Columbia ROTC Coverage 2005-2009
21 January 2005 Yale Daily News article "Return
of ROTC is debated: Defense Department shows renewed interest in bringing
program back to Ivy campuses". Note: The article also
discusses efforts to restore ROTC at Harvard and Columbia.
21 January 2005 Associated Press article "Decades
after Vietnam, ROTC making return effort to Ivy League". Note:
The article suggests that the "Captain
and a Sergeant" the military plans to post on the Harvard campus will be
to run "a recruiting office".
21 January 2005 Yale Herald article "The
Next Battle: ROTC at Yale: After a complex history, college military org.
may reoccupy hostile territory".
- 28 January 2005 Columbia University Senate minutes "Update
from the Senate Task Force on ROTC".
31 January 2005 Columbia Spectator
Change for CU in Military Recruiting". Note: The ROTC and
Military Recruiter Equal Access to Campus Act of 2004 was
signed in October.
31 January 2005 Columbia spectator
Senate Debates Student Involvement in Future Task Forces". Note:
The University Senate also heard an interim report from the its ROTC task
force. A "town hall meeting is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 15 for
the task force to listen to the opinions of the Columbia community".
15 February 2005 Brown Daily Herald
in ROTC minimal at Brown despite debate at other Ivies".
Note: Currently there are only two cadets. Another
student said "People at Brown are the
type of people who should be filling the military in large numbers... I
think the military is an institution we should be dedicated to repair and
bring into the 21st century."
15 February 2005 transcript "Proceedings
of the University Senate: Should Columbia restore ROTC? A Town Hall meeting
moderated by the Senate Task Force on ROTC".
16 February 2005 Columbia Spectator
Battle Military Recruit Policies at CU". Note: The
article describes the Columbia
University Senates' Town Hall meeting about the
proposal to return ROTC to Columbia. ROTC proponents discussed how
ROTC at Columbia would be good for Columbia and good for the country and
ROTC opponents cited the
about homosexuality in the military.
16 February 2005 Columbia Spectator column "ROTC,
You Are (Still) Not Wanted Here" by Nick Rosenthal. Note:
The writer calls for preventing discussion of the Columbia ROTC issue in the
New York Times and says that the attitude of ROTC proponents to gays is that
"we like to rape them with broomsticks". See
Hwong letters in response.
16 February 2005 New York Sun article "ROTC
Program May Be Revived At Columbia U". Note: The
Chairman of Columbia's Senate
Task Force on restoration of ROTC, Prof. James Applegate said "If the
faculty senate voted to restore ROTC ... the program would probably come
without academic credit, and ROTC educators would receive the title of
instructor rather than professor. Drill instruction would probably take
place off campus."
18 February 2005 Columbia Spectator
of '68 Haunt Latest ROTC Debate: Current Fight Over ROTC's Return to Campus
is Newest Chapter in Program's Controversial History". Note:
Participants at the Columbia Senate Town Hall on ROTC looked ahead to the
wider campus debate on the ROTC restoration proposal. Student Nate
Treadwell said “This shouldn’t be up to majority opinion...
Nondiscrimination is a principle that shouldn’t be waived if any number of
students want it”.
19 February 2005 "Letter
to the Columbia Senate Task Force on Restoration of ROTC" by
Henry Waller, Columbia Business School '05.
19 February 2005 "Letter
to the Columbia Senate Task Force on Restoration of ROTC" by Shane Hachey
19 February 2005 "Letter to the Columbia
Senate Task Force on Restoration of ROTC" by Eric Chen GS '06.
Note: Chen discusses ROTC and Columbia's non-discrimination
policy and argues that excluding ROTC jeopardizes the university's
principles of diversity and inclusiveness.
19 February 2005 "Letter to the
Columbia Senate Task Force on Restoration of ROTC" by Jason Van
Steenwyk. Note: Jason Van Steenwyk runs the
19 February 2005 "Letter to the
Columbia Senate Task Force on Restoration of ROTC" by Sarah Walter.
Note: Sarah Walter runs the
Trying to Grok
21 February 2005 Columbia Spectator letter "Rosenthal
Wilfully Overlooks the Positive Aspects of Military Service" by Joshua
Chadwick, Law ’05. Note: This letter responds to a
16 February column.
21 February 2005 Columbia Spectator letter "Columnist
Espouses a “Narrow Political Agenda" by Adam Scavone. Note:
This letter responds to a
16 February column.
25 February 2005 Columbia University Senate
Sent to the ROTC Task Force".
25 February 2005 Columbia Spectator column "Free
To Be You and Me" by Shane Hachey GS '04.
25 February 2005 Columbia Spectator letter "Columnist’s
Depiction of ROTC Was Inaccurate and Harmful" by Taylor Hwong, SEAS ’92. Note: This letter responds to a
16 February column.
28 February 2005 Columbia Spectator article "U.
Senate Meets, Responds to MEALAC Debate". Note: "James
Applegate, co-chair of the ROTC Task Force Committee, presented a report on
the Town Hall Meeting about the issue at Columbia on Feb. 15".
3 March 2005 Columbia Spectator editorial "ROTC:
Return". Note: Columbia's student newspaper said
"While we oppose many of the military’s policies, particularly its “don’t
ask, don’t tell” program, we recognize the valuable ideological and
socioeconomic diversity that a military presence would bring to campus... As
we hope the military would change our campus, so would we hope to change the
3 March 2005 Columbia Spectator column "Columbia
Liberals and ROTC Conservatives Can Help Each Other" by Jason Elliott.
Note: The author said "As the debate over whether to bring the
ROTC back to Columbia rages, I’d like to be one of the first left-wingers to
rise in support of reinstating the program... If we—the left wing—want to
fundamentally change the way America’s military is managed, we should do it
from the inside, by becoming the leadership: officers in the armed forces,
or officials in the Department of Defense".
3 March 2005 Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web Today"
item "The New
Generation Gap" by James Taranto. Note: Taranto cites the
column in the Columbia Spectator and suggests that students are "more
patriotic today than their predecessors were in the 1960s and '70s".
- 3 March 2005 GedankenTravelExperiment blog item "ROTC".
Note: The author criticizes reasons cited against ROTC at
13 March 2005 Advocates for Columbia
ROTC flyer "A
Vote for ROTC Is a Vote for Affirmative Action".
13 March 2005 Advocates for Columbia
ROTC flyer "ROTC:
18 March 2005 Advocates for Columbia
ROTC flyer "ROTC
Addresses Class Inequality".
18 March 2005
Students United for America flyer "Why
is the Reserves Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Right for Columbia?".
22 March 2005 Columbia Spectator column "Against
the Proposed ROTC Restoration" by Yi-Sheng Ng, Karyn Lukoff, Katherine
Redmon, Christian Sjulssen, and Dustin Brauneck. Note:
The Columbia Queer Alliance, the Coming Out Group and Q, Barnard College’s
queer student organization, say that "Members of the ROTC have been expelled
after marching in a PRIDE parade, even though some were straight allies".
22 March 2005 Columbia Spectator column "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell, Pretend Nobody Gets Hurt" by Matt Grice.
28 March 2005
Columbia University Senate's
Task Force on ROTC "More
emails to the Senate ROTC Task Force". Note: One writer
says that a "quick review" of ROTC courses
suggest they are "hardly likely to be of
interest to non-ROTC students". A good counterexample is the
course detailed in MIT Sloan Fellows Learn
from Army During Leadership Exercise. The same writer says the "oft-repeated claim is that military
experience is widely valued by civilian employers" which the writer
thinks this is "generally untrue".
Some good example on this issue are in the Associated Press article "Secretive
Military Units Provide Training Ground for Israel's High-Tech Leaders".
Perhaps there would be more such examples in the United States if
universities such as Columbia had ROTC programs.
29 March 2005 Columbia Spectator column "When
Exclusion Breeds Exclusion" by Dennis Schmelzer. Note: The author asks
why the military, which was ahead of society in integration of blacks and
women, lags on integration of gays, and suggests that one factor is the
absence of ROTC programs at elite universities.
1 April 2005
Columbia University Senate's
Task Force on ROTC "Results
of deliberations". Note: The Task Force deadlocked
5-5 on the question of whether ROTC should return despite the
"Don't ask, don't tell" law.
5 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "ROTC
Debate Advances Toward Senate Decision: Task Force Split on Recommendation;
Debate Centers on Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy".
Note: The full University Senate is planning a May 6 vote on the
5 April 2005 Columbia Spectator column "A
Betrayal in Soldier's Clothing" by Matt Smith. Note:
Smith calls for taxpayer-funded scholarships to be free of payback
provisions such as military service.
6 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Panel
Examines ROTC Conflict: Clash Between CU Non-Discrimination Policy And
Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Stressed".
6 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Conservativism
and Feminism Combined". Note: Tammy Bruce, an author and
former chapter head of the National Organization for Women said "the
exclusion of the ROTC is no different from the exclusion of other on-campus
14 April 2005 New York Post column "Columbia's
Bigotry" by Charles E. F. Millard. Note: The column
describes how supporters of ROTC at Columbia offered to make common cause
with opponents of the "Don't ask Don't tell" law and were spurned.
14 April 2005 Power Line blog item "Don't
ask, we'll tell". Note: The preference of anti-ROTC forces
at Columbia for a "Teach-In" instead of a debate is criticized.
14 April 2005 "Union
Theological Seminary, Columbia University: Statement of the Student Senate
Executive Committee". Note: The statement said "We
believe ROTC’s war-making and policy against homosexuals are violations of
the sacredness of human life" and urged shunning the military "until drastic
democratic reforms are made to US foreign and domestic policy ... Some of us
are pacifists and others of us simply reject the US military in its current
15 April 2005
Columbia University Senate "Transcript
of Special Senate Meeting on ROTC".
15 April 2005 Advocates for
Columbia ROTC handout for 15 April Columbia University Senate debate on
Proposal to Restore ROTC "Salient
points for ROTC".
15 April 2005 Power Line blog item "Honor
and disgrace". Note: Scott Johnson recalls the "military brief" solicited
by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger in the University of Michigan
affirmative action case and asks why Bollinger "isn't equally solicitous of
those signatories on the subject of ROTC on campus".
15 April 2005 "Report
to the Columbia University Senate and Personal Statement" by Nate
Walker, co-chair of
Columbia University Senate's
Task Force on ROTC. Note: Walker amends his original
comments on the meaning of the wide agreement that ROTC should return to
Columbia if there were no "Don't ask,
don't tell" law.
18 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "U.
Senate Hears ROTC Findings: Task Force Split 5-5 On Proposal to Return ROTC
19 April 2005 Personal Statement by Fred W. Cook "ROTC
at Columbia". Note:
This statement outlines a plan for an ROTC presence at Columbia. It
is similar to the plan discussed in 2004 for Harvard as outlined in a statement by LTC Brian
Baker and covered in a
16 December 2004 Wall Street Journal article.
Fred Cook is a member of
the Defense Business Board.
14 May 2003,
30 July 2003 and
12 May 2004
Defense Business Board meetings discussing return of ROTC to elite colleges
contain key comments by him, thus his personal statement is likely to
represent Pentagon thinking.
21 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "ROTC
Debate Continues at Open Forum". Note: Nate Walker, co-chair
Columbia University Senate ROTC Task Force, seems to indicate that all 5
who voted for the "ROTC if no DADT" resolution voted against the "ROTC even
if DADT" resolution, meaning that the sole abstention on the "ROTC if no
DADT" resolution was by an ROTC supporter.
25 April 2005
transcript of the panel and discussion,
“Perspectives on the Future of ROTC at Columbia”.
26 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Panelists
Examine ROTC's Role on Campus: With University Senate Vote Approaching,
'Advocates for Columbia ROTC' Sponsors Forum".
27 April 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Univ.
Senate Advances Toward Vote on ROTC: Executive Committee Approves Resolution
on Future of ROTC for May 6 Senate Body Vote". Note:
ROTC Task Force co-chairman Prof. Applegate raised the possibility that a
vote on ROTC may not occur at the 6 May Columbia University Senate meeting.
29 April 2005 article ""Don't ask, don't tell" and ROTC:
Taking the moral high ground at Columbia"
by Michael Segal.
29 April 2005 "For
ROTC at Columbia" by Prof. Allan Silver,
Department of Sociology,
Columbia University. Note: Prof. Silver, who supported removal of
ROTC in 1969, argues for the importance in reducing the civilian - military
29 April 2005 Columbia News Tonight segment "Should
ROTC return to Columbia? A Roundtable Discussion. Guests: Nate Walker,
Co-Chair, ROTC Task Force; Scott Stewart, Columbia student, former soldier."
1 May 2005 New York Times
R.O.T.C. a Truce". Note: The movement at Columbia to
restore ROTC has "signaled a shift in student attitudes toward the
military and encouraged vigorous conversation on campus."
1 May 2005 "The
Case for ROTC at Columbia" by Prof. James
H. Applegate, Professor of Astronomy, Columbia University, Co-Chair,
Columbia University Senate
Task Force on ROTC. Note:
Prof. Applegate suggests that the arguments against ROTC
"arise from our looking inward and
seeing Columbia in isolation".
