (
But having said that, I would defend the senator’s right not only to think that, to say that and to write that, but I would be remiss in my obligations to this committee, to this body of Columbians, if I would not characterize that comment as inflammatory, uncalled for, and demeaning to everyone in the Columbia family who has put on the uniform of their country. Now the politics will be over.
The reason I voted in the affirmative to return ROTC on this campus: I feel that we are a country at risk, a country at war, and in a theological sense I am willing to grant the Department of State absolution for their egregious discriminatory policy. I firmly believe with some of my other colleagues that constructive engagement within the military is the way to change the military, that if we withdraw from this, I don’t think we’ll ever have a change.
So I thank you for your attention and I’d like to introduce Sean Wilkes.
SEAN WILKES (NONSEN., STU, CC): I approached this issue with a bit of a personal connection being that I am a cadet myself and have been heavily involved in this issue from the start. So it is somewhat personal to me, but I also appreciate the opportunity to have the discussion and to have participated on the task force so far.
primary reasons why I believe so strongly about this, that ROTC should return, can
be broken down into just a few points.
I also find it anomalous that Columbia is not actively engaged in the education and production of military leaders, because it’s inconsistent to make the criticisms that they do, for instance, that there is an overrepresentation of the poor and minorities in the military while Columbia’s not doing what it can itself to help change this, to help its own students join the same ranks of those in the poor and middle class. So it’s somewhat, again, I don’t want to use the word “hypocritical,” but it really is.
addition the status quo discourages national service. Without ROTC at
on the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I will agree that ROTC should be reinstated
as far as the institutional concerns are regarded, those being professorships,
granting of the title of professor to ROTC instructors or the granting of
credit for ROTC classes, we’ve approached this on the task force under, as Nate
mentioned, the Princeton model. And that
honestly can’t tell you whether that’s possible for
Thank you very much for your time. I’ll introduce Professor Kendall Thomas next.
current policy is in fact an absolute ban on military service by gay, lesbian
and bisexual Americans. If ROTC were to
be reinstated at the University,
some members of the task force have suggested that we ought not be troubled by
the fact that
Now, and therefore, I must say that I’m not persuaded by the constructive engagement argument, an argument with which many of you in the room are no doubt familiar from the years when universities and others debated the question of whether or not we ought to divest stock from corporations that did business in South Africa during the years of the Apartheid regime. I do not think there’s any evidence at all that the constructive engagement policy will work. The expression of faith by my fellow members of the task force and others that it will work is just that, and there’s no basis, it seems to me at all, given the hierarchical command structure of the U.S. military, to believe that Columbia’s noble mission of sending our enlightened students to serve as officers in the military is in any way going to change the structure of the military with respect to this policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—which I might note, by the way, disproportionately affects women.
couple of other points very, very, very quickly. Professor Applegate in his statement,
distributed to you at the entrance to the room, argues that the university’s
non-discrimination policy should be understood as one of its supporting
policies, not as a defining policy of the University. I could not disagree more. It seems to me that one of the core values
that make the institution and practice of academic freedom possible is
precisely the notion that each and every member of the University is entitled
to equal concern and respect, and that in the absence of an ethic of equality
that extends to all members of the University community, the possibility of
academic freedom for all will be undermined.
I will say in closing, finally, that I also find it very, very hard to swallow the claim that my colleague Professor Applegate makes that Columbia in fact does discriminate, that we discriminate for example through our policies of affirmative action. I would simply point out to him a distinction that I very often make in my constitutional law class between invidious and non-invidious discrimination. There’s a very real difference between a helping hand and a slap in the face. As far as I’m concerned, the reinstatement of ROTC on the Columbia campus is a slap in the face which will make Columbia complicit not simply in the everyday and ordinary incivilities that characterize life in the military, but in a pattern, a well-documented pattern, of harassment, violence and indeed death for persons whose sexuality has been revealed when they have served in the U.S. military. And I think the members of the University Senate ought to think hard and long about taking action that would make this university an accessory to that culture of discrimination, of violence, and indeed death. Thank you.
I’d like to
introduce Aaron Lord, who, as you may be able to tell from his garb, comes to
us from the
AARON LORD (NONSEN., STU., P&S): Thank you.
Professor Thomas’s eloquence is something hard to follow, but I will
make an attempt. My name is Aaron Lord
and I’m a second year medical student.
