Task Force Hearing of February 15, 2011

The second public hearing of the Task Force on Military Engagement was held on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM in 309 Havemeyer Hall. A transcript follows.

We have transcribed names on a "best efforts" basis and apologize for any inaccuracies. Please notify the Task Force at rotc-taskforce@columbia.edu for any corrections on names.

Audio recordings of the second Task Force hearing may be found at:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=V0YK6NWP

Update - February 20, 2011

With regard to the recent controversy surrounding audience reactions at the Task Force's second hearing, an audio recording of the speaker/audience interaction can be found here.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE UNIVERSITY SENATE

TRANSCRIPT OF A HEARING OF THE TASK FORCE ON MILITARY ENGAGEMENT

RON MAZOR, CO-CHAIR, TASK FORCE ON MILITARY ENGAGEMENT: Thank you for all coming out tonight. The task force is very pleased to see students coming out to talk about these issues.  As a student here, I will say that I was always gratified by our ability to, as a community, talk about difficult issues, hard issues in respectful manners, and able to be talking about issues in a civil and open way. I trust we’ll be true to our traditions. I’d now like to introduce Dean Michele Moody-Adams of the College to give you opening remarks. [Applause]
 
MICHELE MOODY-ADAMS: First of all, I’d like to thank the Task Force for inviting me to be part of this discussion, and I’d like to thank all of you for taking time out of a busy schedule to come and be part of this very important debate. I’m here to address you of course as Dean of Columbia College and as Vice President for Undergraduate Education, but on a topic that’s this weighty, morally weighty, of great importance, it’s impossible for me not to also wear the hat of the moral and political philosopher that I am. I have thought a fair amount about just-war theory, including when I taught at a large state university in the 1990s educating students who had been sent by West Point to do a Ph.D. with me on just-war theory at Indiana University. So I can’t not wear that hat. And finally I wear a third hat in this debate in a way that is important for you to know, and that’s that when I was at Cornell University I was the administrator who oversaw the operation of the ROTC tri-service units, as they’re called. This meant Army, Navy and ROTC. And the experience of doing that I cannot think help but has shaped the view I take of ROTC.
            I want to make two very clear observations before I talk about the three basic questions that I think should shape a debate. They’re not the only ones, but they are three important ones. I want to say first that if you are a pacifist, whatever the grounds upon you which you hold your pacifism, whether it’s religious reasons or secular reasons, whether you think war is intrinsically wrong so can never be right, or whether you think that as a matter of consequence the disadvantages and the evils of war always outweigh any advantages that might flow from mounting a war, I may not have much to say to you. I acknowledge that I will differ. I had a great colleague at another institution still, the University of Rochester in upstate New York, who was one of the most consistent and thoughtful pacifists I’d ever met. He understood the causes of war and peace better than anybody I’ve ever talked to, and there were some questions on which he and I would just have to agree to disagree. So if you’re a pacifist of that sort, it’s not that I don’t respect your opinion, it’s that I happen to believe there can be some just wars. Whether there have been any, we’ll not undertake to answer tonight.
            And the second introductory point is that everybody in this room needs to know that even though Columbia does not and has not since 1970 had formal participation in ROTC programs, Columbia College, and it says so on its website, does in fact welcome students who have ROTC scholarships. We don’t offer ROTC courses on campus. This means that students who are in the Army ROTC scholarship program enroll in ROTC courses at John Jay College and at Fordham. Students who have Air Force ROTC scholarships take their ROTC courses at Manhattan College. And I do want to say a couple of very quick things about this. We don’t offer courses, but we do two things that we hope at least show our understanding and appreciation of the value of the work that ROTC students are doing in these programs. So if a student wishes, first of all we can list on the transcript that a student has been enrolled in ROTC courses. They have to self-identify to us, but we can treat ROTC as we do service in an internship program. We don’t give academic credit, but we do note participation if the student wishes on the transcript. And secondly, in the spring of 2010 the Committee on Instruction for the College and for General Studies decided or agreed that ROTC students could receive physical education credit and thereby satisfy our two-term phys. ed. requirement through their ROTC work. So it’s important to have that background.
            So now what are the three basic questions I think are fundamental? The first, and some of you have heard this before, but I think it bears repeating: What kind of military is most conducive to the persistence of free and open democratic institutions? This question naturally leads to a second: How can we produce a military that actually best meets the needs of those institutions? Once we decide what they need, how do we create a military that is able to meet those needs? And then finally, just what do the needs of democracy and what we know about what it takes to meet those needs actually mean to Columbia College? That’s why we’re all here tonight. So let me briefly take the first question.
            Since we’re talking about the U.S. military, it is entirely appropriate to turn to one of the most important sources for understanding that military. The authors of the U.S. Constitution offered a compelling answer to that question about what free and open democratic institutions require, and they laid down in answering that question a blueprint for a military that remains fundamentally subject to civilian control. Article 1, Section 8 gives Congress the right to raise and support an army and to provide and maintain the navy. Article 2, Section 2 declares that the president is the commander in chief of the military, and in addition, and I saw this firsthand, the oaths that are taken by enlisted personnel and commissioned officers alike require them to swear or affirm that they will support and defend the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution makes the military subject to civilian control. And I was talking earlier about how I’ve watched many outstanding and accomplished young women and men take these solemn oaths as a prelude to service, and as we know, sometimes profound sacrifice.  So that’s the first answer I would offer to the first question.
            But how do we produce a military in which the service and sacrifice of its members is indeed ultimately subject to civilian control and best protects democratic institutions that ground the rights and interests of citizens? The Constitution is very wise here. I think that we must insure that military training and discipline create what we can call citizen soldiers. We should encourage the members of the military also to see themselves as such. And I think those of you who have been watching the events unfold in Egypt will understand just what it means for a military to be able to say, Maybe I’m a citizen as well as a soldier.
            Of course as a consequence of their training, citizen soldiers may develop expertise and knowledge that do distinguish them in important ways from citizens who never serve and never will serve as soldiers. And without a draft we know that may include a lot of people. But if as a consequence of their training they can come to see themselves not merely as professional soldiers, which they may be, but also as citizens. If they do not come to do this, I think our society has failed at one of the most fundamental tasks at which any healthy democracy needs to succeed.
            Now I want to briefly say that I think those of you who have thought about this may understand that in an all-volunteer force such as we have in contemporary America, we have faced special challenges in trying to create citizen soldiers. And I’m not going to claim here that I know enough—as somebody without military expertise of any kind, I don’t know enough about how to meet those challenges. But what if an important part of the solution to how in an all-volunteer force you create citizen soldiers, what if part of the solution is creating a pool of highly skilled military leaders who are trained in non-military institutions? Military institutions can do a great job, we would assume, in producing professional soldiers, but perhaps we also need military leaders who are taught about the complexity of human experience through the reading of great works of literature, through thinking about philosophy, science, social thought and art. In other words, what if an elite liberal arts institution, perhaps like Columbia, proves to be especially likely to create leaders who understand what it takes to turn people into citizen soldiers? This is a question, not a statement. What if that were true? Would we then think that an official ROTC presence at a school like Columbia might be a valuable and reliable means of insuring the creation of citizen soldiers?
            Now a lot’s been written lately, and when I wear my dean hat, I read articles about how the military academies are themselves adopting a renewed focus on the liberal arts and sciences in their curricula, and I think that’s a really valuable and important development. But we can still ask, as I do, whether there’s a special additional role that institutions like Columbia might play.
            Now all of you know that since 1970 Columbia has officially resisted the idea that ROTC programs could have a place, an official home here, even as we welcome students who participate in ROTC programs, and some of us may want to ask, as I know many of you in this room have, whether we were reasonable to take this stance at the beginning. That’s one question. But also whether we have been reasonable in continuing to take the stance for so long.
            Now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, I would imagine that some of you might now have a different answer. I see one of the questions up there is whether recent events have changed your mind. I certainly share the view of many people who were deeply opposed to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that it was inconsistent with the democratic ideal of the citizen solider, just as much as racial segregation that the military finally began to reject at the end of World War II was inconsistent. And we’re in a different era. I hope you all agree now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, I will acknowledge, and I know there are students in the room who may want to make this point, that perhaps we have not moved as far in the area of non-discrimination as we should. There are still open questions about how the military treats transgender citizens that need to be asked and addressed. I don’t deny that. But I do think we have reached a time when we can ask different kinds of questions than we could have asked even as recently as the middle of 2010.
            So here are the kinds of questions I would like to leave us with about what the role of the military, and particularly ROTC, might be at Columbia. Would it mean something special, one question, for an ROTC student to have his or her service as a citizen soldier given a new kind of recognition on our campus? Might it increase the numbers of Columbia students who sign up for ROTC and hence increase the chances for interaction between students who choose military service and those who do not? Remember, in our all-volunteer force there have been remarkable class differences that have opened up between students in elite institutions like Columbia and students in other parts of our democracy.
Might we all come to understand the changes that would be introduced as adding to the diversity of the Columbia experience? I’d like you to consider that. Maybe we’d even come to understand more about diversity itself and about the non-uniformity of students who choose military service. I certainly discovered that in my role at Cornell and I think all of us might be surprised to think that not everybody in the military, to understand not every person in the military thinks exactly alike. I would even ask whether our faculty might come to see an important part of their role to help shape the perceptions of our democratic needs and interests on the part of men and women who go on to be leaders in the military. And I think this is extraordinarily important. I think you can disagree that one reason Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has now disappeared is that there has been lots of pressure coming from outside the military that forced military leadership to sit up and take notice and ask what a democratic polity required in the way of treating citizens with regard to, or without regard to, sexual orientation.
So in short, to conclude, I’m asking you to consider whether it might be good for the undergraduate experience of both ROTC and non-ROTC students alike if the ROTC were to make an official return to Columbia. I’m not going to answer these questions for you. I want to urge that the continued well-being our of democratic institutions depends upon your willingness to move past the answers that might have seemed obvious, in quotation marks obvious, in the 1960s and 1970s, and now in 2011 to resist views of military institutions and practices that might have seemed inescapable even as recently as 2010. So I invite you to consider whether the right questions for us may no longer be, How could we ever formally recognize ROTC on campus? but instead, How can we not welcome them back?  And again that’s a question, not a statement. And please do not shy away from this important debate. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR:  At this point we’re going to go over the ground rules for this hearing. Comments are limited to about two and a half minutes per comment. Please keep your comments to one of the broad questions that have been placed for discussion. The purpose of these hearings is to try to solicit and hear the opinions of the university community about ROTC. And to that end, our comments and our questions have been geared to elicit answers about ROTC and submissions about ROTC. We of the Task Force will not be offering comment. We will not be responding to questions. We’re here to listen. We will be having a break at 8:35 or so for about ten minutes. We have two mikes on either side of the stage.  We’ll be alternating between mikes if we have lines at both mikes. Thank you, and we look forward to a great discussion. [Applause]  I guess first mike.
 