1 May 2005 INTEL DUMP blog item
back to Columbia's campus". Note: In the responses to
the item, Dave Glazier gives practical reasons why having ROTC is
more important than whether recruiting is on campus.
1 May 2005 Outside the Whale blog item "Columbia
May Reinstate the Campus Reserve Officers Training Corps Chapter".
Note: The importance of universities such as Columbia being
involved in ROTC is stressed because the military now has a "greater
emphasis on dealing with the threat of terrorism but also democratization
and nation and institution building".
2 May 2005 "Tell
Me Again Why Columbia Should Restore ROTC" by Columbia Alliance for ROTC.
4 May 2005 "Statement for the Final
Report of the Columbia University Senate Task Force on ROTC" by Sean
Wilkes CC '06, Member of the Task Force and Chairman of
Advocates for Columbia ROTC.
4 May 2005 Columbia Community
Discusses "Don't ask, don't tell" and ROTC. Note: A
set of actual e-mails debating the "Don't ask, don't tell" issue from a
variety of perspectives.
5 May 2005
Columbia University Senate Task Force on ROTC "Final
Report of the ROTC Task Force".
6 May 2005 Columbia University Executive Committee "Resolution
to Establish a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Program at Columbia
6 May 2005 Advocates
for Columbia ROTC statement on ROTC at Columbia and “don’t ask, don’t tell”
6 May 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Senate
Rejects ROTC's Return: Resolution Overturned in Last Meeting of Year".
Note: The Columbia University Senate rejected a
proposal to invite ROTC to Columbia (this article reports the initial
inaccurate tally). The reason most cited was the "Don't
ask, don't tell law".
6 May 2005
Columbia University Senate transcript of
Senate meeting on ROTC.
6 May 2005
Columbia University Senate "Columbia
University Senate vote on resolution to establish an ROTC program at
Columbia University". Note: The Senate includes
faculty, administrators and students. Although the vote was reported
slightly differently initially, it was 53-10 against establishing an ROTC
7 May 2005 New York Times article "Columbia
U. Senate Votes Against Return of R.O.T.C.". Note:
Alan Brinkley, Columbia's provost, said during the debate "Would we agree to
an organization on campus," that allowed "African-Americans to join this
organization only if they pass for white?"
8 May 2005 INTEL DUMP blog item "Columbia
U. makes a myopic move".
8 May 2005 article "After the
Vote: Why ROTC Belongs At Columbia" by Prof. Allan Silver,
Department of Sociology, Columbia University.
9 May 2005 Columbia Spectator article "Reserve
Officer Training Corps: After Semester of Debate, ROTC To Stay Off Campus".
9 May 2005 New York Sun editorial "AWOL
at Columbia". Note: The Sun notes "the lack of
protest of the policies of the Islamist enemy in respect of gay rights" at
Columbia and argues that one is not "helping the causes of tolerance or
civil rights by staying on the sidelines of this war".
9 May 2005 Inside Higher Ed article "Columbia
Says No, Still, to ROTC".
11 May 2005 Wall Street Journal editorial "A
Tale of Two Columbias: The patriotic and the politically correct".
and 26 May.
13 May 2005 Wall Street Journal column "Neither
Fools Nor Cowards: Barriers between military service and higher education do
a disservice to both" by Eliot A. Cohen. Note: Prof.
Cohen discusses the civilian-military divide in light of Columbia's
rejection of ROTC and the fact that "the institutional military is not all that
eager to re-establish a ROTC presence on elite campuses". See
in response on 18 May. Prof.
Cohen, a Harvard ROTC graduate, is pictured
here at his son's Harvard ROTC commissioning.
13 May 2005 Villainous Company
blog item "The
Wisdom of Solomon". Note: Cassandra discusses the
University Senate vote against ROTC at Columbia and argues that using the
Solomon Amendment for ROTC
removes the argument that universities with ROTC are tacitly
expressing approval for the "Don't ask,
don't tell" law.
16 May 2005 New York Sun article "Fossella:
Federal Money at Risk For Columbia". Note: A
New York City congressman suggests that the Secretary of Defense could
invoke the Solomon Amendment over Columbia's rejection of ROTC.
17 May 2005 Wall Street Journal letter "Columbia,
ROTC and Sexual Orientation" by President Lee C. Bollinger (also on
Columbia's Web site).
Note: Responding to an
Pres. Bollinger writes "After acknowledging that reasonable people can
differ over the military's prohibition on openly gay and lesbian servicemen
and women, the editorial goes on to suggest that those of us who disagree
with that prohibition are anti-military, and to question our motivations."
However, this is not an accurate portrayal of the debate at Columbia.
Columbia ROTC Task Force report makes clear, proponents of the return of
ROTC to Columbia also opposed "Don't ask, don't tell". The
disagreement between pro and anti-ROTC sides at Columbia was whether the
benefits of ROTC outweighed the disagreements with the
federal law. Pres. Bollinger
went on to blame the government for putting an end to the discussion about
ROTC at Columbia, noting that his vote against return of ROTC "was based on
a serious concern for the integrity of the university in the face of the
federal government's use of the power of the purse to force institutions to
compromise their principles". However, the best
indications of Pentagon
intentions available before the vote were that "the
Pentagon cannot provide a positive request or indication to Columbia to
reestablish an ROTC unit on campus because, to do so, would trigger the
Solomon Amendment should Columbia turn down the request".
See also a
letter in response on 26 May.
18 May 2005 New York Sun article "Columbia
To Consider Bringing ROTC Back to Campus". Note:
The chairman of the
board of trustees, David Stern, said he is pushing to
the forefront of the board's agenda the issue of the university's policy
18 May 2005 Wall Street Journal letter "Denying
Students ROTC" by David Thomas. Note: Responding
to Prof. Cohen's
article on 13 May, Thomas states
that "denying students exposure to ROTC and military history is as
short-sighted as eliminating, say, women's studies."
19 May 2005 New York Sun editorial "Wisdom
of Solomon". Note: The Sun calls for the
trustees of Columbia to restore ROTC and notes that "many
of those most committed to pressing the government to change its policy
toward gays in the military are those asking that Columbia open its doors to
ROTC." For examples, see the
Columbia University Senate Task Force Report, this
email discussion and this
proposal for immediate changes in the law.
19 May 2005 Inside Higher Ed article "ROTC
Debate Not Over at Columbia". Note: The
trustees will meet on 4 June and "has invited Senate representatives from
both sides of the debate to answer questions on that, and a host of other
20 May 2005 New York Daily News editorial "Columbia
declares war on ROTC".
23 May 2005 New York Daily News column "Columbia's
old elite a new ROTC enemy" by Shane Hachey. Note:
The submitted text is here.
23 May 2005 Voice of America story "U.S.
Supreme Court Will Review Law that Denies Funding to Campuses that Bar
Military". Note: Columbia University student
Scott Stewart, a gay veteran who supports ROTC on campus, says you have to
associate with the military to influence it.
26 May 2005 Wall Street Journal letter "Columbia's
'Compromising' Exactly What Principles?" by Irving Louis Horowitz.
Note: Prof. Horowitz responds to President Bollinger's
letter about the
on ROTC at Columbia.
30 May 2005 Washington Times column "Honor
thy soldiers" by Suzanne Fields. Note: Fields
discusses the University Senate vote against ROTC at Columbia and quotes
Harvard President Lawrence Summers as saying that military service is
"vitally important to the freedom that makes possible institutions like
Spring 2005 Columbia magazine
Senate Says No to ROTC". Note: Although the Senate
vote was not binding "the administration has pledged to respect the vote".
Nate Walker '08TC, who co-chaired the ROTC Task Force, said "It's clear to
me, from my work on the senate, that when the military stops its invidious
discriminatory practices, Columbia probably will support ROTC's return",
referring to the "Don't ask, don't tell"
law. Provost Alan Brinkley, who abstained from voting as is his
custom, despite an impassioned anti-ROTC speech, said "there does not seem
to be strong intrinsic opposition toward the military, other than with
regard to this discriminatory policy".
August 2005 American Council of Trustees and alumni article "Universities
and the Military: What You Should Know About the Upcoming Supreme Court Case"
by Melvin H. Bernstein. Note: The article recounts the
history of the Solomon Amendment and compares the attitude of the presidents
of Harvard and Columbia towards ROTC.
September 2005 VFW Magazine article "". Note: Many of
the leaders of the Columbia effort were quoted, including Advocates for
Columbia ROTC chairman Sean Wilkes and alumni group Columbia Alliance for
ROTC chairman Ted Graske CC'59.
12 October 2005
American Council of Trustees and Alumni press
101: The Academy and Military Recruiters". Note: ACTA
lists the federal funds at risk under the Solomon Amendment. Of the
listed colleges barring ROTC, Columbia leads with $457 million at
21 October 2005
Columbia University Senate
of September 16, 2005". Note: Senator Paul Duby
reported on the discussions at the June
Trustees meeting about the ROTC issue. When "a Trustee
asked if there was anything else the Trustees were expected to do on this
subject; Sen. Duby said Provost Alan Brinkley answered in one word: No".
The minutes also note that "the Task Force made some recommendations
for improving conditions for Columbia students who are pursuing ROTC off
campus, at Manhattan College or Fordham. One was to provide more assistance
in the form of transportation, or maybe a small office on the Columbia
campus. Another was to assure that any students barred from ROTC because of
their sexual preference would be eligible for equivalent financial support
from Columbia. Sen. Duby said he and Sen. Applegate would discuss these
issues with the provost."
- 25 October 2005 Columbia Spectator column "Columbia
Plays Dirty Pool" by John Mateus. Note: A Columbia
Law student calls interference with military interviews, which blocked him
from being interviewed, "underhanded and sabotage" and criticizes the
unwillingness of Columbia to stop the interference. See also responses
Michelle Rutherford and
- November 2005 The Blue and White article "Embedded
in New York: Or, How I Learned to Stop Whining and Love ROTC".
Note: The article describes some of the ROTC training for Columbia
students "In one Chemical Warfare exercise, Wilkes had to walk through a gas
chamber filled with CS gas (ortho-chlorobenzylidene-malononitrile). Cadets
wore gas masks, but were required to remove them in the middle of the room,
state their name and social security number, and answer a simple question
such as, "What's one plus one?""
7 December 2005 Columbia
Spectator article "Supreme
Court Hears Solomon Amendment Case". Note: The
article mentions how Solicitor General Paul Clement began to argue that the
2004 change to the Solomon Amendment
did not demand greater access for the military than other employers and
Justice Scalia said he was "galloping in the wrong direction".
12 January 2005 GayPatriot blog item "Columbia
University Wants It All". Note: A gay servicemember
says "If Columbia University doesn’t want the federal government on its
campus, fine. But they shouldn’t expect federal dollars."
18 January 2006 Columbia
Spectator op-ed "Veterans
Deserve Better" by Chris Kulawik
CC'08. Note: Kulawik describes an incident on Activities Day in
which a student visiting the Columbia Military Society table was "publicly insulted for being both a minority and a
veteran" by three people in a "violent rant" in which "the table
nearly flipped". The student "submitted a complaint to his dean with
hopes of a thorough investigation and ultimately disciplinary action against
those students who harassed him" and got no response from the
administration. See responses by
Jonah Birch, CC ‘05 and
Todd Murphy, GS '08.
25 January 2006 Columbia Spectator article "A Firm Stance:
CU Marine Reservist Targeted In Angry Confrontation; No Disciplinary Action
Taken". Note: An anti-military incident recounted in an
Op-ed column is covered by the Columbia student newspaper. The
Spectator claims that students urging other students to sign up for ROTC was
"not allowed on campus" at the time. This seems wrong. Even after
the 3rd Circuit court decision
allowing bans on external recruiters, students always
retained the freedom to urge other students to enlist to fight for their
country. After the Supreme Court agreed to review the case, the 3rd
halted implementation of its ruling, removing the restriction on external
25 January 2006
U.S. Military Veterans of
Columbia University press release "Anti-Military
Discrimination at Columbia". Note: The
that Columbia University amend its Discrimination and Harassment Policy to
grant all veterans and military-related persons protected status."
27 January 2006
Columbia Spectator Op-ed "The
Conservative Witch Hunt" by Zach Zill CC '06. Note: One of
the students who "confronted" pro-ROTC students in the "anti-ROTC
incident on Activities Day"
denounces the 25 January Spectator
news article as part of a "witch-hunt"
and denies having made offensive remarks attributed to him.
30 January 2006
Columbia Spectator column "Revisiting
Vietnam" by Monique Dols GS '06. Note: Dols observes that "ROTC
supporters are making headway by recruiting for the Fordham University and
Manhattan College ROTC programs on campus. By increasing the ranks of
military personnel on campus, they are laying the groundwork for the
program’s future return."
She regards this as a negative development and urges people to "expose
the ugly underbelly of US aggression in the world".
1 February 2006
New York Sun article "Veterans
Take Grievances to Columbia Provost".