So this task force—I voted, just to let you know, against ROTC coming
back. This task force was created to
evaluate a student proposal to bring ROTC back,
so the debate has always been framed from the beginning as such. But there really is another way to frame the
debate so that one views it from a different angle, and that is, Does the
university believe that it should violate its own non-discrimination policy for
the benefit of a few students and the
is there any situation in which the non-discrimination policy should be
disregarded? I realize that members
voted t bring ROTC back despite their disagreement with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,
favoring an idea that ROTC program at
There’s been a lot of talk on the task force about, and this is to reiterate Professor Thomas’s point, that the university already violates its own non-discrimination policy with respect to Barnard and in race and in admissions. But let us not confuse benign discrimination of affirmative action with the hateful discrimination of homophobia that the university would be endorsing, I believe, by allowing the military and their policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell back on campus.
arguments have been advanced for a policy of constructive engagement with the
military and often references to China and the burgeoning democracy have been
made, and with respect to our education of scientists that have since gone back
there to promote such movements. Now
while I agree that active trade and education of Chinese scientists has been a
major reason for the human rights situation changing there, by no means did the
To bring ROTC on to campus would be effectively facilitating the denial of these rights, and to me that is unconscionable. A lot of evil has been done in this world in the name of advancing good. At some point we have to be responsible for the actions that are ours and that are made by the institutional bodies that are closest to us, and analyze what those actions are at face value, not what the hopeful and uncertain consequences of those actions might be.
So lastly I just want to remark that, and I say this in all honesty, that it was definitely the low point of my career at Columbia—and believe me as a medical student you have a few low moments—when I was sitting at the task force open town hall, and I watched a lot of the lesbian and gay students line up, literally waiting in line, and to do what? To stand up and go through the humiliating process of having to beg, literally beg, for your rights to be treated just like everybody else. It was sad, and I never expected it to happen at this institution.
I would like to introduce Scott Olster, at the
SCOTT OLSTER (NONSEN., STU., GS):
Hello. Like Aaron just said, I’m
Scott Ulster. I’m from the
However, I found as I was going through my experience on the task force that I couldn’t support its return to Columbia simply based on the fact that the Columbia community has a non-discrimination policy that they do believe is worthwhile in respecting, and I really feel that we need to honor the ideals of this community by holding fast to that non-discrimination policy.
a lot of that was already said by the other speakers, but what I want to
respond to right now is just a few points that I heard from some of the other
speakers. There was the idea that it’s
inherently hypocritical to allow students or to have
another point that I wanted to express is the simple fact of diversity. There’s another argument that bringing the
ROTC program on to our campus will promote diverse ideas, diverse groups,
different types of people to come to
On the flip side, what I do see is—it just came to the fore to me when I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who I graduated high school with who went to Syracuse University and enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program there, and she’s enjoyed her experience, but when we were having a very honest conversation, she told me that she’d fear going to a rally or expressing public support for gay, lesbian, bisexual rights because that would be inherently interpreted as an act of, you know, homosexual persuasion, homosexual support. And while that is not, as far as I know, as far I understand the specific policies, an act of homosexual behavior in any way, the idea is that she feared to do those actions. No matter how she felt, it was the fear that kept her from expressing her ideas or from pursuing the possibility of coming up with those ideas. And to me what that shows is that the ROTC program encourages a climate that is not tolerant, not even tolerant, not even equal. So I fear that bringing back the ROTC program will create a climate on this campus that as a student I know I would not feel comfortable with. I would not feel comfortable endorsing such a community.
So that’s all I have to say. I’d like to introduce Nate Walker, who’s the co-chair of the committee. Thank you.
SEN. WALKER: Before we take
questions, I want to give one personal statement. For me the most fascinating thing about these
deliberations is something that has emerged in my own thinking which I never
would have expected. For the last couple
of months I have been continually imagining myself actually enrolling in the
military. Who would have thought? Not as a cadet, but as a chaplain. Some of you know I’m a candidate for
Unitarian Universalist ministry and that I come from
fact is, I came to
I came to
With that said, I hope that you will join the task force in saying that yes, ROTC should return if the military no longer discriminates. Until then, I trust that we will all continue to uphold the principles of human decency.
 DODD 1332.14, supra note 4, para. E3.A18.104.22.168.2; DODI 1332.40, supra note 4, para. E22.214.171.124. To learn more about this policy visit the following links:
 The first number indicates agreement, the second disagreement, and the third abstention.
 The first number indicates agreement, the second disagreement, and the third abstention.