BARRY WEINBERG: Yes, hi.  My name is Barry Weinberg. I’m a junior in Columbia College.  I’m from Indiana. And I’d like to start by thanking Dean Moody-Adams for being here tonight to discuss such an important issue. But I’d like to say that I disagree with Dean Moody-Adams in that I think she’s asking the wrong questions tonight. The questions tonight we should be asking ourselves about the return of ROTC to campus aren’t, Should we—aren’t, What should be the role of the citizen soldier? Or what role can Columbia play in that. Those are questions we should ask and discuss, but with regard to this program, the questions incumbent upon every one of us to ask as members of the Columbia community, as faculty, as administrators, as university senators, is, Are we protecting Columbia University students? Specifically, are we living up to our commitment in our university’s non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination in university academic programs, and other programs, based on gender identity and expression? Currently were the program to return to the university, it is required to discriminate against students who have gender identity and expressions that are not in conformity with what the military deems appropriate. And quite honestly, no other program or organization on campus is allowed to do this. So the questions tonight should not be about the military or our value or regarding the military or citizen soldiers, but the questions tonight should be about Columbia students and our values internally and our commitments to them. We should be committed, and we are committed already, to have a university free from discrimination and harassment for its students and faculty. It is unfair to invite a program to campus that explicitly discriminates against our students and faculty. And it’s more than unfair, it contradicts our stated policy. Were we to invite the program back, we would not only be taking a step against transgender equality, but we would be doing so because of the reasoning that, Well, now that gays are allowed in, you know, that’s a big enough minority. There are so few trans individuals at campus; why does that matter? The point of having these commitments to individual rights and dignities is so that everyone has them. They’re universal. If you take them away from one group, there’s no reason not to take them away from all groups.
            So I’d like to really pose those questions and not the questions that have been posed. I feel that’s what’s important. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment.
 
MATAN ARIEL: Hi. My name is Matan Ariel. I’m General Studies 2006, Business School 2011. During my time as a student in GS, I was also a member of the Student Council and University Senator, co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee, and was part of the deliberations on ROTC several years ago. At that time I had a chance to vote on the issue of ROTC, and my vote back then was not to bring it back to campus.  And that was in accordance with the way the General Studies Student Council had expressed opinions about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and with my own personal views. During those hearings, one of the things I said was I would actually be very happy to welcome ROTC back to the campus if and when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed. I am also a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, and I wish more of the people who served with me received an education at Columbia University. I think there is not only a benefit to the military of having more educated members of its forces educated in an Ivy League. There is also a huge benefit for our own community of having more members of the military here.
            Columbia University is in a situation where it impacts the world around it. We create business leaders, leaders of government, medical, law. We impact every aspect of life, and I believe more of the members of the military should also have a chance to get the fantastic liberal arts education here at Columbia, and for us to impact them as much as they impact us. Thank you very much. [Applause]
 
SCOTT SAVERANCE, SENATE TASK FORCE MEMBER: One second, please. We’ve been asked please to keep the microphones in the stands and don’t pick them up and take them out. Thank you.
 
MAZOR:  Thank you. Next comment.
 
NOAH BARON:  Hi. My name is Noah Baron. I am a senior in Columbia College, and I am also the president of Kesher: Reform Jews on Campus. I speak on behalf of myself, however, and not my group. And I have another set of questions that I would like us to consider tonight. First, what does it say to transgender members of our community when for so many years we kept discriminatory institutions off campus because they violated our non-discrimination policy, but now suddenly that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed – it’s still in effect by the way – but now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, oh, suddenly, suddenly, the non-discrimination policy is not an issue? And I would argue that this, that the fact that so many people seem so willing to simply throw transgender people under the bus yet again, in a repetition of what has been common in national politics, is hurtful in itself to the members of the transgender community on campus.
            I’d also like to ask if we simply think that transgender individuals are simply not worth protecting, or has our non-discrimination policy simply become too much trouble to bother to enforce? Does an institution just have to be equal enough to be integrated into our campus, and what qualifies as equal enough? Is it equal enough if same-sex sexual contact is prohibited of its members? Is it equal enough if there’s a promise of equality to come, is it equal enough if only a few people are prohibited from participating equally in that institution? Those are the questions that I ask you to consider tonight. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment.
 
TOM MORGAN: Thank you. My name is Tom Morgan. I was recruited here to Columbia University about three months ago to serve as your executive director of radiation safety services in the Environmental Health and Safety Department. I’m also a citizen soldier. I’ve served in the United States Navy Reserve for the last 23 years. I can think of no better institution for a military person to come to than Columbia. How many of us have listened to the television and radio, listened to the talking heads that are called upon to give informed opinion and debate about everything in the life of the United States? Half of these people are from Columbia: faculty or students or graduates of Columbia. Particularly if you listen to certain radio stations.
            I’m proud to be here. I stepped into this position because of the incredible academic reputation of Columbia University. Ladies and gentlemen, no matter what you decide, whether you decide ROTC has come, will come back or not, I applaud the debate. I serve so that you can have this debate in public. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Quiet, please, in the audience. Next comment, please.
 
SEAN UDELL: Hi. My name is Sean Udell and I’m a senior in Columbia College. I’d like to just start out by looking toward 2005 when the Senate voted to keep ROTC off campus. At that time, President Bollinger in a public statement noted that the fact that ROTC and the military did not conform with our non-discrimination policy was the reason why ROTC couldn’t come back to campus. Since 2005 nothing has changed. The military continues to discriminate against people, and they can discriminate against our students. They still discriminate against gays and lesbians, and though that will be overturned within the year according to our president, the military still discriminates against trans people. Trans people are a part of the Columbia community, and the debate in 2005, as it should be in 2011, was about how to make sure that we’re protecting our Columbia community.
            Are we protecting our Columbia community if we bring in an institution that openly discriminates against members of our community? I don’t think so. And so, I’d like to just make sure we’re clarified in looking at our terms because some of what’s been suggested, though President Bollinger in 2005 said that it was clear that the non-discrimination policy was being violated then, in 2011 he said, Well, the non-discrimination policy isn’t an issue anymore, which suggests that trans people simply don’t exist. They do. They exist in many different forms, and it’s not just people who have had surgery. It’s the way you think, it’s the way you feel, it’s the way you identify, and it affects a much broader scope of people than I think any of us really imagine. And so to simply use rhetoric to suggest that trans people don’t exist is quite offensive. And so I’m quite hurt that we’re trying to rephrase the questions in opening this town hall that’s supposed to bring all sorts of ideas. so that we’re not talking about discrimination anymore. Because discrimination is still an issue that we must confront as a university. And so I’d ask you to continue to think about our non-discrimination policy as we move forward tonight. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment.
 
STEPHEN SNOWDER: My name is Stephen Snowder and I’m a GS student here. I also am a veteran. I served for four years in the 82nd Airborne Division and three years in the Army National Guard. [Applause] I spent a year deployed to Iraq, and I hear a lot of important talk today about discrimination, and I agree all that’s important. It’s not what I want to respond to, though. I’d just like to take a moment to respond to some of the questions I’ve heard and the reasons for opposing ROTC, which are that the military recruits from low-income areas, and that it supports bad foreign policy abroad.
            First of all, I came to Columbia by way of the GI Bill. I would not be here today if it weren’t for the GI Bill. My family could never have afforded to send me to Columbia, and I know that’s the same story for many of the other GS students who are here. So all the opportunities that await me today would not have been possible without the military, period. Who knows where I’d be?
            So there’s no question that the military is made up disproportionately of people from lower-income situations. We have an opportunity to correct this deficiency by allowing Columbia to create a relationship with the military that will result in people from more diverse income backgrounds joining the military.
            So secondly, the military doesn’t support or oppose any particular foreign policy. It’s an instrument of foreign policy. It doesn’t have any say in how that foreign policy is used, and it simply would not function if it were some sort of democracy where it could choose to follow or not to follow the orders of civilian leaders.
            I have friends who are no longer alive because of this war. And I stood on runways in the middle of the night and saluted flag-draped coffins as they were loaded onto airplanes to be sent home. The blame for their deaths should not be laid at the feet of those who have died. They should not be laid at the feet of their friends who fought next to them. If we are looking for someone to blame, we should look to our last president and administration who started the war, and to our current president who has not done enough to end it. We should look to ourselves and our unwillingness to step back from our Facebook profiles and our Xboxes long enough to do something about it. But we should not blame the people who believed in us when we said we were putting their lives in danger for a good cause, and who stepped out in good faith to do the will of the United States.
            Columbia should lift the ban on ROTC and honor the service America’s military veterans have given to this country. A relationship between Columbia University and the U.S. military would be to the benefit of both institutions. [Applause]
 
MAZOR:  Thank you. Next comment.
 
GAVIN McGOWN:  Hi. My name is Gavin McGown. I’m a sophomore in Columbia College and the chair for outreach for Gender Revolution, which is our undergraduate transgender and gender-nonconforming rights organization. I should come out at this point and say that I identify somewhere on the trans scale. You don’t really need to know where. In virtue of being a Canadian citizen, I can’t serve in the military so this is sort of a non-option for me. But just thought I’d put that out there since people have been saying that they’re veterans.
            I’m directing this question to you, Dean Moody-Adams, as a moral and political philosopher. A lot of discussion in meta-ethics and normative ethics concerns what reasons do we have to act. So if we previously judged that the fact that the military’s policy conflicts with our stated non-discrimination policy, and that this fact provided an overriding reason for action, then nothing has changed. We are still in the same place as we were five, six years ago.
            Nothing has changed. We can talk about low-income access to Columbia. That’s good. We can talk about rape in the military. All these discussions are important, but the overriding reason for action still exists. There is still a military policy that excludes persons on a basis that we as Columbia University find illegitimate. There is still a university policy that forbids us to forbid anything to anyone on the grounds that the military forbids the privilege of service to them. Nothing has changed. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment.
 
WILLIAM PRASIFKA: Well, good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is William Prasifka.  I’m a junior in Columbia College, and I also happen to be in Dean Awn’s Islam class at the moment. And I would like just to talk to you just briefly about an organization which is highly discriminatory. It’s an organization where women to this day are treated as second-class citizens, where the LGBT community are looked upon with abhorrence by the majority of the members of that organization.  An organization which is highly hierarchical and an organization which deliberately, deliberately recruits in some of the poorest and most vulnerable places in our society.
            Now, I’m obviously talking to you today about the Catholic Church. [Laughter]  Now, I have nothing against Catholics, nothing against Catholics whatsoever. But I think that Columbia, as an institution that preaches tolerance should take a stand, and rather than subsidize the Catholic Church, by sponsoring a Catholic chaplaincy, I think Columbia University should take the moral high ground and immediately expel the Catholic chaplaincy from campus. [Applause]
            Now, now, you may say, well, where are Catholics going to go to worship? Well, they can go to Corpus Christi. They can go to Notre Dame. I don’t care, just not on my campus. Now I think, hopefully, as most of you have grasped, I’m being a bit sarcastic here. I hope that’s sort of come across. And the point which I’m trying to get across is, the debate tonight should not be in any sense whether the military is good or whether the military is bad. The debate should be about tolerance and openness. And, you know, is it right for a committee in a university or a senate or a dean to specifically say, We don’t like you, you shouldn’t be on our campus. And I just don’t think it is.  I don’t think that’s academic freedom.
            I mean, I see a poster up there which says, Give every student the right to vote on this. Well, hold on a second, even if 90 percent of students are against something, that’s no grounds for kicking it off campus. A campus, a university, is supposed to be an open expression of ideas, and I don’t think it’s right for one group of people, no matter how large or how small, to expel another. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment.
 