Note: The provost, who
spoke passionately against ROTC on campus in May 2005, was to hear
complaints about harassment. The article lists an incorrect tally for
the Columbia Senate vote on ROTC in May 2005; it was
9 February 2006
Columbia Spectator article "Sanchez
Lodges Protest: Reserve Marine Files Grievance With SDA Against ISO Protest".
Note: University spokeswoman Susan Brown said Columbia
already includes military status as a protected category in its speech code,
and the protection is not limited to Vietnam-era veterans.
International Socialist Organization member Monique Dols GS ’06 said
post-Vietnam veterans should not have such protection since they enlisted
13 February 2006 Columbia Spectator Op-Ed "ROTC
and the Ivory Tower: Cease Fire" by Adam Weinstein. Note:
A self described "liberal war resister" suggests that if you have
disagreements with current military practices "You bring ROTC back to
Columbia, and you sign yourself up". He suggests that to do otherwise
is to "keep the military and the ivory tower separate and go on with your
life of smug self-satisfaction" and will result in "marginalizing yourselves
and alienating potential supporters". See
letter in response on 21 February.
21 February 2006 Columbia Spectator letter "Military
Veterans Bring Diverse Voices to Columbia Community" by The Executive
Board of U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University (MilVets).
Note: The MilVets point out that Adam Weinstein’s February 13th
column is an example of the political diversity of military veterans on
23 February 2006 Columbia University statement of
nondiscriminatory policies "Equal
educational opportunity and student nondiscrimination policies and
procedures on discrimination and harassment". Note:
The statement begins with the words "Columbia University is committed to
providing a learning environment free from unlawful discrimination".
Since the previous antidiscrimination rules had been used to argue against
ROTC on the basis of discrimination against openly homosexual people in the
military this wording is interesting because "Don't ask, don't tell" is the
law, and there fore not unlawful.
6 March 2006 Columbia Spectator article "Supreme
Court Upholds Solomon Amendment: Columbia Could Face Choice Between ROTC and
Federal Funding". Note: The ruling says nothing
about ROTC and the reasoning used in upholding the Solomon
Amendment, that "recruiters are not part of the law school", does not apply
to a full ROTC program, where instructors are faculty members and ROTC courses
are in the university's list of courses. However, the Pentagon's likely
offer to Columbia was
ROTC satellite office, not a full ROTC program, for which the faculty
appointment and course offering issues would not apply.
8 March 2006 Columbia Spectator
Court Upholds Solomon Amendment: Unanimous Ruling Affirms Military’s Right
to Recruit on College Campuses". Note: ROTC opponent
Nate Walker TC '07 said it was likely that the Pentagon would use the court
victory to seek to restore ROTC at Columbia, while Sean Wilkes CC '06, head
of Advocates for Columbia ROTC, said it was
10 March 2006 The New Republic
College" by Peter Beinart. Note: Beinart describes
the scene outside the Columbia University Senate vote on ROTC on 6 May 2005:
the senate auditorium, some pro-rotc students
hung a banner reading a vote for rotc is a vote for
the heroes of our generation. With the Court decision as her pretext,
Senator Clinton's opportunity is clear: Go to Columbia and tell its leaders
that those students are right...
Today, the Serviceman's Legal Defense Network--which represents gays and
lesbians in the military--understands the same thing. Which is why it does
not oppose rotc on campus, even as it
struggles heroically against "don't ask, don't tell." It is Bollinger and
Brinkley who, by shunning the military, have placed themselves in the
oppositional, anti-liberal tradition of the New Left."
22 March 2006 Columbia Spectator column "Rumsfeld
1, Columbia 0" by Chris Kulawik CC '08. Note: Kulawik
points out that Columbia has many programs that discriminate by race and
gender and concludes that to "claim that ROTC is the only such case ... is
blatant hypocrisy". He also recounts how anti-ROTC students told him
that “The racist military takes advantage of minority students; they aren’t
able to understand what exactly they’re getting into.”
24 March 2006 Columbia Spectator article "Discrimination
Policy Amended: New Policy Wording Adds Military Status to Protected Group
List". Note: When Columbia revised its
antidiscrimination rules to include all military veterans it began the
statement with the words "Columbia University is committed to providing a
learning environment free from unlawful discrimination". Since the
previous antidiscrimination rules had been used to argue against ROTC on the
basis of discrimination against openly homosexual people in the military
this wording is interesting because "Don't ask, don't tell" is the law, and
therefore not unlawful. However, this Spectator article adds another
possible explanation. University spokesperson Susan Brown said that
the new statement "is a semantic clarification, not a policy shift. New York
State Law had already held military status as a protected category, and the
old policy included “any other legally protected status”". This
suggests the possibility that Columbia may have been trying to include in
its policy all forms of unlawful discrimination without meaning to accept
forms of discrimination mandated for the military by federal law, but
Columbia has not commented more definitively on the wording change.
24 March 2006 Columbia Spectator editorial "Opportunity
Disguised". Note: "Getting as many liberal-minded
Columbia lawyers as possible, both gay and straight, into the military’s
judge advocate general corps would be one of the best ways to turn the tide
against “don’t ask, don’t tell” ... Shunting ROTC off to Fordham is a great
symbolic way to protest the military’s policies, but it does very little to
accomplish real progress. Increasing Columbia’s involvement with the
military through recruiting and ROTC might rankle some, but it would be the
best way for Columbians to work for justice."
5 April 2006 Detroit News column "Military
academy attracts new 'greatest generation'" by Thomas Bray.
Note: Bray observes that 62% of the Army's officers come from ROTC
programs "which been making something of a comeback on
college campuses" and notes the student-led effort to return ROTC to
28 April 2006 WNET TV (Channel 13) NY Voices report "Campus
Politics". Note: Sean Wilkes CC '06, chairman of
Advocates for Columbia ROTC discusses the history of ROTC at Columbia.
10 May 2006 My Learning Curve blog item "Shane
Hachey (GS 04) letter to Columbia University Senate. Subject: Columbia
v. The Military". Note: On the first anniversary of
the Columbia University Senate vote against ROTC Hachey notes that "this
vote had no tangible effect on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. It did not
"send a message" to anyone in Washington except that our university is
hostile to the military".
17 May 2006 New York Sun article "At
Columbia, First ROTC Event Since '72". Note: In
contrast to the annual ROTC Commissioning ceremony at Harvard, "the
commissioning ceremony is sponsored by the students, not the university."
Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley, who
passionately against ROTC at the 6 May 2005 Columbia University Senate
meeting that rejected ROTC, will attend the 19 May commissioning.
1 June 2006 "Columbia Hosts
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony". Note: The ceremony
was held on 19 May.
31 August "The
Movement to Restore ROTC at Columbia: Historical Background" by Sean
Wilkes CC'06, Chairman, Advocates for Columbia ROTC.
8 September 2006 "Military
Recruiting at Columbia's Activities Day".
12 September 2006 Columbia Spectator
of Change" by Joanna Bove. Note:
Bove suggests that those who blocked changing Columbia's policy on ROTC were
agents of change. See
letter on 15 September.
15 September 2006 Columbia Spectator
not Such a Victory: Progressives Should Welcome Change"
by Eric Chen GS'06. Note: Responding to a 12 September
column, Chen notes "it is an irony that those who blocked
changing Columbia's policy on ROTC would call themselves "agents of change"".
11 October 2006 Columbia University event
Discussion of Citizenship and Military Service at
Columbia University. Note: Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, co-authors of
AWOL: the Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service—and
How It Hurts Our Country talked and answered questions at Columbia.
20 October 2006 Columbia Spectator
Groups Create Community, Should Also Focus on National Issues"
by Sean Wilkes, CC '06. Note: A recent ROTC
graduate discusses an
article focusing on the atmosphere for gender identity at Columbia and
urges activists to focus on national issue too, such as changing the "Don't
ask, don't tell" law.
24 October 2006 Columbia Spectator
Our Part in a Time of War" by Eric Chen. Note: One of the
main leaders of the ROTC and veterans movements at Columbia wonders whether
to re-enlist or stay in civilian life after graduation.
- November 2006 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Columbia’s
Warrior". Note: Matt Mireles interviewed Josh Arthur
CC '04, in Iraq after graduating from Columbia College and Army ROTC.
Arthur describes how he decided to go into an Army combat unit.
3 November 2006 Columbia Spectator
Kerry's Botched Joke" by Brandon Hammer. Note: Hammer
says it is "pretty true" that students who don't do well in school get
"stuck in Iraq". See
response on 10 November.
10 November 2006 Columbia Spectator
Op-ed column "Stupid
Soldiers" by Matthew Dunn and Michael Podberesky. Note:
Responding to Brandon Hammer's 3 November
column, they assemble the evidence that soldiers are above average on
many measures of intelligence and income, with fewer at the high and low
extremes. The lack of an ROTC program at elite colleges may account
for some of the data.
Similar data was assembled by the New York Times.
14 November 2006 Columbia Spectator
Op-Ed column "Wake
Up Dems, Liberalism is Dead" by Rudi Batzell. Note:
Batzell calls for increasing the proportion of the military that comes from
higher socioeconomic groups, but doesn't call for restoring ROTC at
- 25 November 2006 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Letters
From Baghdad: Our First Dispatch From the Front Line" by Josh Arthur CC
'04. Note: Arthur, recently graduated from Columbia and
ROTC, is stationed in a Sunni area and describes finding bodies of
Shiites "in open fields near mosques, on heavily trafficked corners, or
simply in sites that are known as places to expect to find bodies."
1 December 2006 The New Republic
Academy and Iraq: War College" by Andrew Delbanco. Note:
Prof. Delbanco writes "For the vast
majority of students and faculty in places like Columbia--it's different for
support and maintenance staff, who are more likely to have friends or family
in the line of fire--war is an utter abstraction rather than an imaginable
fact. Perhaps the deepest divide in our country today runs between
those for whom the war is a relentless threat to loved ones and those for
whom it is a TV show to be switched on and off. At places like
Columbia, the former is our most underrepresented minority group."
See the 18 December Weekly Standard
response and the 1 January
response by Austin Byrd.
- 2 December 2006 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Letter
from Baghdad - Dispatch # 2" by Josh Arthur CC '04. Note:
Arthur, recently graduated from Columbia and ROTC, describes how Iraqis are
targeting each other more than Americans, but counterinsurgency remains
4 December 2006 New York Post column
Double-Talk: Ivy's 'Inclusion' Excludes Military" by Matt Sanchez.
5 December 2006 BWOG (Columbia University Blue and White
Blog) item "Here
we go again...". Note: An item on the incident in
which Columbia student Matt Sanchez was insulted for his military service is
followed by a wide-ranging discussion that included ROTC. Issues
discussed include the question of why Columbia bans ROTC, citing
discrimination against gays, but does not ban Red Cross blood drives in
which gay men are not allowed to give blood.
16 December 2006
Marine Corps Commissioning Ceremony at
Columbia University - Mark Xue, CC 06.
18 December 2006 The Weekly Standard Scrapbook item "Utter
Abstractions at Columbia". Note: Responding to Prof.
Andrew Delbanco's New Republic
article the Weekly Standard notes "Delbanco never mentions in his
essay that in Columbia's case (as with many other elite universities) there
is a simpler explanation than social class for the situation he laments.
Columbia banned the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) from its campus
in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam war. And as recently as May 2005,
Columbia's Senate (an advisory panel of faculty and students) voted 53-10 to
keep Morningside Heights pristinely military free."
See the 1 January
response by Austin Byrd.
- January/February 2007 Columbia College Today letters from Josh Arthur CC'04:
December. Note: Arthur, recently graduated from ROTC and
Columbia, describes his deployment and experiences in Iraq.
1 January 2007 The Weekly Standard
of Columbia" by Austin Byrd. Note: A first year
student and Marine Corps officer candidate responds to the 18 December
item on the military and Columbia by noting that "the general feeling
toward the military community is one of apathy, which in some ways is more
difficult to confront than the passion of campus radicals". Byrd
explains that the pro-military students at Columbia "have adopted the
strategy of promoting interaction between the military community and the
general student body" to overcome this apathy.
1 January 2007 Marine Corps Times column "Missing the big
picture" by Matt Sanchez. Note: Military veteran and
Columbia student Matt Sanchez describes how at a recruiting event a group of
students started chanting "The military exploits minorities!" to which he
responded "I'm a minority; I joined the military, and I don't think I'm
being exploited." and was told "That's because you're stupid — too stupid to
realize you're being used as cannon fodder." Sanchez goes on describe that
"For the academics, joining the Corps over attending an Ivy League school
was an obvious sign of desperation."
8 January 2007 The Morningside Post (official blog for
Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs) blog video item "Columbia's
Student Soldiers". Note: Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley said
"We're not a particularly attractive campus for ROTC because we don't have
space, and the level of interest among our students would probably be
relatively low and the Pentagon has not asked us to host an ROTC unit, so
its not as if we've refused".
- 15 January 2007 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Special
Web-Only: Interview with Lt. Josh Arthur, CC ‘04" Matt Mireles.
Note: Arthur, recently graduated from Columbia and ROTC, describes
how he decided to serve in the military.
18 January 2007 The New Republic column "Military
Academy" by Anthony Grafton. Note: A Princeton
professor notes that Princeton has more connections to the military than
many other elite colleges, and recommends that "We
who teach young men and women need to know more about what we ask some of
them to do on our behalf and what it takes to do their jobs".
22 January 2007 Columbia Spectator op-ed "No
Shame in Service" by Sean Wilkes CC'06. Note: The
recently graduated head of Advocates for Columbia ROTC quotes Lt. Gen. Sir
William F. Butler, who warned that "The nation that will insist upon drawing
a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is
liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards."
24 January 2007 Military
Recruiting at Barnard's Activities Fair 2007
27 January 2007 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed "Gliberalism"
by Ruth Wisse. Note: Professor Wisse, a member of
Advocates for Harvard ROTC, cites the
ban on ROTC at elite universities as a prime example of an attitude "that
leaves to others the responsibility for governance, and arrogates to itself
the right to criticize". See 28 January comment by Columbia Prof.
28 January 2007 Comments on
Prof. Ruth Wisse's article "Gliberalism" by Prof.
Silver. Note: Silver, a sociology professor at
Columbia and a a leading proponent on the faculty for return of ROTC to
Columbia, suggests that both the universities and the country's leadership
could do better to create an atmosphere conducive towards return of ROTC to
elite universities. His comments were prompted by Prof. Wisse's 27
article in the Wall Street Journal.
- 1 February 2006 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Letter
from Baghdad - Dispatch # 3" by Josh Arthur CC '04. Note:
Arthur, recently graduated from Columbia and ROTC, describes an engagement
with a lone sniper and how his men showed restraint until they were
confident they had identified the attacker.
- 8 February 2006 The Eye (Columbia Spectator) article "Letter
from Baghdad - Dispatch # 4" by Josh Arthur CC '04. Note:
Arthur, recently graduated from Columbia and ROTC, describes his most
enduring memory in Baghdad, retrieving a soldier with a fatal wound.
15 February 2007 Columbia Spectator Op-Ed "When
Anti-war is Anti-peace" by Eric Chen GS'07. Note: One
of the leaders of the ROTC and veterans' movements at Columbia observes how
anti-war sentiment is undermining nation-building. Through an error, a
non-final version of this article was published. The version that was
suppose to be published is
22 February 2007 Wall Street Journal article "A
Retreat From Big Cities Hurts ROTC Recruiting: Though Army Seeks More Ethnic
Officers, It Shuns Northeast" (free link with the article
attributed to AP
here). Note: By having few ROTC
programs in big cities, the military is missing out on recruits who have
familiarity with foreign cultures and languages. One of the offices said of
New York City "There were times when I felt like I was back
in Iraq. There were people dressed in those man-dresses that they wear in
Iraq. The women had veils. I know I shouldn't say this, but it made me want
to look for IEDs". Some additional material is at
this free WSJ link. See 25 February
Intel Dump blog
item for discussion.
25 February 2007 Intel Dump Blog item "ROTC
retreats from American cities". Note: Blogger Phillip
Carter discusses the 22 February
article and many respond, including sources for the original article.
16 March 2007 film "Indoctrinate-U".
Note: According to the film maker Evan Coyne Maloney, "about 5 minutes
or so in the film" is material dealing with ROTC "near the end of the film. A number of
people have told us they feel it is the most infuriating footage in the
film." "The segment discusses both ROTC and military recruiters on
and the various efforts to bar them from campus. We have footage from San
Francisco State, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia and Hobart. U.C. Santa Cruz,
Yale.... We get right inside the protests themselves, some of which were
quite nasty. All of this is discussed in the context of what sorts of views
are welcome on campus (Ward Churchill, for example) and what is not (quite
literally, the American flag, which was actually removed from a number of
campuses immediately following the September 11th attacks). It packs quite
an emotionally powerful punch."
19 March 2007 Columbia Spectator column "Bringing
the Military to Columbia" by Matt Sanchez. Note:
Sanchez describes discussions with Columbia officials about healing the rift
between Columbia and the military.
17 May 2007
Remarks by the President at Joint Reserve Officer Training Corps
Commissioning Ceremony. (Video
here) Note: President George W.
Bush said "All of you have made many sacrifices to receive your commission.
Yet some of you have had to endure even greater hardships -- because your
universities do not allow ROTC on campus. For those of you in this position,
this can require long commutes several times a week to another campus that
does offer ROTC, so you can attend a military class, participate in a drill.
Most of all, it means living a split existence -- where your life as a cadet
or midshipmen is invisible to most of your fellow students. Every
American citizen is entitled to his or her opinion about our military. But
surely the concept of diversity is large enough to embrace one of the most
diverse institutions in American life. It should not be hard for our great
schools of learning to find room to honor the service of men and women who
are standing up to defend the freedoms that make the work of our
universities possible. To the cadets and midshipmen who are graduating from
a college or university that believes ROTC is not worthy of a place on
campus, here is my message: Your university may not honor your military
service, but the United States of America does. And in this, the people's
house, we will always make a place for those who wear the uniform of our
country." Among the officers sworn in at the ceremony were Erik Sand
of Harvard, Diana Clough of Stanford and Bret Woellner from Columbia.
17 May 2007 Associated Press article "Bush
says ROTC has a place on campus". Note: "Three of the
officers in the White House ceremony came from schools that don't allow ROTC
on campus, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Columbia
University. Bush saluted their extra sacrifice."
17 May 2007 United States American Forces Press
Service article "Gates
Commissions ROTC Cadets at White House". Note: "A
change in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act allows the president,
vice president or secretary of defense to administer the oath of commission
17 May 2007 United States Department of Defense photos "White
House Commissioning Ceremony". Note: One of the
photos is of U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff with graduating Harvard ROTC student Erik Sand and his mother.
More photos here
17 May 2007 Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog item "Bush
Assails Colleges That Shun ROTC Units". Note: The
Chronicle notes that in addition to colleges that ban ROTC there are
colleges where there is no ROTC program because the Pentagon concluded that
there were "poor prospects of finding good recruits".
- 17 May 2007 New York Sun article "Bush
Rebukes Universities On ROTC Ban". Note: "Yesterday's
ceremony featured a diverse group of cadets from all 50 states and included
a graduate student at Columbia, Bret Woellner, who was commissioned as a
second lieutenant in the Army. The president's statement took
officials at a few leading universities aback. Spokesmen at NYU and Harvard
and Yale universities, which also do not offer ROTC on campus, did not
respond publicly. Riaz Zaidi, president of Columbia's Hamilton
Society, a military group, said the president's words were "gratifying."
Mr. Zaidi, a cadet in the Fordham ROTC program, said that while he thought
the military should reconsider the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Columbia
should reinstate the officer-training program regardless." See
response by Paul E. Mawn,
head of Advocates for Harvard ROTC.
- 18 May 2007 New York Sun reader comment "Observations on the
commissioning select ROTC students in the White House" by Paul E. Mawn.
Note: The head of Advocates for
Harvard ROTC responds to the previous day's
article and wrote that
universities "need diversity which is also based on opinion and provides a
climate of tolerance and acceptance for undergraduates who believe in duty,
honor and country".
18 May 2007 New York Sun editorial "Redeeming
Columbia". Note: Citing Columbia's rejection of ROTC
in 2005 and the ROTC commissioning of Columbia student Bret Woellner, the
Sun wrote "a generation or so hence the shame of Columbia will be lessened,
its honor redeemed by the fact that Lieutenant Woellner made his choice, got
up early, did his drills, learned to lead, and, in the East Room of the
White House, stepped forward to accept a commission from the Congress in a
time of war."
27 May 2007 Washington Times editorial "Bring
back ROTC". Note: "It's time for Harvard, Columbia,
Yale and other schools to heed what President Bush said last week: "It
should not be hard for our great schools of learning to find room to honor
the service of men and women who are standing up to defend the freedoms that
make the work of our universities possible." It's time to give ROTC a
30 May 2007 Letter from
Columbia University School of General Studies Dean Peter J. Awn inviting
members of the armed services to apply to Columbia. Note:
Dean Awn wrote that "the experience and talents that these students bring to
Columbia enhance immeasurably the academic discourse in the classroom" and
announced Columbia's new military-veteran Web site:
7 September 2007 Wall Street Journal
by Shane Cotner. Note: Responding to an
article about the role of alumni in university governance, Cotner wrote
"Dartmouth alumni are fortunate to have a man like T.J. Rodgers to represent
their views, and a mechanism that allows those alumni to elect leaders like
him to its board of trustees. As an alum of Columbia, my views have no
comparable representation of which I am aware. When I hear about Columbia
pursuing policies such as the banning of ROTC, and its lack of punishment
for students who abuse conservative speakers, I realize I have no recourse
20 September 2007 Weekly Standard column "Columbia
University: Ahmadinejad Yes, ROTC No" by William Kristol. Note:
Kristol contrasts hosting a talk and question period by the Iranian
president with Columbia's prohibition of ROTC based on its campus.
20 September 2007 Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web Today" item "Columbia's
Priorities" by James Taranto. Note: Taranto
embellishes William Kristol's
point about the Iranian president and ROTC by noting that Iran executes
people for homosexual acts.
20 September 2007 New York Sun article "Outrage
Builds Over Ahmadinejad Visit to Columbia". Note:
Mr. McCain said "A man who is
directing the maiming and killing of American troops should not be given an
invitation to speak at an American university. Rather than rolling out the
red carpet for the leader of a terrorist-sponsoring regime, Columbia should
be welcoming the Reserve Officers' Training Corps back on campus to honor
the men and women who put their lives on the line every day defending our
21 September 2007 Wall Street Journal editorial "Lee
Bollinger, Tough Guy". Note: The Journal criticizes
Columbia for hosting the Iranian president, yet not allowing ROTC.
- 22 September 2007 Fox & Friends
Interview with Ted
Graske Jr., Chairman of the Columbia Alliance
for ROTC. Note: Graske discussed the irony of
Columbia hosting Iranian President Ahmadinejad and banning ROTC from campus.
- 24 September 2007
Fox News interview with Columbia student Kelley Victor-Gasper '09.
Note: Victor-Gasper, a Marine corps officer candidate notes the
irony of Columbia's welcoming of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and banning
of ROTC from campus. He notes that the ROTC ban is a protest against
US law about homosexuality in the military, yet Ahmadinejad's regime
executes people for homosexuality.
27 September 2007 speech by Senator John McCain
at the Hudson Institute. Note: McCain noted that the
Iranian president was welcomed at Columbia but ROTC was not, and said
"Harvard and other great American universities remain closed to ROTC, whose
graduates represent the bulk of the officers commissioned into our Armed
Forces each year. Some academic elites may not like ROTC, and they are free
to voice their objections. But they are wrong, and I stand with the many
graduates of these institutions who for years have been trying in vain to
bring ROTC back to their campuses."
4 October 2007 Columbia Spectator column "ROTC
Presence Is Not a Free Speech Issue" by Rebecca Evans. Note:
Evans observes "We certainly did not, and will not, invite Ahmadinejad to
set up a campus-based institution intended for recruitment and training... A
more apt and pressing statement is this: if Columbia truly cares about
questioning the ideologies and actions of those with whom it disagrees, it
will welcome a military or government official who would be willing to speak
to—and be spoken to by—the Columbia community".
29 October 2007 Columbia Spectator column "Why
Columbia Needs the Marine Corps and Vice Versa" by Michael Christman.
Note: A 2000 engineering graduate joined the Marines and urges
others to do the same. "How can Columbia hope to produce the next
generation of American leaders if it refuses to walk a mile in the shoes of
those of whom we ask the most?"
14 November 2007 Fordham Law Review 76: 955-79 "Myth
and Reality of University Trusteeship in the Post-Enron Era" by José A.
Cabranes. Note: Judge Cabranes, a
trustee of Columbia University, notes how "trustees play no significant
role even on major questions relating to the external relations of
universities to the government that subsidizes them in so many ways, for
example, whether a university should offer its students the opportunity to
participate in reserved [sic] officers’ training corps (ROTC) programs.
The usual playbook is this: Trustees are informed by presidents that, for a
variety of political or academic reasons, the faculty would find the return
of ROTC intolerable and that any action to the contrary by trustees would
make the president’s own position within the university untenable. Given the
power of the faculties, the president is probably right. In any case,
trustees will be reluctant to make the president vulnerable in the polity he
knows far better than they."
2 December 2007 Army ROTC Commissioning
Ceremony at Columbia University.
15 January 2008 Federal News Service transcript "The
Democratic Debate in Las Vegas". Note: Moderator Tim Russert
asked "There's a federal statute on the books which says that, if a college
or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a
ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding. Will
you vigorously enforce that statute?" Senator Clinton said "Yes, I will...
I think that everyone should make available an opportunity for a young man
or woman to be in ROTC, to be able to join the military and I'm going to do
everything I can to support the men and women in the military and their
families." Russert followed-up by asking "Of the top 10 rated schools,
Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, they do not have ROTC programs on campus.