ARIES DELA CRUZ: Thank you. I just wanted to say that one of the great things about this campus is that whether you’re a Catholic, Jewish, [or] Mormon group, you must allow all members of the community to attend all of your meetings.  You cannot exclude anyone whether they are trans or gay.
Thank you, members of the task force. My name is Aries Dela Cruz, and I’m a graduate of GS. I am not anti-war. Before GS I served as a first responder. I’m from a small town in the Philippines, and where I’m from we all know each other. In my town we believe in treating people fairly. That’s why it’s difficult for me to understand why we’d want to invite the ROTC on campus and why we would ever want to reward discriminatory behavior that would jeopardize the sense of safety and comfort of a group of students. Since 2006 I have spent time helping to build a stronger community at Columbia. I still continue to do so as a recent alumnus. Having a discriminatory program on this campus would divide the community that I have worked so hard to build.
            It’s difficult for me as an alumnus, as a human being, to understand why anyone would want to do that. I think that we may not all be on the same page on this issue or agree, but we can all agree that it’s wrong to hurt students this way. We need to do the right thing and protect to vote [??] our students.
            Since 2008 and those debates, nothing has changed in terms of our opposition to military discrimination. The military continues to discriminate. We are protecting our students and our faculty. It is our duty as students, as friends, as university senators, to uphold our community’s values. Over and over again Columbia has rejected the ROTC’s discriminatory policies and has affirmed our values of tolerance and safety. As students we are to remind the University Senate of its ultimate purpose. They’re the guardians of policy. Protecting students from being harmed by discriminatory policies is and ought to be their top priority. All students have the right to be educated in a safe environment. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment.
 
DANIELA GARCIA:  Hi. I’m Daniela Garcia, Columbia College 2011. First of all I just want to address the fact that a dean just openly spoke in favor of bringing ROTC back, but there was no counter argument, there was no... [Applause and catcalls] I’m sorry. I’m sorry. So for me that automatically biases the University Senate, to have a dean, such a person in a position, to speak about this issue and not at least have a counter for that.
            Also I would like to address, Dean Moody-Adams, your points about asking those who know most about war. Well, I believe that there was a famous person who served as university president here, President Eisenhower, who famously warned against the military-industrial complex. [Clapping] And he also wanted greater democratic control of the military, but he warned that with a large bureaucracy there was going to be a conflation of private interests, corporate interests, and military power that can be perpetuated. And he knew a lot about the military.
            So also this fact about at Columbia we may possibly be able to influence the military in a positive way. And I just want to say this is still a complete hypothesis. There is absolutely no proof that the ROTC has been a reforming strategy in the military. There has been no proof that ROTC at other colleges, because ROTC does exist at other colleges, maybe they’re not considered elite enough for us to make that much of a difference, but there are college students who are now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have not really pushed the fact that this is not a real reason to bring ROTC back. This is a hypothesis. We have not made the connections. We have not proved that in any way if you study the core curriculum you are more able to positively influence a military officer.
            So, also the fact that right now the idea of a citizen soldier, the idea that this is of course going to be an American citizen, and what’s stressed in the military.
 
MAZOR: Yeah. Could you please? [Applause]
 
FRITZ HERRICK: Thanks. My name is Fritz Herrick and I’m a Continuing Education student at Columbia University. And I am very concerned about the influence that the United States government wants to have on the discussions, the academic discussions that are happening here at Columbia University. Specifically I’d reference the recent email that was sent to the career development services at SIPA by a graduate who was working at the State Department, warning current SIPA students not to discuss the WikiLeaks documents in public if they wished to seek future employment at the State Department. This indicates to me that the United States government wants to know what’s going on on this campus and wants to influence what is discussed on this campus and that causes shivers to go up and down my spine.
            This is a very international campus. It’s a campus where we should be free to criticize the United States government and even to criticize members of the military. Remember that the military has been known in the past for showing its incompetence in very flagrant ways, such as failing to secure the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, failing to capture Osama bin Laden after ten years. The military—we should be free to criticize members of the military, American foreign policy, without worrying about influence of government-sponsored groups on our campus that are doing things like threatening us students with future job opportunity challenges related to our discussion on campus. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
MAX RUBICOFF (SP?): Hello. My name is Max Rubicoff. I’m a sophomore at Columbia College. It is an unavoidable yet unfortunate fact that our military’s not perfect, that our world is not perfect. Every day wrongs are committed in alarming numbers, and there is little that we can about them. However, now by denying the chance for ROTC to return to Columbia we are doing more harm to our stated goal than good. This is not an issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell being repealed, but a wider issue. We demand change, but refuse to be the vehicle for that change. Now we are faced with the difficult choice, to continue our noble protests and hope that our voices stand out amongst the many, or we can alter our path. We must expand this debate and allow ourselves to influence the future directly by engaging with the future of the military and so bring about this change that we desire.
            I agree that there are wrongs in our military. But I believe that by allowing ROTC to return, it will be a call to arms for equality much louder than anything that our current silence has provided us. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment.
 
BARRY WEINBERG: Hi. I’m Barry Weinberg again, the junior in Columbia College, and I’m here again. I’d like to address several things that have been said. I guess I’ll start with Will’s comments about the church. I’m Irish. My family are from the old Sullivan clan in County Kerry so I’ll give him a run for his money on his commitment to the church and to militant opposition to things. But I also am a representative on the student governing board, and among the student governing board’s commitments and missions is its commitment to being a protector of free speech on campus. And I can tell you as a representative of many of the religious groups under the student governing board, religious groups at the university are not permitted to discriminate against any member of the Columbia community. I mean this is something that is important enough that we have established that, and I don’t want anyone to be confused. I as a flamingly gay Catholic have to be accepted if I show up to a meeting of a religious group whose doctrines may or may not allow that. I have to be accepted.
            And to kind of continue to that, the group opposed to trans-equality is asking us as a community to deny trans students a secure and safe environment. The program would thus divide our community, and it’s difficult for me to understand how anyone could allow that, much less want or support that. Our commitment to our values of a free and open discourse require us to extend certain basics like guarantees of being allowed a place at programs, at discussions, at tables to everyone in our community. Excluding members of one community discriminates against them and ends that. And it doesn’t matter what the program is, whether it’s the ROTC or whether it’s a service program to end famine in Africa. If it discriminates against Columbia students, we cannot allow it. And I think that Will’s comments only lend themselves to that. And to speak personally here, several of my friends identify as trans and are what some people may say is gender non-conforming, and a value of mine and I think a value of the community and I think also a value of the military is that just because you may be safe, you don’t throw your friends under the bus. If your friends are going to attacked or discriminated against, you don’t say well, that’s okay, I’m fine. You stand with them and you do not allow them to be discriminated against or attacked. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment please.
 
CATHERINE CHRISTENSEN: Hello. My name is Kate Christensen and I’m a first-year at Barnard College. I believe that the lack of ROTC on campus is leaving a gaping hole in the dialogue and perspective that students and faculty alike could be having on current foreign affairs. Having ROTC at Columbia would magnify and diversify the discussion and information available to our community of how our country is concerned in conflicts abroad. I come from a family, a long line of public servants, and it is our informed opinion that no one understands current foreign affairs better than our involved military. Why would we want to deny ourselves the privilege of having these people and perspectives in our classrooms, leadership, and student organizations. Simply put, it would enrich our experience of being students here at Columbia University. I think it would be absolutely irresponsible for an institution of such stature as Columbia to not contribute our students who choose to be involved in ROTC to bring a much-needed aspect of diversity to our military. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment please.
 
NICK BLOOM: My name is Nick Bloom. I’m a sophomore at the College. And I come from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania, Carlisle, and I went to public school there And every lunch, in fact every morning, there would be a bunch of tables lined up outside the Army and the National Guard and the Air Force and the Navy, and I would watch as the recruiters would systematically go to the tables of kids who clearly looked lower-income, oftentimes minority students, kids who looked as if they were rural, probably poorer, and would systematically recruit at those tables, and how those kids always ended up enlisting in the military.
            I have a ton of friends in the military.  Because of this, my school just has a ton of kids who went to the military. We live in an Army town. So when I came here, I was shocked to find that a lot of people here don’t even know anybody in the military. I mean, I know we have a lot of students at GS who are in the military, but the response I get to most people is why would we want that here, why would we want that evil institution here. And I guess I understand that we want to shelter ourselves from that institution that was preying on low-income students. On the other hand, shouldn’t we be doing something to change it, or should we just isolate ourselves and make a little Utopian community of people who don’t know what the military is? I mean, I think if it’s here, we can have a much better debate about what’s really going on in the military, what military people are really being taught. And then we can talk to people who are in the military and have a discussion about it and change people’s minds. And I think that absolutely the core curriculum will definitely help people, and a liberal arts education will definitely give a new perspective in terms of people going in the military.
            A lot of my friends who are in the military have either a high school education or went to West Point or went to state schools where they’re not getting the same sort of core curriculum discussions that we’re getting here. So we can both diversify the military and help out our nation, help out our community, help out everywhere instead of making ourselves a little bubble Utopia of people who pretend like we don’t have a military.
            If you are completely opposed to wars, are completely opposed to violence, I think I agree with Dean Moody-Adams that, fine, then you should be against ROTC. But if you accept that the Army helps you out, and accept that we need the Army, and accept that we are going into these wars and doing them, then you have to support having ROTC here because we are part of America. And seriously, I mean I think we just need to understand that this is part of who we are, and if we are going to make a positive influence on the world, it needs to be here. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
AVI:  Hi. My name’s Avi. I am a senior. And I just want to say that there’s been a lot of rhetoric thrown around tonight, and I think it’s great. I think it’s really fantastic. I think that people’s passions, people’s experiences, people’s anger, I think that’s why I came to this university, and I think it’s great from people who believe what I believe, and I think it’s great from people who believe something different. So I wanted to start by saying that.
            What I wanted to talk about is not my personal anger or passions or experiences, but my real honest fear. And that fear is that, is of what we might be preparing to do. At my time in this university I feel I’ve had the opportunity to engage in some of these debates and discussions about this and about a whole host of other things, and it’s been such an enriching experience. And the reason it has been is because I’ve known that no matter whether most people agreed with me or most people didn’t, no matter whether I won or lost the campaign on an issue, I was safe in my community to say what was on my mind, to feel what I feel and to express that. And we’ve seen in the just past couple of years the administration work with students to change housing policies to be more exclusive of trans students and their allies.
            And so my real fear is not what message we will send to the world, it’s not what message we will send to the military. It’s what message we’re going to send to the students on this campus if we decide that transgender students and their ability to participate in this university as equals with everyone else is just not something that’s our primary concern.
            And so I look forward to continuing this debate. I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say. And, you know, even though I have my beliefs pretty set, I really do enjoy coming to these discussions and hearing people’s passions. And I hope we get to continue to do that in the years to come, and I hope we continue to make this a safe environment where all students really feel that their university is there for them. Thanks. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
ANDY: Hi. My name is Andy. I’m a student at GS. I was in the Navy for six years, and two of those years were at the Naval Academy. I just transferred here. So I think I have a bit of a unique perspective on having been on sort of both sides of it. And there’s one issue I’d like to touch on real quickly and that’s of agency. Understand that the military does not set its discrimination policies. Congress in Washington, D.C., the civilians set that. So I think that if we’re going to talk about discrimination, then our first beef should be with the Congressmen and Congresswomen that we’ve elected that have set that policy. The military, they have no say.
            I have had many gay friends in Annapolis and when I was enlisted who didn’t agree with the policy, and a lot of us were like, hey, man, it sucks that you can’t come out, but there is nothing we could do about it. So I think it’s important to discriminate, if I can use that word, between the military and the people who set the military policy.
            Second of all, it’s, there’s a matter of conversation. When we’re conversing with the military, this isn’t a cement wall that kind of does it at once. This is made of human beings, flesh and blood people. I’ve seen people from every social stratum. And the thing that I have to say is that if you’re conversing with someone, that by them, by ROTC kids coming here, you’re going to expose them to a transgender student. Because believe it or not, many people who are in the military, they don’t even know what transgender means. And I think that the more you incorporate them in the policy, it’s like, oh, so this is what the LGBTQ community is like. But there’s not so bad. I know them; they’re my friends. That’s a perspective that is unique to Columbia. Columbia, I can tell you, like at the Academy whenever we had a foreign affairs conference or we had other schools in there, we were so hungry to pick the brains of the kids on the outside, outside of the yard. It was like what it is like for you? Like, you talk to women, you don’t have to dress in a uniform every day, you get to grow a beard. It’s an amazing perspective that we take for granted that we have to understand that is, if we have a say in that culture, that, or by allowing them to come here, we can have a say in that culture, and if you want to start changing the military from within, then you have to have a conversation with the people who are going to be inside the military. Thank you very much.
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
BRIAN DONNELLY: Hi. My name is Brian Donnelly. I’m a third-year law student at Columbia, and I was an ROTC student at Cornell from 2000 to 2004 so I thank Dean Moody-Adams for her service there. And first I’d like to address the argument that the military preys on low-income individuals. I could have afforded to go to Cornell. I would have had to sacrifice. I would have had to take out loans like I’m sure many of you have, but I could have done it. And to say that the military somehow preyed on me, demeans my choice to join the military. [Applause] It also demeans the free choice and the dignity of people from those low-income communities that also might make a choice to join the military. [Applause]
            The one other point I’d like to make is that society pulls military culture forward. I had so many relationships with gay, lesbian, transgender people at Cornell that changed my outlook on life profoundly. And because of that I was able to change people’s minds within the military to the extent that I could. So I think, we keep talking about questions we need to ask ourselves. We also need to ask ourselves, as many people have, do we want to continue to pull the military forward or are we going to cut the rope and let them make these decisions for themselves? [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
LISA ROYCEMAN (SP?): Hi. My name is Lisa Royceman. I’m a Barnard sophomore, and I’m transgender. A lot of the discussion today, rightfully so, has been about university policy and about whether or not the military’s discrimination against transgender people is in conflict with our policy. And I agree with people who say that it is. But that’s, that’s not what I want to talk about.
            One of the questions listed is whether there’s a relationship between military engagement and Columbia’s identity. And I want to talk a little bit about Columbia University’s identity and our reputation. I came to this school because I knew that this is a liberal institution that values the contributions of all of its members. And as the gentleman earlier was saying who was discussing the Catholic Church and the role of having diverse opinions, I completely agree with you. And I agree that interaction between students who are in the military and transgender and other lesbian and gay and bisexual students is valuable. But we’re not acknowledging a real inequality between those two groups, and we’re making a sort of a false equivalency between kicking ROTC students off campus and kicking transgender students off campus. And I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. Honestly.
            As Dean Moody-Adams was saying earlier, there are lots of ROTC students on this campus, and I think that’s fantastic. I have friends who are in the military, and I have benefited greatly from that interaction. And I don’t think that if we were to, you know, we haven’t allowed the ROTC on campus and those students who have continued to come here. If our university espoused a policy that was discriminatory towards a group that’s already discriminated against more than almost any other group in the United States. You know, somebody was describing Columbia University earlier as a safe haven, and that is absolutely true. And it’s not, the students who are in the ROTC don’t need that safe haven, and transgender students do honestly. And I think that if we were to institute this discriminatory policy there would be less discussion because I don’t think that transgender students would come here. Honestly. I don’t think they would come here in great numbers. I don’t think they would feel safe. I don’t think they would engage in the discussions that we currently engage in. And I think it’s one thing to acknowledge the benefits that this policy, that bringing ROTC back could have on students who are in the military, but I don’t think. There are other universities in which students can experience that.  
            Sorry. Basically people who come to Columbia University who are ROTC students will feel welcomed here regardless whether or not we change this policy. And I don’t think that’s the same for transgender people. Thank you for your time. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next. Next comment, please.
 
LEARNED FOOTE: Hi. My name is Learned Foote. I’m a senior in Columbia College, and I’d like to say that there is a principled stance that a school can take against ROTC and that is not Columbia’s stance. An example of a principled stance would be Hillsdale College, which does not accept federal tax dollars. It doesn’t have that commitment to it, and it doesn’t allow the program because of this. Our policy does not make sense because we allow these programs for ROTC students to exist as long as it’s not here on this campus. As long as it’s somewhere else, it’s fine. And meanwhile we accept the money that’s coming from the government. And I think the chief point there is that we are, in accepting these dollars and for so many of these students who are American citizens and otherwise, we’re acknowledging that we are part of a society. And as has been pointed out, these rules that are in place are not determined by the military. They are determined by our elected leaders and by us in turn. And we are abdicating our stance if we think that by pushing it off campus, by ignoring it we will remedy anything.
            An argument was made in the Huffington Post a couple of days ago that ROTC should not be allowed back on campus until gay marriage is legalized because the benefits that veterans then receive for their partners would still be unequal. That is discrimination, and as a gay person, I am very excited for the day that gay marriage comes, and I am fighting for that. We cannot afford to wait as an institution for that day to come.
            And I’d just like to move beyond the negative arguments against ROTC and why it should be kept off campus for a moment to reflect on the potential of what an ROTC program could bring to campus. It’s been said that there’s not that much interest in ROTC among Columbia students, and we do have a small number. But as a tour guide I’m asked very frequently by students whether an ROTC program is available, and many students choose not to come because of the difficulty of ROTC. There are 605,000 students in New York City that are college students. It’s the largest population in the country. It turns out 30-40 [?]  ROTC graduates a year. There’s a greater population in New York City than there is in Virginia and North Carolina. These states have 12 programs. New York City has two. There is none in Manhattan. There is none in Brooklyn. And it is time that we look for a military that reflects the population more broadly and that we take action ourselves in order to bring about these changes, and we don’t wait for other people to do the work for us. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
MICHELLE: I’m Michelle. I’m a junior in the College, and I was approached by recruiters all the time in high school almost every day, and so the military was a very big option for me, but I chose against it. I did not join. But now I’m here expressing a concern for what this can do to our campus. Not just having people from the military be students on the campus, but having a military program become integrated into our curriculum. The military being a system, technology’s a force. It’s not just people. It’s something else. It’s a system that comes along with it, and I question Dean Moody-Adams, with all due respect, the very idea of a citizen army.
            The military is under a different system of law despite the oath to the Constitution. And throughout history and recently, we have seen soldiers try to change policies in the military from the inside, and we have seen them court-martialed under the military law. [Applause] And I’m very concerned about what this will do, what this integration will do. And so not everyone thinks alike in the military, but there are certain practices and technologies and actions that are expected from the military, and I am very worried about this. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Actually we are going to go into our ten-minute break and we’ll resume at ten minutes from now. Thank you.
 
MAZOR: All right, folks, if we could get you to take your seats again, please. And at each mike there were a total of nine people lined up so if they could get precedence please on the mikes. Before we begin again, I have a couple of points to make. I’ve been asked to reiterate that if you feel comfortable doing so, we would really appreciate if you use your full name when you introduce yourself.
Additionally, I have been asked to introduce the panel and so I’m happy to do so. My name is Ron Mazor. I’m a College graduate, 2009, from Columbia College, and I’m currently a law student and a university senator from the Law School. To my right is Molly Finkel. She is a nursing student at Columbia. To my left is Roosevelt Montas. He is a former university senator, Columbia College grad, also a graduate of GSAS and current director of the Core at Columbia. To my far right is Dean Peter Awn of GS. Additionally Scott Saverance of SIPA is manning the computer, also on the Task Force, also a member of the University Senate. We additionally have Julia Hirschberg of the faculty of computer science, Jim Applegate of astronomy, also faculty, Tim Qin of undergraduate SEAS, Alex Frouman of the College, and I believe that’s the entire Task Force. Sorry. In any event, next comment. Some of our students actually have class at the same time as we have our hearings. So we have a flexible policy about attendance. Next comment, please.
 
MARTIN WILLNER: Hi. My name is Martin Willner. I’m a junior at Columbia College. And I think this Senate hearing is about just hearing students’ opinions so I just wanted to give one that hasn’t necessarily been heard. It’s more like the moderate liberal opinion. It’s just my personal opinion. But I think what we’re dealing with here is two sets of values. One is individual liberties and respecting, especially transgender students at this moment in time, and the other is respect for our servicemen and -women. And I feel like a lot of students at this university have those two values that they’re trying to reconcile. For me personally, I feel in response to that first question, I do think that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been a step in the right direction, and I also feel that not responding to that equally by at least—responding personally—allowing ROTC back on the campus is a slap in the face to the military. And that’s my opinion. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
NEAL (RUDY) RICKNER: Good evening. My name is Rudy Rickner. I’m a dual degree student at Business and SIPA. I’m also a Marine. I’d like to talk about three things tonight. First the right to serve. And I acknowledge that the military has done some terrible things. The Iraq invasion, for example, was a terrible mistake, in my opinion. But should we forsake our military for its misdeeds or acknowledge its mistakes and try and make it better?
            I became a Marine in large part because of a trip I took as a teenager to the D.C. Holocaust Museum. I was determined not to let such things happen again. I was young and idealistic and I wanted to serve. Having an ROTC program on campus is about giving individuals, such as I was, the opportunity to serve as it fits with their goals and world view. If we want to change our military, change what it is used for, change the discriminatory policies that govern it, then let’s address those grievances with our elected leaders, not hold our young people, not hold it against our young people for attempting to do something larger than themselves.
            Second, talk about influence at Columbia. The influence of Columbia. Excuse me. Quite honestly I believe that our military needs more liberal thinkers. It’s been alluded to here several times tonight. In my opinion having an ROTC program at Columbia would liberalize the military and not militarize Columbia.
            Third, the civil-military gap. Less than one percent of American citizens serve in the military, and there is a risk over time of developing a cadre of military leaders that has less and less in common with the people that they are sworn to defend. The roots of this are evident here tonight. The us-versus-them tone of much of the debate is discouraging to me and essentially proves my point that there is a civil-military divide.
            Finally, I’ve been a student here at Columbia for two years and have been well received as a veteran. And I believe that most Columbians want to close the civil-military gap and would welcome an ROTC program here on campus. Some because they were changed by 9/11, others because they recognize that it’s possible to hate the war but love the soldier, and others simply because they recognize that service in the military, though not the right choice for all, should be available to all. Thank you.
 
MAZOR: Thank you. Next comment, please.
 