Should they?" and Clinton responded "Well, there are ways they can work out
fulfilling that obligation. But they should certainly not do anything that
either undermines or disrespects the young men and women who wish to pursue
a military career." To the same question about ROTC Senator Obama
responded "Yes. One of the striking things, as you travel around the
country, you go into rural communities and you see how disproportionally
they are carrying the load in this war in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan. And
it is not fair. Now, the volunteer Army, I think, is a way for us to
maintain excellence." Senator Edwards also responded affirmatively but
switched immediately to discuss veterans' issue. None of the candidates mentioned the "Don't ask, don't tell" law
cited by these universities in banning ROTC.
22 January 2008
Young America's Foundation ad "Bring ROTC back
onto Columbia's campus!" in the Columbia Spectator. Note:
The quotes are from the
Las Vegas Democratic presidential debate.
28 January 2008 Columbia Spectator column "ROTC
Policy Opens Columbia to Awkward Comparisons, Criticisms" by Josh
Hirschland. Note: Hirschland observes that "student and
administrative actions have made it easier for those from outside the
University to caricature it as anti-American" and "Columbia may have to
adapt to changing circumstances or risk irreparable damage to its standing".
29 January 2008 Columbia Spectator editorial "ROTC,
Not DADT". Note: Columbia's student newspaper called
for the return of ROTC to campus, arguing that "the military has too
integral a role in American culture and society to be summarily banned from
campus... to deny the military access to campus outright disengages Columbia
from military issues and renders the University largely irrelevant in
discussions of how issues like DADT should be addressed." See
letter on 31 January
and a note from the
editor on 31 January.
31 January 2008 Columbia Spectator "Letter
to the Editor" by Aries Dela Cruz. Note: The vice
president of the Columbia Queer Alliance criticizes the
that took a position on ROTC rather than following "Spec’s intended role as
an objective instrument of campus media" and upholding "fundamental values
of equality and justice".
31 January 2008 Columbia Spectator "Note
From the Editor". Note: The editor clarifies that the
29 January editorial
"was intended to convey the belief that Columbia should meet the needs of
all its students. This includes the needs of those who desire to enlist in
the ROTC program—but this also includes the needs of those who believe ROTC
violates basic human rights."
4 February 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Candidates,
Cadets Wrestle With ROTC Presence". Note: The article
discusses how to create an atmosphere supportive of ROTC at Columbia, from
increasing the number of ROTC students to pleading with the military ‘Please
take us seriously—we want to serve.’
8 February 2008 Columbia Spectator column "Keep
Columbia Out of the War" by David Judd. Note: Judd
writes that it is a "black mark" on Columbia that a tenth of a percent of
its endowment is
invested in defense contractors, and "by maintaining its investments,
Columbia does not maintain its neutrality. It has chosen to own a piece of
the war". He argues that Columbia should not support ROTC since the
mission of the military "currently centers on a disastrous occupation".
25 February 2008 Columbia University Hamilton Society
"Why We Serve" Event. Note: Photos from the even described
the next day in a Columbia Spectator
26 February 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Military
Men Reflect on Careers, Motivations". Note: The
Hamilton Society, an undergraduate military advocacy group, sponsored a
program in which recent veterans described their experiences in the
military. Air Force Staff Sergeant Jason Kimberling said “I’ve walked
through a lot of villages in Afghanistan where the Taliban has come through
and cut the hands off all the children... When you see those things, it’s
pretty clear in my mind the difference between what’s right and what’s
wrong. I know why I’m there.” Photos are at this
Spring 2008 Columbia Owl article "Invaluable
Vets". Note: Columbia "boasts the largest number of vets in
the Ivy League". Provost Alan Brinkley said “The opposition to ROTC
was based on the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that violates our
own anti-discrimination rules... I don’t believe those who opposed
ROTC on those grounds had any animus towards veterans or the military.”
3 September 2008 Columbia University press release "ServiceNation
Announces Columbia University to Host "ServiceNation Presidential Candidates
Forum": Presidential Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will Kick-off
the Two-day Summit on Civic Engagement and Public Service on Sept. 11".
Note: The 9/11 timing, the setting at Columbia and the
inclusion of military veterans make it likely that the ROTC issue will be
discussed. As noted in the
ServiceNation press release, "the public is encouraged to submit
on-topic questions for the candidates at
9 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Student
Leaders Work to Expand ServiceNation Event". Note:
Outside the 11 September presidential candidate forum at Columbia there will
be "student groups managing voter registration, information booths to
encourage community service, and bins for canned food donations. In addition
to music and an open mic, organizers will set up a photo montage of students
involved in community service".
11 September 2008 Townhall column "An
Absence of Service" by Austin Byrd. Note: Byrd, a
sophomore at Columbia and a Marine Corps trainee, notes the upcoming
presidential candidates' forum on national service and writes "Columbia
University has shown a glaring lack of service for 40 years, following its
ban of ROTC from its campus in 1968. How can one discuss fulfilling
service to one’s nation without considering what is one of the vital forms
of fulfillment, that of military service? ... In what moral calculus
could one’s sexual orientation ever trump the monumental gift of citizenship
in and open, free, and safe society?" He also notes "Even small
gestures, such as waiving the Physical Education requirement for students
involved in training could have a positive cultural impact at Columbia."
11 September 2008 Congressional Quarterly transcript "Obama
and McCain Remarks at ServiceNation Summit Forum". Note:
Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama discussed ROTC. McCain brought
it up himself, saying "And frankly, we’re here in a wonderful institution.
I’m proud that my daughter graduated from this school. But do you know that
this school will not allow ROTC on this campus? I don’t think that’s right.
Shouldn’t the students here be exposed to the attractiveness of serving in
the military, particularly as an officer? ... I would hope that
these universities would re-examine that policy of not even allowing people
who come here to represent the military and other Ivy League schools and
then maybe they will be able to attract some more." Senator Obama was
asked by moderator Richard Stengel "your alma mater, invited President
Ahmadinejad of Iran to be here last year, but they haven’t invited ROTC to
be on campus since 1969. Should Columbia and elite universities that have
excluded ROTC invite them back on campus?" Obama replied "Yes. I think
we’ve made a mistake on that. I recognize that there are students here
who have differences in terms of military policy. But the notion that young
people here at Columbia or anywhere, in any university, aren’t offered the
choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a
mistake. That does not mean we disregard any potential differences in
various issues that are raised by the students here, but it does mean that
we should have an honest debate while still offering opportunities for
everybody to serve, and that’s something that I’m pretty clear about."
11 September 2008 ObamaPolitics.com blog item "Why
McCain, Time, and Obama Are Wrong About ROTC". Note:
Wilson, author of Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest, points out the
lack of parallelism between Columbia's hosting of an appearance by Iranian
President Ahmadinejad and Columbia's decision not to host ROTC programs
since one involves speech and the other involves setting up an educational
program. He suggests alternatives for reconciling university norms
ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964. An ROTC program at Princeton
already implements many such approaches.
12 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Despite
Campaign Halt, Event Focuses on Political Issues". Note: The
article discussed the pro-ROTC statements by Senators McCain and Obama at
11 September presidential candidate forum at Columbia and interviewed
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden after the event, who
agreed that ROTC should be a choice on campus. “I think that there should be
ROTC on campus. No one has to show up and sign up. Just as I defended this
University’s right to invite Ahmadinejad, regardless of how bad that
judgment may have been, how can you say that there should not be an ROTC
12 September 2008 WNYC Brian Lehrer show "School
of War". Note: The show played the audio clip of Senator
Obama's answer on ROTC at the
11 September presidential candidate forum. Scott Jaschik, the
editor of Inside Higher Education, noted Senator Obama's opposition to the
"Don't ask, don't tell" law and observed that "if Obama were able to execute
all of his plans, the opposition of many on campus to ROTC units might also
evaporate". He added that "some people are arguing that American
society would benefit if more military leaders were educated at places like
Columbia". Robert McCaughey, professor of history at Barnard College
and a former naval officer responded to Senator's Obama's position on ROTC
by saying "I was surprised and pleased; it happens to correspond to my own
view, both for the nation's purposes but also for Columbia's; I would hope
Columbia would reconsider this".
12 September 2008 National Review "Campaign spot" item "Obama,
All Talk, No Action on Bringing ROTC Back to Campus" by Jim Geraghty.
Note: Geraghty noted Senator Obama's pro-ROTC remarks at the
11 September presidential candidate forum and wrote "it would have
helped if the senior lecturer/professor had ever said or done something
about it while he was teaching at the University of Chicago, which kicked
ROTC off campus during the Vietnam War ... The University's student
opined in favor of bringing back ROTC."
12 September 2008 Critical Mass blog item "Serendipity
and ROTC" by Erin O'Connor. Note: O'Connor argues
that "the place to protest DADT, which the majority of us
can easily see is misguided and wrong, is not ROTC. It would be a great,
great thing to see Columbia decide to re-open the ROTC question, not only
out of respect for all kinds of service, not only out of respect for
Columbia students' desire to see ROTC return, but also out of respect for
students' intelligence and freedom of choice."
12 September 2008 Media Matters for America article "Fox's
Williams falsely suggested Obama has changed position in now supporting ROTC
on campuses". Note: The left-of-center media watch
group documents that Senator Obama took an approach to ROTC in a 15 January
Democratic presidential debate that was similar to the position that he took
at the 11 September ServiceNation forum at Columbia University.
13 September 2008 Wall Street Journal editorial "Obama
and McCain v. Ivy League". Note: The Journal
described the boos in the audience at the
11 September presidential candidate forum when Senator McCain called for
lifting the ban on ROTC at Columbia and the "silence when crowd favorite Mr.
Obama (Columbia '83) called the ban "a mistake"". The editorial asked
"if a bipartisan rebuke on ROTC is enough to shame Columbia and the other
Ivies into changing their dishonorable act". See
on 27 September.
13 September 2008 Washington Post editorial "ROTC
and the Ivies: The presidential candidates agree that the de facto ban by
elite universities should end." Note: The Post
observes that "the restoration of ROTC at the Ivies might help reconnect two
important American subcultures -- elite academia and the military officer
corps -- that have grown apart".
14 September 2008 BWOG blog item "Student
Councils and Groups Meeting to Hold Referendum on ROTC". Note:
The blog of The Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine,
reports that "representatives from the CC, GS, and SEAS student councils, in
conjunction with SGB, the College Democrats, CQA, CPU, the Hamilton Society,
and the College Republicans, have been meeting since school began to discuss
plans for a student referendum on the return of Naval ROTC to campus."
15 September 2008 New York Sun article "Columbia
Students May Vote on ROTC". Note: The article reports
that a vote to hold "a student-wide referendum about whether the military
program should be allowed ... could come as early as this week." The
article also described the reaction of 7,500 people watching video feed of
11 September presidential candidate forum at Columbia. "Mr. McCain
was booed by students when he voiced his opposition to the ban, but that
when Mr. Obama expressed a similar sentiment, the crowd had a different
response. "Almost everyone's expecting him to say no, because he's on
our side, right? So then you heard him say 'yes' and everyone's mouths
opened in stunned silence. It was absolutely priceless," Mr. Hirsch said."
15 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "CCSC
Unveils Student Referendum Process". Note: A
committee will look into ways to do online surveys of students to gauge
approval for matters such as return of ROTC to Columbia.
15 September 2008 Columbia Spectator op-ed article "Obama
Flip-Flops on ROTC" by Hannah Jones. Note: The
writer, a Columbia College senior, argued that Senator Obama was wrong to
suggest that Columbia students don't have a choice about serving in ROTC
because they are free to do ROTC off campus and support ROTC verbally on
15 September 2008 National Review article "Duty,
Honor, Country… and Columbia: Bringing back the ROTC" by David J. Feith.
Note: Feith, a senior at Columbia, recalled the hosting of
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Columbia in 2007. "The value
of engaging with Ahmadinejad, [Columbia President Lee] Bollinger argued,
outweighed the costs of sharing a prestigious podium with a murderer of gays
(not to mention American troops). Maybe the experience has led Bollinger,
who in 2005 voted to uphold the ROTC ban, to reconsider the costs and
benefits of sharing a campus with ROTC cadets and drill instructors."
15 September 2008 New Republic column "Obama:
Right on ROTC " by Marty Peretz. Note: The Editor-In-Chief
wrote that Senator Obama's support for ROTC at the
11 September presidential candidate forum at Columbia "did not surprise
me at all. It is an expression of his understanding the essentials of
democratic life. That we need a military is axiomatic. That we need a bright
and curious military follows from this first principle." Peretz also
wants to know what Senators McCain and Obama think of the "don't ask, don't
16 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "ESC
Views Proposal For ROTC Referendum". Note: "A
student-referendum protocol that would allow students to vote to express
their opinions on controversial issues made its way through the Engineering
Student Council Monday night with some resistance."
18 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Attempting
to Approach Controversial ROTC Referendum, Student Leaders Wonder Who Should
Have a Say". Note: "The newest push to revisit the
ROTC policy was spurred by engineering students who have expressed
frustration that the naval ROTC—a route, they say, to recouping college
loans—doesn’t operate a program in Manhattan."
18 September 2008 Columbia University College Democrats "Statement
on NROTC". Note: The statement says that NROTC "has
no place in our community or on our campus" as long as the "Don't ask, don't
tell" law is in place, and brands the law, passed by a Democratic Congress
and signed by President Clinton, as unconstitutional.
19 September 2008 Christian Science Monitor article "Will
Ivy League Embrace R.O.T.C. Again?". Note: The
article notes that although it is unlikely that many Ivy League graduates
would enter ROTC programs, "the impact on the military, and on the East
Coast elite that still struggles with military service, would be enormous".
22 September 2008 BWOG blog item "ROTC
Meetings Opening to All Groups; Senators Pushed Out". Note:
The blog of The Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine,
discusses the process by which student councils are to decide on an ROTC
24 September 2008 BWOG blog item "ROTC
Public Forums Announced". Note: The blog of The Blue and White,
Columbia's undergraduate magazine, published the email from Adil Ahmed
CC'09, Columbia College Student Council Vice President for Policy,
announcing plans for public forums on ROTC.
24 September 2008 Columbia Spectator Op-ed "Legislate
Slow, Homie" by Adil Ahmed CC'09. Note: The Columbia
College Student Council Vice President for Policy explains the rationale for
a student survey on ROTC before the matter is taken up again by the
University Senate: "If the survey shows that most students do not support
the Navy ROTC, the senate will not even consider it. If there is
overwhelming support, then it will surely take precedence on the senate’s
25 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Student
Councils Plan To Hold Forums on NROTC". Note: The
student councils will host an open meeting on 26 September to plan forums
addressing the possible return of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.
"University Provost Alan Brinkley said that he personally would have no
problems with ROTC if it repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But, Brinkley added,
the issue may be moot. “It’s very unlikely that ROTC would choose to come
back to Columbia because there is just not enough interest in that to
justify multiple ROTC units in the city,” he said." It is not clear
whether the contention that DADT is something other than a federal law was
made by the Provost or assumed by Spectator.
25 September 2008 Columbia Spectator Op-Ed "Why
We Should All Care About DADT" by Chuck Griffith. Note:
Griffith makes the human dignity argument for repealing DADT and does not
even mention the sexual privacy and unit cohesion arguments that prompt
others to think that having gays in certain roles in the military is
25 September 2008 Columbia University Office of the President "Statement
Regarding ROTC and the Campus" by President Lee C. Bollinger.
Note: President Bollinger points out that students already have some
ROTC opportunities available at other area colleges, and that current
military policy is to aggregate ROTC programs so as to achieve proper scale.
He concludes "it is not at all clear whether a change of policy would have
any impact on the current practice of having our students travel to one of
the other campus ROTC sites, as do virtually all other students at New York
area colleges and many others across the nation."
25 September 2008 BWOG blog item "PrezBo
Speaks On ROTC". Note: The blog of The Blue and White,
Columbia's undergraduate magazine, comments on Columbia President
email to the Columbia community about the ROTC issue.
The blog item
observes "unfortunately for the NROTC planners, the email also shows that
PrezBo has not been paying attention to their efforts. Contrary to
Bollinger's claim, there is no Naval ROTC program for Columbia students."
However, this is not correct since President Bollinger did not claim that
there is currently a Naval ROTC opportunity for Columbia students; he merely
neglected to point out that existing ROTC opportunities are limited to Army and Air
Force programs. Furthermore,
making the claim that Bollinger has ignored the Navy part of the issue would
require knowledge of all his deliberations, an assertion that is not
25 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Bollinger
Defends Campus ROTC Ban in Email". Note: Spectator
quotes from President Bollinger's
email to the
Columbia community about the ROTC issue, which did not mention Naval
ROTC specifically, and noted that "student leaders have said they want to
deal specifically with NROTC because, unlike other branches of ROTC, it's
not an option for Columbia students."
26 September 2008 Columbia spectator article "Pres.
Bollinger Weighs In on ROTC Debate". Note: Rajat Roy,
SEAS ’10 and a University senator for the Engineering Student Council, "said
that if [undergraduate] students don’t support the return of NROTC, senators
representing them won’t consider it. But he pointed out that graduate
students and their senators also have the option of raising the issue to the
26 September 2008 BWOG blog item "Exciting
New Details About the NROTC Forums". Note: The blog
of The Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine, reports
that Student Councils will be encouraging the pro- and con- sides on the
ROTC to organize and self-select a total of six students who would be
representing them at the Columbia and Barnard forums slated for late
26 September 2008 Power Line blog item "Lee
Bollinger's Policy". Note: The item denounces as
sophistry Columbia President Lee Bollinger's reference to the "Don't ask,
don't tell" federal law as a "policy of the Defense Department". It is
unclear, however, whether Bollinger was intentionally misleading or just
echoing the misleading title of the
which refers to itself as "Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed
26 September 2008 Letter from
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
president Ann D. Neal to the trustees of Columbia University calling for the trustees
to reconsider Columbia's ban on ROTC. Similar letters were sent to the
governing boards of Harvard, Yale, Brown and Stanford.
27 September 2008 Wall Street Journal letters "Allow
Freedom for ROTC on Campus". Note: In response to the
about ROTC at Columbia, one of the letters, by Columbia alumnus and retired
Navy commander Edward A. Cook, calls on Columbia University to "allow at
least one ROTC office on campus".
27 September 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education column "ROTC
and Relativity" by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg CC'59. Note:
The former president of George Washington University notes the pendulum swing from the 1960s, when students pushed
for excluding ROTC at Columbia, to now, when they are pushing for its
29 September 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Councils
Set Details of ROTC Forum". Note: The article states
"The current discussion revolves around NROTC specifically because it is not
available to Columbia students, unlike the other branches of the corps,
which operate programs on nearby campuses." Although there is a
Navy ROTC program at SUNY
Maritime in the Bronx, it is Navy policy only to allow students from
other campuses if their university has a cross-town agreement with the
host NROTC program. There is no such need for cross-town agreements
for Columbia students doing Army or Air Force ROTC at nearby colleges.
29 September 2008 Columbia spectator article "USenate
Plenary Addresses ROTC, Economy, Brinkley". Note:
President Bollinger said the University’s 2005 decision on ROTC would only
be re-examined if students brought the issue to the Senate.
29 September 2008 New York Sun article "'Don't
Ask, Don't Tell' Cited In Bollinger's Opposition to ROTC".
30 September 2008 Wall Street Journal column "A
Columbia Marine: To Obama: Help!" by William McGurn. Note:
McGurn profiles Austin Byrd CC'10, who has gone through Marine training.
Byrd says "What Columbia needs is a debate that cuts to the heart of this
issue ... whether ROTC is fit to be on our campus."
1 October 2008 Columbia Spectator article "ROTC
Debate May Return to USenate". Note: James Applegate,
a professor of astronomy who served as co-chair of the task force in 2004-5,
said of the new student-led ROTC initiative "This is a new thing for
students, and faculty are saying, ‘Hey, we did this yesterday.’"
2 October 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Alumni
Org Calls For Return Of ROTC". Note: The
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
sent letters to the governing boards of Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Brown and
Stanford calling on them to reconsider their bans on ROTC. "Paul E.
Mawn ’63, the chairman of Advocates for Harvard ROTC and a retired Navy
captain, said in an interview yesterday that ACTA “may not understand what
the realistic target is” and that the goal should be official recognition" by
the Harvard Corporation, "not the opening of a ROTC branch at
Harvard. “The reality is that there are so few students at ROTC
anyway, so tomorrow if Harvard begged and pleaded the Pentagon to bring it
back on campus, they wouldn’t,” Mawn said. “What has evolved around the
country is core sites like MIT that service several different schools. MIT
has the critical mass and good facilities and classrooms for the courses and
drilling and other activities. There is no critical mass at Harvard.”".
Mawn called upon Harvard to pay the overhead fee for Harvard students taking
ROTC courses at MIT, currently paid by the alumni-funded "Friends of Harvard
4 October 2008 Eric's Learning Curve blog item "Response
to Columbia President Bollinger's e-mail on ROTC " by Eric Chen.
Note: One of the leaders of the 2002-2005 ROTC advocacy
movement at Columbia University writes between the lines of Columbia
President Bollinger's 25 September email on ROTC.
12 October Barnard Bulletin opinion article "The
ROTC Debate" by Sigourney LaBarre. Note: LaBarre
quotes various arguments on the ROTC issue, mostly against ROTC, including
the contention by Rahel Aima, CC ’10 and leader of Students for a Democratic
Society, that ROTC should be opposed "not only because of the military’s
discriminatory policy against homosexuals, but also because of its
discrimination against all minorities".
17 October 2008 When and Why ROTC Should Return
to Columbia --- Position and Discussion Paper by Allan Silver, Professor
of Sociology, Columbia University. Note: Professor Silver
presents a detailed history of the ROTC issue and why Columbia should
re-engage with ROTC.
20 October 2008 Columbia Spectator Op-ed "A
Bias-Free Campus?" by Learned Foote CC'11. Note:
Foote, the President of the Columbia College Class of 2011 and treasurer of
the Columbia Queer Alliance, argues for asking the military for an ROTC
program at Columbia despite the "Don't ask, don't tell" law. "We
cannot address discrimination by distancing ourselves from the military. We
cannot ignore Columbia’s potential to create a liberalizing influence from
the bottom up."
20 October 2008 BWOG blog item "New
Dates for ROTC Survey". Note: The blog
of The Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine, publishes
the Student Government Association email announcing that the ROTC
referendums will be conducted in the week of 17 November, and the forums
will be in the week of 10 November.
23 October 2008
Aries L. blog post on ROTC. Note: The blogger, an
architecture student at Columbia, expresses skepticism that the Navy would
open an ROTC program at Columbia, and an ROTC advocate makes the case for
ROTC at Columbia using statistics, analysis and history to detail the
current and likely interest in ROTC from Columbia students.
24 October 2008 Columbia Spectator column "On
ROTC, Who Does Columbia Speak For?" by Armin Rosen. Note:
Rosen compares Columbia's hosting of a speech by Iranian president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad to its unwillingness to host an ROTC program.
28 October 2008 Columbia Spectator Op-ed "Palling
Around with Traitors, or Those Who Feel Like Them" by Noah Baron '11.
Note: Baron writes that as a gay student he'd feel unwelcome
with ROTC on campus, fearing that "return of the NROTC will establish, for
the first time in a long time, an entire department at this institution in
which an entire section of our student body cannot participate".
28 October 2008 Columbia Spectator Op-ed "Making
the Case for the Military" by Peter Meijer '10. Note:
Meijer writes "“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is an atrocious policy, but it is
largely a product of the very disconnect between the armed forces and
general society that the administration’s ROTC ban fosters.... Supporting
ROTC is not a vote for the military and its policies. It is a vote to bring
knowledge of our fighting forces to campus, for the benefit of both the
university and the armed forces."
6 November 2008 BWOG blog item "First
Signs of ROTC Debate Appear". Note: The blog
of The Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine, shows a
poster "from the anti-ROTC coalition (so far including the Dems, Lucha, CQA,
EAAH, and Proud Colors)."
7 November 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed "Obama
Needs a Strong Foreign Policy" by Will Marshall. Note:
The president of the Progressive Policy Institute gives advice to the
president-elect: "At a Sept. 11 summit on national service at Columbia
University, Mr. Obama chided his alma mater for barring ROTC from campus
during the Vietnam War. As America's next commander in chief, Mr. Obama
should take that message to other elite universities, and to places like the
Marine Recruiting office in Berkeley, Calif., whose mayor, Tom Bates,
earlier this year called the Marines an "uninvited and unwelcome guest."
Such gestures would go a long way toward allaying suspicions that the
Democratic Party harbors anti-military attitudes."
10 November 2008 Questions and Answers About NROTC
by Columbia Students for NROTC. Note: Columbia students outline
the case for Naval ROTC at Columbia in advance of the student survey
scheduled for 24 November.
11 November 2008 Columbia Spectator editorial "From
Murky Talks to Dialogue". Note: Spectator discusses
the planning of the survey on NROTC.
11 November 2008 Columbia Spectator Commentariat blog item "Today
in ROTC-Related News: What Were They Thinking?" by Armin Rosen '11.
Note: Rosen sees the lopsided anti-ROTC event planned for the
evening of Veterans' Day as evidence that "these groups don’t really want
11 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Brace
for Impact! What's Ahead for the NROTC Debate". Note:
The blog shows the "rather interesting poster" used to advertize for an
anti-ROTC event and links to the website of
Columbia Students for NROTC.
12 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Anti-NROTC
Groups Raise Their "Voices"". Note: Professor David
Eisenbach, one of the anti-ROTC panelists, agreed in response to a question
that "Don't ask, don't tell" is a federal law and it is "now it is up to the
politicians to end it".
12 November 2008 Columbia Spectator article "NROTC
Forum Previews Survey Opinion". Note: A coalition of
anti-ROTC groups held a panel discussion with a question and answer period.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
pulled out of the event at the last minute. The article notes that
"Some students who had graduated from the ROTC program also commented and
asked questions, emphasizing their disapproval of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
and challenging the panelists on some of their assertions."