NICK LOMUSCIO: Hi. How are you doing? My name is Nick, Nick Lomuscio is my full name. I am a junior at General Studies. I’d like to start off by saying that I am not transgender and I sure ain’t no pacifist, but my heart goes out to all of them in the room and on campus because I feel they were wrongfully excluded during the opening comments at this hearing. I’d like to start by saying I’m kind of embarrassed that Columbia University doesn’t seem to know what conversation is. The ROTC, as far as I’m aware, does not have a conversation branch of it. It is a part of the military. This isn’t a conversation group. This isn’t a debate team. This is a part of the military. If we are going to have debates about military actions with members of the military, with veterans of the military, and with non-members of the military, we can do that on our own. We can do that with separate groups. We do not need the military establishing ROTC at Columbia University. That is a logical fallacy.
            I’d like to also add that the reason ROTC left Columbia University was due in large part to anti-war protests. The idea that the military has somehow changed since then and has somehow liberalized I also feel is a logical fallacy, and you can ask any member of IVAW, Iraq Veterans Against War, what happens when soldiers try to speak up and try to change what is happening within the military ranks. It does not happen. It does not happen that things have been liberalized.
            If what we are trying to say here is that ROTC should be welcomed back to campus to open up debate, to encourage student interaction with members of the military, we have members of the military here. We have veterans of the military. We can do that on our own.  Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
ERIC ROSENBERG: Hi. My name is Eric Rosenberg and I’m a senior at Columbia College, president of the policy debate club. I agree with many of the goals of those who support the ban on the ROTC. However, the ban has had zero efficacy in terms of it bringing it about the changes that we’re trying to get, and there are better alternatives out there. By banning the ROTC we’re ceding national security to the right, and thereby weakening our ability to engage in effective political action on behalf of transgender students.
            For example, the argument that the military’s imperialistic, exclusionary or predatory, that just alienates members of the military from us. Essentially, where is in fact our progressive politics are pro-military. We are against unnecessary wars that cost our soldiers their lives, and we are for including transgender persons who may be extremely vital to the success of our military efforts.
            The better alternative to the alienating ban on the ROTC would be to directly address the problem by engaging in Congressional politics. The left needs to reorient their focus toward we are better for security than the right, rather than we’re just anti-military. We should elect progressive members of Congress who will enact these policy changes. Most importantly, the ROTC ban weakens our ability to engage in this Congressional politics. It’s thus they’re both mutually exclusive because to have the ban on the ROTC discredits the left because our university is associated with the left. So it weakens our ability to have a progressive political stance.
            And in addition we are alienating us from Americans who are strongly in favor of U.S. national security, and they think that we as progressives are against them and are their enemy. As a result, the majority of the country is less inclined to trust our arguments, despite our arguments are actually pro-military and pro-national security. Case in point, the lifting of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was not the result of ROTC bans, but rather the building of consensus about how gays can fight in the military, their exclusion was detrimental to our national security, and how it went against our democratic values. You know, I know not a lot of people are like Joseph Lieberman, but he was a champion of the repeal, and he’s a centrist. He was won over both on moral and on national security grounds. And that’s the method, that’s the path towards political change, to get the change that we want for our progressive values.
            Therefore, we should lift the ban on ROTC and pursue Congressional political change. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
MICHAEL ZAPATA:  How are you doing? My name is Michael Zapata. I’m in the Columbia Business School. I come to you from a few different experiences in my life. One is I’m a nine-and-a-half-year veteran. I served in the Navy as a lieutenant, and I served as a Navy SEAL for nine and a half years. I just recently got out in October. Now what does that mean? I’ve been fortunate to serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, the Middle East, and I can think that there’s no denying the fact that there is some sort of inequality in the military. Having said that, we can’t deny that. There’s discrimination, there’s inequality. I think they do prey on lower-income housing, but again, from a personal experience, I grew up on welfare. I personally find it insulting that I can’t make my own decisions whether to join the military or not.
            Okay. Having said that, now we’ve acknowledged the fact that the military has some lacking and Department of Defense is shortcoming. I would suggest to you that right now having ROTC here is an opportunity to start effecting change. I think we’ve started seeing the very forefront of that with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal. I think it begins here at Columbia. Another fact that we can’t deny is that Columbia University, they produce leaders. They produce leaders that can affect both domestic and foreign policy, and there’s no better opportunity than to get them right now.
ROTC, I was in ROTC before I joined. So I went to A&M, joined the ROTC, they didn’t pay for my school actually. I put myself through college, and I decided to join the Navy afterwards. What is ROTC? ROTC there’s a few elective courses that get you prepared to go in the military. The majority of my classes were in subjects that everybody else was in. Everybody that sits next to you they’re going to be. ROTC is ROTC. They are students first with the intention of going into the military. I’ve had quite a few of my friends that decided not to go into the military for various reasons, but they’re still your friends. I went into the military, couple of my friends went into the military. What I can tell you is what you take from your time in ROTC is you take the relationships that you built around you.
So this is your opportunity to welcome your peers, to have an influence on them, to start to have an impact on them so when they go in the military they become leaders that Columbia produces. You can start the change. A change from the inside, and it’s an opportunity to start here at Columbia. Thanks. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
DANIEL AMZALLAG: Hi. My name’s Dan Amzallag. I’m a senior in Columbia College. I’d just like to thank you, the Task Force, for putting together this fantastic debate tonight. I have my own opinions like everyone else does. Ultimately that won’t be as important as the opinions of the senators.
            What’s become clear is there’s one reason that everyone is here, and that’s that we all love Columbia. We all care about and are passionate enough about this place that we either want to protect it from discrimination or to provide it with the fullest access to opportunities possible. And again, I have my own opinions. But what seems to me is if we believe in the efficacy of our university at producing young adults who are thoughtful, who are prepared to grapple with moral questions of the next generation. If in fact we believe in Columbia’s power as an educator, how we can possibly deny a space as influential as the United States military access to these students? The answer is we’ll never agree with everything the government’s doing. We’ll never agree with every law that’s on the books. That doesn’t mean there’s not value in public service. To say that disagreement invalidates service is to undermine Columbia’s position in providing leaders for the next generation and in fact to make our society and our way of life unsustainable. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
JANINE BALEKDJIAN: Hi. My name is Janine Balekdjian, and I’m a sophomore in Columbia College, and if I wanted to start a student group, even if this student group had no more impact on campus than taking up some space a couple of times a month, I would have to include whoever wants to join, including transgender students. Now ROTC would have a much more significant impact on campus than many of our student groups does. It would be involved more intimately in the curriculum and it would be a significant portion of the lives of the students who decide to join that program. To hold ROTC to a lower standard than other student groups, a lower standard of acceptance, doesn’t make any sense. They should at the very least be held to the same standard as everybody else, the same standard of inclusiveness, if not face higher scrutiny because of their higher involvement with the lives of students.
            Now, President Bollinger has said that since DADT was repealed he believes that the time has come to welcome ROTC back on campus, and this is addressed to him even though he’s not here right now. It’s not acceptable to oppose ROTC because it discriminates against one group of students, and then not oppose it even though it’s still discriminating against another group of students. Now there may be a smaller minority of trans students, but that doesn’t make discrimination against them any more okay. If there were a very small minority of students of color, that would not make racism okay. And I think that we all recognize that. And I think that because of the minority of trans students, their rights and their right to not be discriminated against often gets overlooked, and that is not acceptable. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
HENRY NASS (SP?): Hi. My name is Henry Nass. I’ll tell you my affiliation in a second, but I’d just like to say that is a wonderful technology, but I’d like the guy whoever is in charge to stretch it so I can see its URL. This thing that has no wire I understand. My affiliation to Columbia is that I, my mother, I’m the child of an alumna of Barnard who graduated in 1942. Her name was Edna Kaden. She’s deceased. She graduated in ’42 from Barnard because she went to college at Mount Holyoke in 1938, but because of the war came to be closer to her family. Boy, I’m going to have to skip a lot. I also am the uncle of a person at Columbia, a sophomore at Columbia, and the nephew of a Law School grad.
            Anyway, I want to also to tell this young fellow that the reason that people in the military came to his school every day was because Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the home of the Army War College. Okay?
            Okay. Now I’ll jump to the LBT transgender thing. Actually, I am, I considered running for Congress about 25 years ago. My district is the Eighth Congressional District of New York, which is the west side, lower west side, just below this one. It includes Greenwich Village and Wall Street, I might add. And to do some research I went down to Greenwich Village and LBT center there, and, you know, tried to understand the situation, which I think I do.
            Anyway, let’s see. I, let’s see. Well, I have only a couple of seconds left. Let me give a big perspective. My e-mail has the number 1732 in it, just by coincidence the birth year of George Washington, our first president and general.
 
MAZOR: I need to ask you to wrap up, please. Thank you. [Applause] Next comment.
 