14 November 2008 Columbia Spectator op-ed "Why
ROTC Should Return to Columbia" by Prof. Allan Silver. Note:
Silver, who opposed ROTC when it was de-certified in the late 1960s, writes
that "The conspicuous absence from military service of those headed for
leading positions in society is a civic scandal... When military service is
not broadly shared, military and civilian society risk an unhealthy mutual
isolation". He proposes that Congress reform the "Don't
ask, don't tell" law and reconsider some provisions of the
ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964, and the military increase the number of
urban ROTC programs. "The government and the military must decide
whether to invest in a diverse, regionally balanced, educationally qualified
military leadership. Columbia must decide if it is prepared to include ROTC
among its responsibilities... Whether you support ROTC now or after DADT’s
reform, vote “yes” in the upcoming survey. Only voting “yes” makes it clear
that in principle you want Columbia to make that contribution".
17 November 2008 Columbia Spectator article "ROTC
Survey to Open Nov. 24". Note: The corrected
version of the article gives the
wording of the ROTC question as “Would you support bringing a Naval ROTC
program to Columbia's campus at this time?”.
The article also repeats the common error of referring to "military’s Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell policy", while in fact DADT is required by
18 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Anti-NROTC
Coalition Holds Meeting with Councils, Dems Put Up New Posters; UPDATE:
Pro-NROTC Responds". Note: An anti-ROTC poster is
shown claiming that "If we were to welcome ROTC onto our campus, the 19% of
our population who identify as LGBTQ would be legally barred from taking any
ROTC-specific courses" and the pro-ROTC side countered by demonstrating that
this is not the case at MIT. An anonymous poster in the comments
section suggests that pro-ROTC people "take all the energy you're investing
here in trying to get the university to bend over backwards to accommodate
ridiculous policy like DADT and instead combine forces with all the other
pro-ROTC groups at other campuses and put pressure on congress to fix DADT."
That is in fact being done; details of such efforts over the past several
years may emerge at the 19 November forum.
18 November 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Councils
to Host One Discussion Forum, Not Two, on NROTC". Note:
The forum will be on 19 November at 7 PM. The survey will be open for
at least a week after 24 November, until 55% or more of students respond.
"The group Columbia Students for NROTC held its own event on College Walk
yesterday, offering passersby a script to call and petition congress members
to repeal DADT. Justin Johnson, SIPA ’10, is a member of the group, and said
despite opposing DADT, he would vote to bring back NROTC because it would
draw more open-minded and affluent students to the military and because the
government, not the military, is to blame for DADT."
19 November 2008 Columbia Spectator column "Yes
on NROTC" by Lauren Salz BC'11. Note: Salz, director
of the College Republicans, writes "If the military is not what we want it
to be, then we must work within the system to change it. To get the best and
the brightest into the military, we must allow the military to train officer
candidates on our campus."
19 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Tonight's
NROTC Forum - Now With a Format!". Note: The event
will have "3 questions about the impact on student life, the role of
Columbia's NROTC history, and the role of DADT in the debate" as well as 30
minutes of audience questions.
20 November 2008 BWOG blog item "NROTC
Forum: Prepare for the Survey". Note: The anti-ROTC
side based its case heavily on the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law and the 2 of the 4 people speaking for the pro-ROTC side were
gay veterans who argued that both the military and Columbia need the
diversity of thought that would result from an ROTC program. Rahel
Aima CC'10 of Students for a Democratic Society and the Columbia Coalition
Against the War "compared the enforced adherence to military standards in
the ROTC to forcing everyone who reads the Symposium to engage in
20 November 2008 Columbia Spectator article "In
Anticipation of Campus Survey, Panelists Debate DADT Policy".
Note: "Pro-NROTC students called for the reinstatement of NROTC on
Columbia’s campus, a move they believed would change ... discriminatory
practices from the bottom up. Students against NROTC’s return argued that
keeping the program off campus would be a symbolic protest against biased
20 November 2008 Columbia Spectator editorial "The
Right Kind of Conversation". Note: Spectator wrote
that the 19 November NROTC forum "allowed for a structured conversation to
take place and should be used as an example for future discussions of
contentious campus issues".
20 November 2008 Columbia Spectator ad "Faculty
in Support of ROTC". Note: The text is "We broadly
support the return of ROTC to Columbia University -- some of us
unconditionally, others if legislation prohibiting military service by open
homosexuals is reformed, and/or provision made for faculty control of
appointments, curriculum and credit. We all believe, in principle,
that an ROTC program at Columbia is an appropriate educational
responsibility of the university."
20 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Prof
Club Backs NROTC". Note: "Some heavy (and
not-so-heavy) hitting faculty came out in the Spec today endorsing NROTC's
presence on campus. Bwog is inquiring into the genesis of the list--mostly
male--and will update as information becomes available." Others are
welcome to sign the ad too.
item on 21 November.
21 November 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Vets,
Cadets Weigh in on NROTC Debate". Note: The
article says that "one group has largely remained silent: Columbia students
who participate in ROTC programs", while in fact one of the cadets, Kelley
Victor-Gasper CC '09 was one of the panelists at the 19 November forum and
three other current military students have been very involved in the current
ROTC effort and had volunteered to be panelists if needed. The article
also quotes once of these students, Army ROTC cadet John McClelland as
saying that "ROTC is not inconvenient to us" due to the availability of Army
ROTC in the Bronx. This underscores the current focus on providing an
option for students wishing to do Navy ROTC, for which the only NYC program
is both off-limits to Columbia students and also much farther away than the
Army program at Fordham.
21 November 2008 BWOG blog item "The
Origin of the NROTC Professor Statement of Support". Note:
In response to a
item, Sociology professor Allan Silver writes to explain the origin of
the faculty pro-ROTC ad. "There is
no mystery, nothing is concealed, all is transparent."
23 November 2008 Petitions Online "Columbia
Faculty Opposing ROTC". Note: An online petition
takes an anti-ROTC position that appears to go far beyond opposition to the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law. It reads "We, the undersigned, represent a
diversity of disciplines, personal experiences, and political viewpoints.
However, as faculty members responsible for creating a welcoming community
for all, committed to eternal questioning and the vital interplay of ideas,
we are united in our opposition to the institution of an ROTC program on the
Columbia campus." In contrast, an
ad to appear in the Columbia Spectator on 24 November takes a position
focused on DADT. Of the first 13 signers of the
petition that is anti-ROTC per se, 10 signed the anti-DADT petition as well.
23 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Professors
Sign Petition Against NROTC on Campus". Note: The ad
to appear in the Columbia Spectator on 24 November appeals against moving
forward on ROTC on the basis of president-elect Obama's plans to reform the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law: The ad reads "In contrast to those who have
expressed support for ROTC based on hypothetical conditions, we recognize
that any position on ROTC must be grounded in the present. Don't Ask, Don't
Tell is official policy and exceptions cannot be negotiated". See also
an online petition that opposes ROTC per se, with no explicit mention of DADT. Of the 34 signers of the anti-DADT
petition, 10 also signed the petition that is anti-ROTC per se.
24 November 2008 BWOG blog item "ROTC
Survey In Your Inbox Now". Note: After many different
reports, we now have the wording of the Columbia College version as "Do you
support bringing a Naval ROTC program to Columbia's campus?"
24 November 2008 College on the Record blog item "Vote
No on Columbia's ROTC Survey". Note: "almamater"
dismisses the right of students to choose to do ROTC by writing "if ROTC was
so important, students should have factored it into their college
decision... The same goes for underprivileged students.... Remember, guys,
this is Columbia, aka the University of Havana North. This is a school where
we don’t observe Columbus Day of out respect for the struggles of Native
Americans, even though our school is named after Columbus."
25 November 2008 Associated Press article "Survey
polls Columbia students on support for ROTC". Note:
The article quotes some as defending the right to have a total campus ban on
any activity that discriminates against gays, and others as defending the
right to freedom of choice to enroll in an ROTC program.
25 November 2008 Response to ROTC Posters
by Columbia Students for NROTC. Note:
Photos of posters by the coalition opposing return of ROTC to Columbia are
accompanied by an analysis of the arguments made in the posters.
25 November 2008 Fox News article "Columbia
University to Vote on Allowing Military Training Program on Campus".
Note: The article refers to a group called "Columbia Advocates
for ROTC", presumably meaning "Columbia Students
for NROTC". The article also notes that "Columbia
has been working with the Defense Department" on the issue but no
further details were given. A video version is
here, adding more errors such as the composition of the University
Senate and the process by which ROTC left campus 4 decades ago.
- 25 November 2008 BWOG blog item "Fox
News Talks About You Talking About ROTC".
- 25 November 2008 Fox News video "Discrimination
Debate". Note: The video segment discusses the ROTC
issue at Columbia and the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law. One of the students interviewed is Lauren Salz
(whose name was mis-spelled). Also included is a video tape of then
senator Obama expressing his support for ROTC at Columbia.
- 25 November 2008 Columbia Spectator Commentariat blog item "Faculty
Hypocrites Against ROTC" by Armin Rosen. Note: Rosen
Faculty anti-ROTC ad that opposes moving forward on "hypothetical
conditions" such the Democratic party implementing the commitment in its
to "repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”". He illustrates how 4 of the
signers have written in detail about hypothetical conditions in other
- 26 November 2008 New York Post article "Hope
for Columbia's ROTC". Note: The article mentions
scholarships as an argument for ROTC.
- 29 November 2008 Parade Magazine article "The
Fight For ROTC". The article notes that "Although more than 600
colleges in the U.S. allow ROTC programs on campus, Harvard, Yale, Columbia,
Brown, Tufts, Stanford, and the University of Chicago have maintained the
bans they began in protest of the Vietnam War... “The seven
schools who exclude ROTC produce many of our leaders, yet their students
have the least contact with the military,” says Sean Wilkes (Columbia
University ‘06), chair of Advocates for Columbia ROTC."
- 30 November 2008 New York Times article "A
High Achiever Poised to Scale New Heights". Note: In an
article about Eric Holder, expected to be nominated as US attorney general,
his student days at Columbia are described. "When he arrived at
Columbia in 1969 as a boyish-looking freshman, he was recruited by
upperclassmen to help take over the R.O.T.C. office. Armed with pillowcases
and sheets, he joined several dozen students and christened the office as a
student center named for Malcolm X."
- 30 November 2008 Fox News video "NROTC and Columbia U". Note: Avi Edelman of Columbia's
College Democrats and Learned Foote of
Columbia Students for NROTC debate the return of Naval ROTC to Columbia.
Foote stressed that the way to get rid of the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law is through Congress or the courts. When asked if he
would give up his opposition to ROTC if students vote to bring it back,
Edelman said "I won't give up my personal opposition".
- December 2008 Columbia Political Review article "Between
the Trenches: NROTC, Queer Identity, and the Soul of a University" by
Bryan Lowder. Note: "NROTC itself isn’t the real
issue—it’s just the symbol of a deeper conflict. Past all the rhetoric, the
real fight is over the ideological soul of the University. In a sense,
the anti-ROTC side envisions an institution that stands as a model to the
rest of society. Free from prejudice and discrimination, the school should
be a so-called “safe space,” where academics work to improve the world
without interference from governments. The creation of such a space, in
their view, challenges societal injustice by refusing to participate in its
propagation. The pro-ROTC side has a more hands-on perspective. It
imagines the University as inexorably linked to the nation-state (including
the military), with an essential duty to engage directly with that
- 2 December 2008 BWOG (Columbia) blog item "NROTC
Survey Results for CC, SEAS, GS: NROTC Loses By 39 Votes". Note:
It is not clear from the pooled results whether one or two of the three
schools voted in favor of NROTC. Results from Barnard were not yet
reported, but were expected to favor ROTC less than other schools.
- 2 December 2008 Columbia spectator article "Students
Roughly Split on NROTC Return". Note: The article
notes that the survey was fought primarily over the issue of the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law. The
Platform includes the following language: "We support the repeal of
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the implementation of policies to allow qualified
men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation" so support
may change as the Democrats get a chance to implement their platform.
- 2 December 2008 Columbia Spectator Commentariat blog item "Was
the NROTC vote “fair?”" by Armin Rosen. Note: Rosen
quotes a report that 4905 votes were recorded, including one ID for which
276 votes were recorded, and that after eliminating duplicates, 2971 votes
were counted. If all this represents is elimination of non-final multiple
votes using one ID, the tally implemented the procedure as announced.
The 276 votes using one ID may be from the posting of the voting URL for one
- 2 December 2008 BWOG blog item "GSSC
President Calls NROTC Survey "Meaningless"". Note:
BWOG quotes the full email to the College of General Studies student body
from Student Council President Brody Berg expressing concerns about the
NROTC survey vote. One of the comments raises the prospects that
"someone apparently used a "scattershot" approach - submitting the form with
random identifiers in the hopes of landing upon a valid identifier."
Judging from the length of the alphanumeric password apparently need to make
a vote with a particular ID number valid it seems that a well-designed
system would not be vulnerable to such hacking.
- 2 December 2008 BWOG blog item "BC's
NROTC Results". Note: Barnard students voted 736 to
453 against NROTC.
- 2 December 2008 Columbia Spectator column "Educate
Yourself, Student Government" by Adil Ahmed. Note:
Ahmed argues that the the student government leaders should have gotten more
involved in the details of discussions about issues such as NROTC at
- 2 December 2008 Columbia Spectator Commentariat blog item "One
Last, Mindboggling ROTC Survey Screwup: Councils Failed to Divide Votes by
School" by Noah Baron. Note: Baron characterizes the
ROTC survey as "effectively pointless" due to the failure to report vote
tallies separately for Columbia's three undergraduate schools.
- 3 December 2008 Columbia Spectator article "Next
Step Unclear After Split Survey Results". Note:
University Senator Rajat Roy, SEAS ’10 said that because Columbia’s three
undergraduate schools were lumped together in the poll, it will be difficult
for senators to determine how to vote. “They didn’t divide up the vote by
school, which was surprising, since that was first thing we [senators] told
them to do,” Roy said.
- 3 December 2008 BWOG blog item "Why
Did ROTC Get 65% Student Support in 2003 and Only 49% in 2008?"
Note: The item mentions three hypotheses: less favorable attitude
towards the military, increased LGBT presence, and a difference in the
university and national political climate.
- 4 December 2008 Columbia Spectator column "ROTC:
Wrong in 1968 and Wrong Today" by Andrew Lyubarsky CC '09. Note:
Lyubarsky writes that "All the respectable voices of the liberal
establishment here, from University President Lee Bollinger to Professor
David Eisenbach, have expressed that they would bring ROTC back with open
arms once DADT is reversed." Lyubarsky disagrees, citing the military
as "an institution which invades sovereign nations, bombs cities with white
phosphorus, and tortures detainees in secret prisons". He does not
discuss the question of whether the military would be a better institution
if it had more Columbia graduates.
- 4 December 2008 Eric's Learning Curve blog post "80%
of Columbia students did not vote against NROTC" by Eric Chen. Note:
One of the leaders of the 2002-2005 ROTC advocacy movement at Columbia
University ponders the state of mind of the 57% of Columbia students who
didn't vote in the recent NROTC survey, and wonders how much of this apathy
was due to lackluster efforts of the student councils to present the issues.
- 5 December 2008 Human Events column "Even
Obama Can't Get Columbia University To Listen" by Flagg Youngblood.
Note: Austin Byrd, vice-president of the Hamilton Society,
described how their "get out the vote" effort on the final day of the ROTC
survey was short circuited by the voting being ended earlier than they had
expected. The survey email said "The survey will be open until
December 1, 2008", which was interpreted by those running the vote as being
9 AM on that date.
- 7 December 2008 BWOG blog item "NROTC
Ends Not With a Bang, But a Whimper". Note: "Council
and Senate sources confirm to Bwog that NROTC will not even be presented to
the Senate. Whether individual school results will be released for CC, SEAS,
and GS is still unknown."
- 7 December 2008 BWOG blog item "Learned
Foote Argues for ROTC in the WSJ". Note: In the
comments, some raised the question of what the
could achieve by appearing after the ROTC vote, and others pointed out that
there are votes coming up in Congress on the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law, which would affect future consideration of ROTC at
- 7 December 2008 New York Magazine item "Ivy
Leaguers in the Foxholes: ROTC back at Columbia? " Note:
The item looks ahead to what may happen if the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law is repealed.
- 8 December 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed "Why
Columbia Should Welcome ROTC: Bad policy on gays is not a good reason for a
Learned Foote. Note: One of the leaders of
Columbia Students for NROTC
explains why, despite the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law , he and other gay students think it is crucial for top
universities to engage actively with the military and for their ROTC
graduates be a "liberalizing influence from the bottom up".
"Let us do our duty as Americans. Let us imagine a military that represents
our best values."
- 8 December 2008 Columbia Spectator Commentariat blog item "Our
Fraudulent ROTC Vote" by Armin Rosen. Note: Judging
by the two voting URLs examined by Advocates for
ROTC, the one that appeared
transiently in BWOG and another reportedly sent around by College
Democrats, the query string of the URL contained two identifiers: a three or
4 digit ID number, and a 24 character alphanumeric string. Presumably
the alphanumeric string was a password that needed to match that assigned
for the ID number in order for a vote to count. Two types of invalid
votes are predictable using such a system: people repeatedly using the
valid ID/password combinations that were circulated, and people attempting
to vote for another ID number without knowing the correct password.
Presumably both types of improper voting would be detected. One could
argue whether the first or last or no vote should be counted for the
disclosed ID/password combinations, but clearly no vote should be counted
for the bogus ID/password combinations.
- 8 December 2008 Solomonia blog item "Bringing
ROTC Back to the Columbia Campus". Note: "A Columbia
student has exactly the formula for getting homosexuals accepted by straight
society and moving policies like 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' into obsolescence
-- forget the 'Gay Pride' freak shows, and demonstrate that gays are simply
another part of a functioning society".
- 8 December 2008 Washington Post groups discussion "The
ROTC on Campus". Note: One of the comments
Learned Foote's argument for ROTC "because it rests, not on insulting or
discounting the students opposition, but on the importance of relationship
even when there is disagreement. Telling the students that they are
ungrateful serves no purpose--it may not be true, it's alienating and
divisive, and it's hardly likely to convince anyone of the rightness of your
position. The "best argument" is the one that persuades, not the one that
makes you feel morally righteous."
- 11 December 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed "Honored
Roles: How Colleges Remember Their Veterans" by Bari Weiss.
Note: Weiss reflects on the memorial being dedicated the next day
to Columbia University's war dead and recounts how Princeton honors its war
dead: "500 bronze stars, each engraved with the name of a student who died,
dot the school's oldest buildings... With few exceptions, the stars are
located outside the window of the dorm room where the student once lived".
- 11 December 2008 BWOG blog item "Nice
to Know: ROTC Results Broken Down by School". Note:
"Combined with Barnard's results, this means that two schools voted for, and
two schools against, with the depth of opposition in Barnard and the size of
the CC vote making the difference."
- 12 December 2008 Dedication Speech for the
Columbia War Memorial by LTC Eliot Goldman CC '79, USAR. Note:
Goldman concluded his remarks by speaking about ROTC. "Not many
schools have had an alumnus in the Oval Office. With a Columbia College
graduate about to be Commander In Chief, we should see to it that
President-elect Obama does not command a military that lacks Columbia
graduates. Three months ago, 100 yards from here, our president elect
spoke of a recommitment to public service by the youth of America. Today we
pay homage to Columbia men who have exemplified commitment to public service
by making the ultimate sacrifice to the best country on earth. I leave you
men and women of Columbia with the thought that the best way to honor those
we pay tribute to with this memorial is to provide a new generation of
Columbia men and women with the opportunity to also serve in our military. I
challenge Columbia to reestablish ROTC so that this memorial will not
represent a commitment of bygone days, but a commitment to the future of
Columbia and our great nation. The President Obama Class of ‘83 ROTC Unit
should be announced in 2009, and should stand up its first company shortly
- 12 December 2008 BWOG blog item "Columbia
Unveils War Memorial in Butler". Note: The
memorial also has an online counterpart on
- 15 December 2008 Eric's Learning Curve blog post "ROTC
and Columbia University's discrimination policy" by Eric Chen.
Note: One of the leaders of the 2002-2005 ROTC advocacy
movement at Columbia University questions the conventional wisdom that the
"Don't ask, don't
tell" law regulating the military conflicts with Columbia's
antidiscrimination policy. Columbia's policy states that
"Columbia University is committed to providing a learning environment free
from unlawful discrimination and harassment...Columbia University does not
discriminate against any person in the administration of its educational
policies... and other University-administered programs". Since DADT is
not unlawful; indeed it is the law, and since it is not one of
Columbia's "educational policies", it is not clear that there is an actual
- 17 December 2008 Time Magazine article "Why
the Ivy League is Rethinking ROTC". Note: "ROTC
supporters point to the debate at Columbia and its focus on "don't ask,
don't tell" as a sign that students no longer have strong objections to the
military more generally — and therefore would be receptive to inviting the
program back if the policy were repealed, something more than 100 retired
generals and admirals called for in November... Allan Silver, a
Columbia sociology professor who supports the return of ROTC despite what he
calls its "abhorrent" policy on gays, [notes that] having future soldiers
live side by side with students who sometimes criticize them would encourage
critical thinking and thereby strengthen the military."
- 9 January 2009 National Association of Scholars conference talk
Landscape of American Higher Education -- Panel on the Military and Academe
by Prof. Allan Silver. Note: Silver, a sociology
professor at Columbia, suggests that the Obama administration "should accord
priority explicitly to restoring ROTC to private institutions of higher
learning" and suggests changes for the new administration to make to
overcome this civilian-military divide.
- 14 January 2009 Y Files blog item "NAS
conference notes 3: The academy, the military, and gays" by Cathy Young.
Note: Young describes the "fascinating talk by Alan Silver" at
the National Association of Scholars conference, a question from the
audience about whether "the fact that the career military is now strongly
Southern and overwhelmingly politically conservative ... should create a
concern about "standing armies" as understood by the Founders". She
observed that "It seems to me that, in this sense, the absence of ROTC from
campus should be more of a concern to the liberals but to conservatives."
- Winter "2008" (actually March 2009) The Current article "Gunning
for Citizenship" by Learned Foote. Note: One of the
leaders of the gay rights movement at Columbia gives examples of how
Japanese Americans and African–Americans, in
the words of W.E.B. Du Bois, decided to "forget our special grievances and
close our ranks" in time of war. Foote urges gays to do the same and
be supportive of ROTC, despite the view of ROTC opponents that "No one has
to JOIN a discriminatory organization to fight discrimination". Foote
also noted that "An estimated 65,000 gays and lesbians currently serve in
the armed forces. By excluding the military at Columbia and other elite
universities, we exclude them as well. This fact became cruelly apparent
during a campus panel on ROTC, as two gay students opposed to ROTC argued
against the pleas of two gay veterans."
- 26 March 2009 Columbia Spectator magazine "the eye" article "Corps
Curriculum: from the battlefield to the classroom" by John McClelland.
Note: An ROTC student and former special operations combat medic
writes about the transition from the military to Columbia, and how he told
his commander that to him the army was "applied philosophy".
- 12 April 2009 New York Post article "War
vets ready for enroll call: Surge in GI bill boosts City Colleges".
Note: Under the new GI bill " Columbia University predicts "the
biggest presence of vets on campus since Vietnam and in some respects since
World War II," according to Curtis Rodgers, dean of the School of General
Studies... "We had 19 veterans start in the fall class last year," said
Rodgers. "I could see 40 or 50 more next year.""
- 13 April 2009 Military.com item "Ivy
League Tuition Waived". Note: "Columbia University School
of General Studies, founded in 1947 in response to military veterans
returning from World War II, will provide eligible student-veterans with a
50 percent tuition waiver beginning August 1 through the Yellow Ribbon GI
Education Enhancement Program, part of the post-9/11 GI Bill. After the
matching grant is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the
entire cost of education is expected to be covered."
- 6 May 2009 Columbia Law School "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell: Law Analyzed at Panel Co-Hosted by Columbia Organizations".
Note: "The event was co-sponsored by the Solomon Amelioration
Committee, Columbia Outlaws, and the Law School’s Military Association...
to balance the fact that the military recruits at the Law School, despite
the discriminatory policy toward gays and lesbians."
- 15 May 2009 Chronicle of higher Education article "ROTC
and the Future of Liberal Education" and sidebar "Repairing
the Breach Between Academe and the Military" by Donald A. Downs.
Note: Downs, a professor of political science, law, and
journalism at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, argues that knowledge
of the military is crucial in the education of nonmilitary students and the
subsequent ability of these students to make decisions relating to the
- 5 June 2009 Letter from Gen. David H.
Petraeus to the Columbia class of 1959. Note: At the
50th reunion of the Columbia College class of 1959, a panel was held to
discuss the prospects of reconciling Columbia and the ROTC. General
Petraeus sent the class a note congratulating them on their efforts to raise
interest in the subject.
- 6 June 2009 Columbia Class of 1959 Reunion Panel on ROTC "Columbia and the ROTC: Prospects for Reconciliation". Note: Presentations by Norman Bernstein, Ted Graske, Frank Wilson and Ben Huberman outlined the case for ROTC and the prospects for an atmosphere at Columbia more supportive of ROTC.
- September/October 2009 Columbia College Today article "Meet the New Dean". Note: Incoming Columbia College dean Michele Moody-Adams, when listing her achievements as vice provost for undergraduate education at Cornell, cited helping ROTC students feel part of the community, and stressed the value of the ROTC students being "exposed to a diversity of opinions in the community".
- 11 September 2009 Columbia Spectator article "Columbians celebrate new GI Bill". Note: The event marked Columbia's leadership in its strong participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for paying tuition for veterans.
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