BRIAN MORGAN: Good evening. My name is Brian Morgan. I’m a junior at the School of General Studies. I just have a quick statement that I prepared while I was sitting here with my fellow veterans. Why are we as a university so brazenly open in discriminating against a population of extremely motivated and intelligent young citizens who seek to serve their country in ROTC while simultaneously pursuing an Ivy League education? Why are students who aim to be citizen soldiers treated as second-class citizens, forced to participate in ROTC at alternative locations?  This reeks of a paradigm that was addressed many years ago under the heading of separate, but equal. At an institution which prides itself in openness and democratic process, why is the university content to not even give the ROTC community a seat at the table?
            I understand that many people here are upset about transgender equality, but boycotting ROTC as has been previously mentioned does nothing to address this concern by depriving those who wish to serve on campus the ability to do so. The transgender debate is definitely worth addressing, but the fact is that it is clearly a Congressional debate and not a military one.
            I’m a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps and stand before you today because of the opportunities afforded me by the military. If we as a university are truly dedicated to educating tomorrow’s leaders, I feel we are doing the nation and the university itself a great disservice by discriminating against ROTC and the caliber of students who seek to continue the American tradition of citizen soldiers. ROTC has been discriminated against since 1970, and it’s time we took pride in those who answer the call to service and welcome ROTC back on campus. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
GAVIN McGOWN: Hi. I’m Gavin McGown again. I think that we just focus on a couple of red herrings we’ve been following in the debate.  The first is the argument about engaging in Congressional politics as opposed to opposing ROTC. Well, first the ban on transgender students is interior to the military. It has nothing to do with Congress. But even if that were not the case, we would still be admitting a group that conflicts with our own stated anti-discrimination policy. So we would still be countenancing discrimination that otherwise we do not countenance. So it’s a bit of a non-issue.
            The second issue, I think, is that to borrow a line from Victor, to borrow a line from “Casablanca,” our problems right now don’t amount to a hill of beans. I think that we can deliberate about this issue in a number of manners, but the consequences of allowing ROTC or not allowing ROTC are going to have, well, let’s say a much larger effect on campus than on the military, than on America, than on the world. So we should probably not be deliberating about what we’re going to change in the world. We should be deliberating about what we’re going to change right here.
            On a quick note, one of the most I think compelling arguments for introducing ROTC back to Columbia is that it will give students who are participating in the ROTC an enriching experience by exposing them to a wide range of diverse students including gay students, lesbian students and transgender students that they wouldn’t get elsewhere. I think that that’s very fair, but it’s very important to recognize in what situations conversations can be had, and who gets to have them. In what relevant sense can someone be exposed to a transgender student if a transgender student cannot be part of this program? Oh, you sit beside them in Lit Hum. Perhaps that’s important. I would absolutely agree. But the point is that the social situations that are supposed to introduce this enriching experience are strictly closed off to those people who would be enriching that experience. So I think that is similarly a misguided argument in our deliberation. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
BENJAMIN ILANY: My name is Ben Ilany. I’m a new student here at GS. I’m a veteran of the Air Force and I’m also gay. So I understand in a very personal way, and I’m sensitive to what transgender people would feel about ROTC and about the military’s policies on alternative gender identities. But I think it’s important, and I want to address the very first point on the agenda there in that I do think that recent events have shifted my opinion of ROTC on campus, namely, that this time around in the debates about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that occurred in Congress, we had generals that stood up and said this policy should go. That has never happened before, ever. This was something unique, and it was particularly important that Admiral Mullin, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was the one who spearheaded that effort.
            In the debates that will happen years from now about transgender people being permitted in the military, be those debates internally or in the houses of Congress, we’re going to want generals to stand up and make those same points that they made about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in regard to transgender people. And we’re going to want those generals, who by the way are going to be from our generation. I mean, that’s it. We’re training future generals. That’s a cliché, but they’re going to come from people that are our age, and in 20, 30 years these are the people who are going to be making policy internally in each service branch and they’re going to be the ones paraded in front of Congress to give their opinions on what policies should be. And I think Columbia can contribute to that future conversation in a very meaningful way, and I think that’s a compelling reason to allow ROTC back on campus in order to shape those future debates and make sure that in the future transgender people and whatever other identities, you know, we either discover or that I don’t know about right now enjoy the same treatment that gay and lesbian people have all of a sudden been able to take advantage of. Thank you very much. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
TED GRASKE: Good evening, everyone. I’m Ted Graske. I’m the chairman and spokesperson for the Columbia alliance for ROTC, which is an ROTC support group. Conversations among alumni quickly go to the fact that it’s about ROTC. But upon reflection the alumni think about a bit and think it’s about something bigger. What we feel it’s about, it’s about preparing talented young people though liberal education to assume leadership in our society, to prepare them not only for law and medicine, but for nation’s service, and most importantly to give them the skills to deal with an imperfect, morally ambivalent and sometimes in your face world.
            Now it’s about an approach to learning here at Columbia, a deep commitment to exposure to new and different ideas of all kinds. It’s about preparing individuals to deal with ambiguity and change. And Columbia argues that a very powerful educational tool is diversity and experience. This idea supposedly motivates the challenge that broadens. And it’s one of the reasons that in many schools like Columbia the schools set up offerings in gender studies, gay studies, ethnic studies, peace studies. Now some of those are at Columbia, not all of them. But that’s part of the tradition of having an open academic environment where you may not like the idea, in fact, you may detest it, but you’re free to communicate about it.
            So having said that, I would ask the panel to consider very strongly how the adoption of an ROTC program contributes to fulfilling the values of a liberal education in this university now and in the future. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR:  So actually we’re going to start closing off the lines for comments in about two minutes because of the timeline of our program. But just so you guys know that’s going to happen. Next comment, please.
 
LAUREN SALZ: Hi. My name is Lauren Salz. I’m a senior at Barnard College, and I’m also the president of the Columbia University College Republicans. And I want to emphasize that the ROTC question is really not about politics. It’s about opportunities for students. As a conservative, there are a lot of groups on this campus that I don’t agree with politically, and I’m sure there are a lot of people on this campus who feel the same way about my organization. However, I would never suggest that they shouldn’t be allowed on this campus or that they should have to go to Fordham in order to meet or participate and that’s because I believe that our community should value diversity and also provide as many opportunities as possible for our students.
            Allowing ROTC back at Columbia would provide several opportunities. First of all, the opportunity for Columbia students to participate in ROTC on their own campus, as well as the opportunity for students who want to serve in ROTC to have the benefits of an Ivy League education. It would also provide the opportunity for non-ROTC students to gain a better understanding of the military and those who serve in that. And also the opportunity for Columbia University to have a bigger role in educating our future leaders.
            I also want to point out that right now we’re all sitting very safely in Havemeyer Hall while there are people around the world who would love to do us harm. Thanks to the protection of the U.S. military that’s why we have the ability to have this debate, that’s what provides our safe space. It seems that we generally value diversity, but not all diversity. We want protection from the military, but we don’t want to see ROTC cadets our campus. Columbia University historically has been a very important educational institution that has shaped many key leaders in public service, including our current president. And as a community that values diversity and public service, we should provide the opportunity for our students to benefit from an ROTC program. Thank you.
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. We’re going to close the lines now. So whoever’s up will be able to speak. But no one comes after this. Next comment.
 
KALEY HANENKRAT: Hi. My name is Kaley Hanenkrat. I’m a senior at Barnard. I’m also the president of the College Democrats. I don’t necessarily represent the views of our entire organization, but I would just like to say that I support the return of ROTC to campus. I’m a first-generation college student. I’m also the first generation of my family not to serve in the military, but what I really love about Columbia, what a lot of people have been talking about that defines the Columbia experience as they come up for me, has been the fact that we believe that we can change the world, that we can effect change in our society, in our country, in our politics, in government. And I really think we should ask the question, How can Columbia change the military for the better?
            I really don’t think that retaining the ban on ROTC would do anything to change the policies that we believe are discriminatory and that I agree are discriminatory, just as I don’t believe that DADT was repealed because Columbia had a ban on ROTC. ROTC is a part of an external institution, and by refusing to engage with an institution just because it’s not perfect isn’t going to help us solve any problems.
            I really think that it’s important to redefine what the military looks like to make sure that it is this great progressive thing that isn’t discriminatory. I think we do this in two ways. First, as many people have mentioned, pressuring our civilian leaders to change policy. As we’ve seen with DADT, things can change for the better. Things that we thought wouldn’t happen a decade ago have happened, and I think that’s fantastic.
Secondly, as some people have also noted, having the values that we share at Columbia within our military would be fantastic. Certainly the military leaders couldn’t just go and change things on their own, but when discussions would happen in Congress, as they did for DADT, as someone else noted, we would want generals there who are saying that we are able to have transgender individuals serving in our military. We’d be happy to do so. So I really think that Columbia could take the lead on this. I really want to see students meeting with their Congressmen, lobbying Congress, working with non-profits to make sure that these issues are being addressed and that we find a solution. I don’t believe that people in this room who believe that ROTC should not return based on non-discrimination are against ROTC. I think that they do believe that ROTC is a good program, and I think that to make sure that it can come back we should do everything we can to make sure that these policies are fixed. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
ANOTHER VOICE: All right. We’re talking about how bringing back the ROTC to campus will affect the Columbia community. But I want to remind everyone here today that there are two flags flying over this university, and one of them happens to be the flag of the United States. And the reason we are in this room today [Applause], the reason we are in this room today is there are brave men and women around the world fighting for us to have the right to protest and make these signs, to debate, to argue. And we owe it to the veterans of this country who have served us faithfully to open up this campus to ROTC.
            I sometimes wonder what this country would look like if more members of the House and the Senate and even the White House actually saw combat, actually knew what it was like to face gunfire in the line of duty, just to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. I wonder if they would be so willing to send young men and women off to war if they knew the cost of it.
            Columbia University is an institution that prepares men and women to go out into the world and become leaders in their countries. And I think it’s essential that we give students the opportunity to experience war, to experience combat, to experience the military, and know what it’s all about because that’s the only way I think we’ll be able to have thoughtful discussions in Washington, around the world, and the United Nations about ending war. I think once people see the horrors of war, they’ll be much less willing to fight.
            I know we talk about discrimination and all these other things. I’m going to remember this country has never been perfect. I mean, we’ve done a lot of bad things in history. I mean, we’ve done a lot of terrible things. This is no reason for us to discriminate against the United States Army which has always been there for us in our time of need, and has been there to fight and liberate countries. We might disagree with the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, but I don’t think anyone in this room disagrees that we fought the Nazi tyranny in World War II and we liberated Europe from a regime that was persecuting people.
            The U.S. military has always been there for us. It’s always been there to protect our interest and to protect the American people. So I think it would be a shame if we do not allow this institution back to campus. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment.
 
ABENDA WAPPA (?): My name is Abenda Wappa and I’m a graduate student at the School of Public Health. I wanted to draw to the point that the reason Columbia University should be against ROTC is not because of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which was obviously discriminatory, but because we should take a stance on the imperialist nature of the United States military. [Applause and catcalls]
            As of 2007 the U.S. military is deployed in 150 countries and is involved in two wars. In Iraq the U.S. military has killed at least 7,500 Iraqi civilians during the initial invasion and subsequently 60,000 civilians during the military occupation period which is still continuing now. And these facts are according to the NGO, the Iraq body count.
ROTC and the U.S. military are not just discriminatory against our LGBT community, but also oppress people of color. For example, as the Yemeni people have been protesting against their autocratic dictatorship for the past five days, the U.S. military has announced in the last few days that it will pledge $75 million to the Yemeni government to allow them to strengthen their armed forces furthering the stranglehold of the Yemeni dictatorship.
The question here should be, do we as a university want to take the stance that the U.S. Army and our government are justified in their imperialist conquest and propping up of the dictatorships all over the Third World? Columbia has a history of supporting social justice polices from opposing the Vietnam War to apartheid in South Africa to the movement for ethnic students, to the movement for ethnic studies, to curriculum reform, to opposing the Manhattanville expansion, and this legacy of moral and social reform should not stop with ROTC. [Applause and cheers]
 
MAZOR: Next comment please.
 
SUMAYYA KASSAMALI: Hi. My name is Sumayya Kassamali: I’m a graduate student in anthropology. I’d like to begin by just again repeating how shocking it was that this debate opened with an implicit endorsement of ROTC and a glorification of just war theory. [Applause] I think this puts into question –
 
MAZOR: Quiet from the audience please.
 
KASSAMALI: -- I think this puts into question the entire process and exactly how decisions are being made here. But more importantly I’d like to address the series of arguments that were raised today.
            First of all, the idea that Columbia will produce better leaders for the military. Let’s look first of all at the leaders currently in the military. So both Generals Petraeus and McCrystal who are the forefront of the Afghanistan war are graduates of Ivy League colleges. If we look at U.S. generals around the world they are as Abenda [?] just alluded to involved in propping up dictators, involved in training the most violent and brutalizing police forces around the world.
            If we remember back to Abu Ghraib, how many people said that what they did was just following their leaders’ orders. So let’s be clear, the military will not be reformed by better leaders, and the military cannot be reformed by leaders regardless of where they come from.
            Second of all, the idea that Columbia is somehow sheltered from the military. I think this is absurd. First of all, if we look around us, between having the presence of journalists, having departments like SIPA where military is constantly discussed, the fact that all of us read the news. If you ask a lot of people who involved in Palestine stuff on campus, ask us how many times we’ve been harassed by former IDF vets on campus. The fact none of us are sheltered from the military. [Applause] Our opposition from the military –
 
MAZOR: Quiet from the audience, please.
 
KASSAMALI: -- comes from the fact that we have a clear and articulate understanding of what both the U.S. military is engaged in and the nature of the military as an institution. And so the distinction that we’re trying to make here is, with an institutional relationship between the space of the university that even in its contemporary corporate initiation exists for things like promoting space for a debate, intellectual possibility, rigor, diversity of opinions. There’s a distinction between this and the military, which is not only premised on violence, on authority, a chain of command, but also when we have this institutional relationship that gives class credit for what one Barnard College graduate described her ROTC experience as playing war on the weekend. This is not a relationship that is comparable to just individuals sharing in debate and dialogue.
            And lastly, I think our opposition has to be regardless of the policies. We don’t want to reform the military to a more perfect employer cause that’s impossible. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
PACO MARTIN DEL CAMPO: Hi. My name is Paco Martin del Campo. I am a senior in the College. And I also want to echo worries about the way the administration has gone about with this process of reviewing ROTC at Columbia. The fact that so many students and faculty aren’t allowed to make any vote which is supposedly just a survey to gauge campus opinion I think is problematic. The fact that we’ve been discussing inequality and its relationship to the military so much and that we still don’t know what ROTC at Columbia would mean for off-campus recruitment in Harlem and Washington Heights. [Applause] The fact that we’re going to have a vote tomorrow without knowing any of these things is problematic. That’s my first point.
            My second point is the idea that Columbia, that Ivy League education can somehow produce better moral leaders. I think this is a very dangerous idea and ignores the history of intellectual racism, including at Columbia. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with that, just research the actual founding of the core, not to mention the history of it. The history department and the poli sci department at this school and their role in perpetuating racist arguments for imperialism.
            And so in addition to that, I ‘d like, my third point is the fact that ROTC is a recruitment arm. And bringing it at Columbia is a categorical endorsement of military policies. And for some people, I noticed some people said, you know, why don’t we petition Congress. Well, guess what, Eisenhower when he mentioned the military-industrial complex, wanted to say the military and Congressional complex, but he had good relations with Congress so he didn’t say it. But his daughter’s come out and said this. So the idea that we can just vote, and somehow that’s going to put the war away or that we can lobby our leaders, ignores, well the recent citizens united case among other things. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
AARTI SETHI: Hi. My name is Aarti Sethi and I’m a graduate student in Columbia University. To begin with I want to reiterate what Sumayya, my colleague, just said that I’m profoundly disturbed by the procedural impropriety of having an ostensibly open discussion begun with a statement by an authority figure in this university which was pro-just war and pro-ROTC. I think there is something deeply flawed about a procedure that begins like that. [Applause]
            Secondly, I want to say with all due respect that someone who is trained as a political philosopher would make the most fundamental error forgetting that the premise of an open and democratic society is the separation between civilian and military institutions. Those of us who are not American and come from parts of the world which have unfortunately forgotten that distinction to our great peril are amazed that America, which prides itself on its democracy and democratic traditions, would invite the military onto their campuses.
            The problem for democratic societies around the world is not as Dean Moody-Adams seems to suggest how do we create militaries that support democratic institutions. Rather it is how do we maintain democratic institutions despite the fact that we have an organized institution of violence such as the military in the middle of our societies.
            Many here have said that the military is not perfect. No, it is not. But violence is not an imperfection of the military. It is an organizing principle of the military. [Applause] The problem with an institutional affiliation between the military and the university is not because the military is not a perfect employer. It is because the military as an institution and the university as an institution are based on fundamentally different values. A military is an authoritarian, hierarchical, closed structure of organized violence. And I’m saying this not judgmentally. I’m saying this descriptively. A university is an open democratic structure where we come together to think critically. These are fundamentally opposed values. It must not be the task of civilian institutions to train leaders of the military. It is not and must never be the task of universities, to use Dean Moody-Adams’s unfortunate phrase, citizen soldiers.
            I am not a stranger to the military. My father served all his life in the military. Both my grandfathers served all their lives in the military. I went to military schools till I was fifteen years old. The military for me is not a strange institution. The military to me is not a faraway institution. And that is why as a member of this university, I am urging and begging everyone here to please realize what it means when you invite the university onto your campuses today. Thank you for listening. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Quiet from the audience, please. Next comment, please. Audience, you’re out of time. Next comment please.
 
ANTHONY MASCHEK: Hi. My name is Anthony Maschek. Can I see all the signs raised up high for me, please. Everyone that’s holding signs. Okay. First of all, if you want to villainize the military, you’re looking at in the face right now. My name is Anthony Maschak. I served in the Army nine years, deployed three times. I’ve been in a lot of bad places, sniper trained. I was shot nine times in Iraq. I spent two years in Walter Reed. None of it I regret because it all led me right here to this microphone.
            Many of these arguments that you have have merit in some instances, but they do not have merit in the terms of ROTC. What my speech is going to be about is personal responsibility. If you invite ROTC onto this campus right now, are you going to hate transgender people? Are you going to discriminate against them? If you do, that’s your problem, that’s not ROTC’s. I don’t believe that anyone that joins ROTC is going to suddenly discriminate against transgender people just because they’re in ROTC.
            If you think that the military preys on the poor and the weak, then you have to think of you’re the one that’s excluding them from Columbia University. I think we can all agree that this is a very expensive place to go, and when you exclude the ROTC from this area, you are forcing them into those poor areas. So that is not just the military’s fault, that is your fault as well.
            It doesn’t matter how you feel about war. It doesn’t matter about fighting. Other parts of the country, or other parts of the world are plotting to kill you right now when you go to bed. [Yelling, clapping from the audience.]
 
MAZOR: Quiet from the audience, please.
 
MASCHEK: It’s not a joke. There are a lot of tough men out there willing to do bad things to bad people to keep you safe. These people seriously are trying to kill you. They hate America. They hate you. [
 
SOMEONE IN THE AUDIENCE: That’s completely offensive. [More cross-talk]
 
MAZOR: Audience, please.
 
MASCHEK: It’s true, and I’m not lying about it because I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. I know these people. So when you think that war is evil, it’s true. I believe you, and I agree war is evil.
 
MAZOR: Audience.
 
MASCHEK: But it’s not a choice that you have, and it’s not a choice that I have. I mean, I guess choices don’t fight and die or you can stand up for yourself and not.
            When you decide that you want to exclude ROTC from Columbia, you are yourself discriminating against people that want to do great things for their country. So you’re discriminating against discrimination. It’s confusing that you want to be discriminatory towards people just because. You have to take that discrimination on yourself.
 
SAVERANCE: Please finish up your point.
 
MASCHEK: That’s it. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Just to reiterate. There are to be no catcalls and no addressing commenters from the audience. There’s to be no catcalls, no addressing commenters from the audience.  It needs to be an open place where the people who come here to speak are not threatened. Next comment, please.
 
FERIDE ERALP: Hello. I’m Feride Eralp. I’m a first year in the Columbia College, and I do come from another part of the world, but I want you all to know that I’m not here to harm any of you. [Applause] So the gentleman who spoke before me said you are looking at the military. And I find that really interesting because he seems to think that he as an individual, he as a person can personify and be what the military is. Well, I don’t want to break the news to him, but he is a human being and the military is an institution.  And I feel like this is where we’re all sort of having this weird sort of individualistic language, we’re letting it shroud what’s at the bottom of this thing, which is a system.
            The military is not this sort of random aggregate of individuals coming together completely equally. It’s a hierarchical institution, and a hierarchical military institution which is a war machine. And having a war machine in a relationship with our university is what we’re opposing here. It’s not having a conversation with people. Having a conversation with individuals and having a relationship between two institutions are two separate things, and all the things that we’ve been saying here tonight like educating leaders, producing new leaders, influencing the people in the military, changing from the inside, and all of these things are part of the same, this individualistic language which hides the fact that it is two institutions we’re talking about. And Columbia as an institution is being tried to make part of this war machine. And yeah maybe to some extent it is already part of that war machine, and I regret that. We have to combat that. But it does not mean that we add one more, and we consolidate that.
            And another thing I want to say is that we’ve, yeah, somebody who spoke before me talked about being from a conservative group and other people not liking her group, and she not liking other groups, but this being okay. Yes, that is okay because her organization is not a military institution. It’s different.
            And, well, changing leaders. We seem to think that changing leaders changes the system. We all know what happened when Obama replaced the Bush administration. We all know how much U.S. policy changed. This is about policy. This is about a system. It’s not about changing, educating leaders, it’s about individual people, it’s about the whole. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
ANIM TALUKTER (SP?): Hi. My name is Anim Talukter. I’m a sophomore at the College. I agree with Dean Moody-Adams. There are justified wars, but these are wars to fight for freedom and against oppression. Struggles that are currently going on in the Middle East right now, I have no idea what the hell’s going on in, right now with these current occupations and wars. There’s everything shrouded in absolute mystery and I have no idea what’s going on.
            It’s fantastic that this debate is going on, and I would just quickly want to ask if we want to have an institutional relationship with an organization that is imperialistic and to be quite honest absolutely shrouded in mystery in terms of its agenda. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
ZOE WOLMA (SP?): Hi. My name is Zoe Wolma. I’m a sophomore at, or a junior at Barnard College. [Chuckles] And I’d like to start off by echoing what somebody else had said that it’s completely unfair that certain members of this community get to vote on the matter, and that’s what the Senate’s decision will be influenced by. If one graduate school gets to vote, every graduate school should get to vote, as well as faculty and undergrad. [Applause]
            Aside from that, a lot of what’s been brought up tonight and in the last town hall is the point that being against ROTC is discriminating against members of the ROTC at Columbia University. Speaking for myself, I’m not against the individuals who participate in the ROTC program at Columbia or at any other educational institution. For me this isn’t a struggle against individuals, it’s a struggle against the military as an institution. As a woman, as an activist, and as an individual I opposed the military as an oppressive institution that perpetuates violence, discrimination, unjust wars, and continues to attempt to destroy nations based on American imperialist motives that get masked as defense and national security.
            I also believe in human rights, and included in that, I believe in the right of individuals to join the military should they choose to by their own choice. However, unfortunately, the U.S. military plays a crucial role in denying basic human rights to people are the world in the name of democracy. I can’t support a system that is as destructive as the U.S. military. I can’t support an institution where one in three women experience sexual violence and only 45 percent of these cases get investigated by the military itself.
            I personally feel less safe at the thought of a military presence in my educational place, and allowing ROTC to be on campus of equal opportunity and diverse opinions. The military is a destructive institution and not a student group or a platform for discussion so it doesn’t have a place in an educational setting. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: At this point we’re actually about ten minutes over our allotted limit for our hearing. I’m going to ask that those who have already spoken from the lines please step away and let those who have not yet spoken yet get a chance to speak. I will stay until the lines finish. Next comment,` please.
 
NICK WORTHER (SP?): Hi. My name is Nick Worther. I’m not transgender, I’m not an Army vet. I’m just some dork in CC. But, wow, my whole life I’ve been extremely pro-military. I’ve been even chauvinistically pro-military, but from some of the things I’ve heard here such as the arguments about transgender students not being allowed. Those have been really moving to me. And we live in an age of skepticism where nothing really makes sense anymore, nothing really makes philosophical sense. Everything’s absurd. But I submit to you, I’m a nihilist. I don’t believe in anything you say to me. But I believe there are some things in this world that are worth fighting for, that there are some things that do make us want to live this life, that there are good things. And a gentleman before brought up the Holocaust, and I hate when people bring up the Holocaust. They do it all the time, but I’m going to do it now.
            When the American soldiers were liberating the concentration camps, did it matter to them whether a black person or a white person liberated them? Absolutely not. That does not negate the good the military has done in this world. I think it’s terrible. I mean, I’ve heard all these things, transgender students not being allowed, the history of black, of segregation of the units, that’s really troubling to me, and I’m ashamed that that’s part of my country’s history. But still, you have to ask yourself the question, would our country be better off without a military? Would the concentration camp survivors be better off if we had never gone in there in the first place? The answer is obviously no. That there’s enough in the military that is worth fighting for and worth believing in. So I urge you to not get hitched up in the idealism that there is practicality to the matter of the military, that there is things that they do. Many positive externalities, yes, I’ll say that, that the military provides in defending our borders and that we should welcome the ROTC back to campus, despite these many philosophical contradictions that I think should be ameliorated. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
AMANDA TORRES (SP?): My name is Amanda Torres. I’m a junior at Barnard College. So on a year-to-year basis the high school I attended didn’t have textbooks or enough desks for all the students, but we definitely had a huge military presence in our school. We had ROTC. We had, yes, predatory recruitment in our schools. They were at every lunch period, they were at every career fair, they were the only types of literature at our guidance department. And people try to put a positive perspective on this saying that you’re giving an opportunity to go to school through scholarships, but why should they have to choose that route to get a better education.
            In 2010 the U.S. government spent $663.8 billion on the military and only $46.7 billion on education. Maybe a juggling of those funds might help students get to college on their own. Just saying.
            I’m not against individuals in the military. As I just said about their presence in my school, obviously I have many, many friends in the Marines and in the Army and Air Force. And my brother just signed his contract to the Marines for officers candidate school, and for the people who are arguing that it’s good to have ROTC here, to have elite leaders, officers’ candidate school will do that because then you could finish college and then choose to be in the military instead of using it as a way to be in college.
            There are many reasons why I’m against bringing ROTC back to campus including my stance against sexual violence, discrimination and war. But as someone who has witnessed predatory recruitment firsthand, I want to bring up a question that’s been asked today and which was asked at the last town hall meeting. I’m not sure if we’re ever going to get an answer for it, but I’d really like to know how this is going to affect the Harlem community, because it’s much too close for comfort. That’s all. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
JESSIE STOLMAN (SP?): Hello. My name is Jessie Stolman, and I’m a freshman at Barnard College. And I just want to bring up one point. It’s been a little unnerving hearing people associate bringing back ROTC to campus and changing military policy, especially in terms of discrimination. But I just want to point out that DADT was repealed without ROTC coming to Columbia’s campus. And I don’t think we need ROTC to come to Columbia’s campus in order for transgender individuals to be allowed to serve in the military. That is all. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
DARRYL BARUZZI (SP?): Hi. I’m Darryl Baruzzi. I’m a junior in Columbia College. I wanted to stress the point about the role of a liberal arts education in a democratic society. I think it’s really predicated on the commitment to free thought as an inalienable right of all human beings. ROTC, to give academic credit to a curriculum that teaches people to kill, to extinguish free minds, is just completely antithetical to the values, to the commitments of a liberal arts education. And we’re talking about specific people who are the targets of this extinguishing. We’re talking about 7,000 civilians in Afghanistan who have been killed from 2007 to 2010. I mean who has the right, the inalienable right to free thought that a liberal arts education is supposedly founded upon. Thank you.
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
NATHAN ASHE: Hi. My name is Nathan Ashe. I’m a sophomore in the College. I just had two quick points The first is in this meeting in the past when people have made the logical fallacy of assuming that if something didn’t happen to them, it doesn’t happen at all. Specifically with sexual abuse in the library and with predatory conduct. Just because it doesn’t happen to you, does not mean it does not happen. I just want to clarify that. [Applause]
            And my second point is about the word discrimination, which, if you will allow me one second. Okay, good. To make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit. So because we do not allow a discriminatory institution on campus does not make Columbia discriminatory itself. I just want to clarify those two things. And I fully support and am extremely happy and honored to have veterans and ROTC cadets on campus, but we need to clarify the whole transgender issue before we allow ROTC back on campus. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
DAVID FINE: Hi. My name is David Fine. I’m a sophomore in the College, and I’m sorry that she left, but I think I would be embarrassed if my dean got up and spoke for ten minutes and that speech was devoid of any opinion or substance. So I just want to say that to begin with. [Applause]
            I want to address the last question: is there a relationship between military engagement and Columbia’s identity? Herman Wouk, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Caine Mutiny,” opens with the protagonist sleeping in Furnald Hall. I lived in Furnald Hall last semester. And Herman Wouk was a graduate of Columbia College, and he also served in the military during World War II. Anybody who’s read that novel will know that it heavily criticizes the institution of the military and the hierarchical organization of it. But to me Herman Wouk represents the ideal of the Columbia student, someone who’s committed to public service but also willing to criticize the institutions that he or she serves. To me Columbia is the institution of Hamilton and Herman Wouk as much as it is the institution of Edward Said. Organizations like CU Dems and CU Republicans operate on campus here. LGBT community, CSJP, the Hillel—all these organizations who have varying divergent opinions operate freely on this campus, and we’re all better off for it.
            I see no reason why we should exclude one more voice in the diverse community that we have now. And that voice would be the ROTC. John Adams once said, sorry, “I must study politics and war that our sons may have the liberty to student mathematics and philosophy.” Fortunately today, the soldiers who protect our freedoms have the ability to do both. They have the ability to serve in the military and study mathematics, and philosophy and art and dance if they want to. But unfortunately they’re not able to do so at the elite institutions of our country. To discriminate and to withhold that opportunity from the people who serve our country seems to me to be the most discriminatory. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Thank you very much. Next comment, please.
 
LOGAN DONOVAN: Hello. My name is Logan Donovan. I am a sophomore at SEAS. I’m also a transfer student from the University of Virginia, which has three ROTC programs, and I just want to speak a little bit to my friends’ experience in ROTC. I am pro-ROTC. I want to say that. I am also in that regard not condoning everything that the military does. I think they discriminate, I think there are a lot of things that aren’t right about it. But in that regard, I think we should also allow students the opportunity to choose to be in ROTC if they wish.
            I have several friends in the Engineering School of UVA who would sit next to me in class in their uniforms, participate alongside me. I admired them because they would get up at 6:30 every morning to go running and training and do all this extra work. And they took it on because they chose to. None of them had to join. This was a choice that they made. And I think that people should be able to have that choice because like it or not, the military is part of this country, and I don’t think that, you know, we can necessarily get rid of it. I hope that in some ways we can work to change it and make it more in line with some of the ideals that, you know, that Columbia holds that it may not currently hold.
            And also to that point, it seems like there are some perhaps irreconcilable differences between the view of the Columbia community and the military. But if we can’t bring them necessarily onto campus, I think at the very least we owe it to the ROTC students who do want to participate to make it easier for them to do it in other schools. Whether, you know, making some of their credits apply here, because I don’t believe they do currently, or things like that. So I think there are a lot of options even if they can’t fully bring it back to campus even though I’d like to see that happen. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
ANOTHER VOICE: I’d like to speak about first the word “global.” Today, whether inside or outside the academy, “global” is the catchphrase. But what does “global” mean to Columbia University and what does being global to the U.S. military? Let us recall how many bases the U.S. military has across the globe. A friend said the number, I think it was around a 150-something, maybe more. The point is that diversity and global education are completely antithetical to the flagrant imperialism not just believed but enacted by the military daily.
            I want to call to mind the radical history of Columbia University as many others did. Whether students who were against apartheid occupied buildings against expansion for the last time they tried to build a gym and ROTC tried to come here. The list goes on. If we have a check and balance system in this country, we have to remember that the university is a place, a system, and an institution which should check and balance institutions such as the government and the military. It is the responsibility of the university to question, rigorously question, the status quo.
            This university should not be subjected to the propaganda of the military, but instead should learn its real history. What is this country even founded on? What is the military conquest that founded this country? We can turn to Howard Zinn here, and I’d like you to imagine this in this situation. This is speaking about Columbus. For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain, it did not make the Spanish people richer. Instead, it gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire and lure more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing these wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class. This is what Marx called the primitive accumulation of capital. These were the violent beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics, and culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries. Unfortunately, it is still dominating the world, and it is the right and the responsibility, the duty of the university to challenge this, not to allow it here. Thank you. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Next comment, please.
 
ANOTHER VOICE [Name inaudible]: I’m a freshman in the College. I first wanted to start off by addressing a more personal issue. I heard a lot of people saying tonight that they don’t imagine being here unless the ROTC paid for their education. But I come from a low-income community in the Bronx, and I’m still here due to my own merit. [Applause] So I just wanted to start off with that.
 
MAZOR: Quiet in the audience, please.
 
SAME VOICE: I also want to address the matter that every, not everyone, but the many people who spoke pro-ROTC tonight did admit that there would be discrimination against transgender people. We should not, there’s no reason for us to allow this to happen in order to get some other goal. We cannot allow people to be discriminated against. [Applause]
 
MAZOR: Quiet from the audience, please. Next comment.
 
MATTHEW ARCINIEGA: Hi. My name is Matt Arciniega. I’m a freshman in Columbia College, and I just want to address one point real quick. That we said that Columbia doesn’t have enough interest in ROTC to start it. And I just want to say that I’m proof that there is interest in ROTC that is undocumented, and that there are people that don’t want to go to Fordham early in the morning on Saturday and take extra classes which are the two things which every Columbia student hates. And aren’t going to be out there giving those reports quite yet, and if you bring ROTC to campus you might see that there is more support for that.
            The second thing I wanted to bring up is I see three points up there against ROTC. One that I disagree with, one that I agree with, and one that I know nothing about. The one I know nothing about is the militarization and the imperialization of the world. I don’t really know anything about that, but I do know something about kids that come from impoverished communities. I came from Richmond, California. I think it has the second-highest homicide rate in the country, and I came from a school where 60 percent of kids did not graduate. I’m here on my own merit as well as this young woman from the Bronx, but there are a lot of kids that aren’t, and for those kids the military was the best thing for them. They’re either, right now some of them got into jobs, some of them are out, some of them are in college, which is awesome, but a lot of them are still out there on the streets. A lot of them are in jail, a lot of them are addicted to drugs, a lot of them are dead, and the other proportion of them are in the military and now have stable jobs and are respectable.
            The last thing I wanted to bring up is a point I agree with, the transgender point and the discrimination point in the military. I hate that. I hate that. To join the military and fight for the country I love, I have to join an institution that discriminates against the people I love. I think that’s ridiculous. I think because I think that’s ridiculous that’s another reason I want to join the military, is to be a liberal voice and to be able to get in there and to say this is wrong, why are we doing this? And it frustrates me that I can’t do that right now because the military is so messed up. And to get to that point, I think that the people that change that are people like Barak Obama and people like Robert M. Gates, who were at the top of the military and brought it down. And I think that one thing we can all agree on is the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was an amazing positive event for the military, and that only happened weeks ago. And the military is starting to move in the right direction. I want to be a part of that change. I think what you have to decide is to whether you want Columbia to be part of that change. Thank you. [Applause]

MAZOR: Thank you very much. At this point the event is concluded. For your information, tomorrow we will be releasing the poll to the five schools that we are releasing it to: SIPA, CC, GS, SEAS and Barnard. We should have our third town hall on the 23rd, and you will be having a report released to the Senate on March 4th. Thank you very much and have a good night. Hope we will see you at our next meeting.

END OF MEETING