National ROTC Coverage: 2008
- 11 January 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Faust
Faces Undergrads at UC Meeting". Note: Harvard
President Drew Faust was asked "whether she will attend the ROTC
commissioning ceremony" in June and the article characterized her response as
"unclear". The ambiguity may relate to arrangements not
being finalized yet, but since December there have been indications that
Faust had agreed in principle to attend the ceremony.
- 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.
15 January 2008 SFGate Politics Blog item "Live
Blogging Dem Debate: How They Lost the Berkeley Vote". Note:
"Interesting question: Would you enforce a law that requires colleges to
have an ROTC program and allow military recruiters on campus? This is a BIG
deal in the Bay Area -- at least in the Berkeley/San Francisco/Oakland/Santa
Cruz parts of it -- where "counter-recruting" efforts goes on campus and
high school students and families regularly elect to NOT be contacted by
recruiters. Start painting the picket signs: All three of them said
they will enforce the law."
16 January 2008 Wall Street Journal Best of the Web Today item "Too
Patriotic for Berkeley" by James Taranto. Note:
Taranto notes how the opposition to ROTC at Berkeley puts it outside the
mainstream defined by all the Democratic presidential candidates.
16 January 2008 Young America's Foundation press release "Hillary
Clinton: “Everyone should make available an opportunity for a young man or
woman to be in ROTC, to be able to join the military…”" Note:
The item notes the high amount of federal support to top colleges that don't
have ROTC and observes that "if each school only commissioned one officer per
ten million received, we’d have had more than 467 additional leaders joining
the service in 2006."
16 January 2008 College Freedom blog item "Democratic
Presidential Candidates All Promise to Attack Academic Freedom".
Note: The blogger, who published a book about Senator Obama,
hypothesizes that "he was taken by surprise by the question and doesn't
understand the issues" about the Solomon Amendment and ROTC.
17 January 2008 Guardian comment "Glossing
over gay rights" by Daniel Koffler. Note: Koffler
Democratic Debate in Las Vegas
and fills in some background about the gay rights objections to ROTC that
would not have been evident to many watching the debate since neither the
moderator nor the candidates mentioned it.
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.
22 January 2008
Young America's Foundation ad "Bring
ROTC back onto Stanford's campus!" in the Stanford Daily. Note:
The quotes are from the
Las Vegas Democratic presidential debate.
22 January 2008
Young America's Foundation ad "Bring ROTC
back onto Yale's campus!" in the Yale Daily News. Note:
The quotes are from the
Las Vegas Democratic presidential debate.
27 January 2008 Washington Times editorial "Solomonic
Democrats". Note: The Times notes the favorable
comments about ROTC at the
Las Vegas Democratic presidential debate and observes "Incredibly, all
three candidates said they would enforce the Solomon Amendment. Each has a
record of support for the policy of forcing the military to accept
homosexuals. None has been known to call on schools to accept the military,
until now" and ventured that as a result of the March 2006
Court ruling on the Solomon Amendment "The years 2008 or 2009 may prove
an excellent time for schools that bar ROTC to reinstate it before
Washington forces them to".
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.’
5 February 2008 The Dartmouth column "Now
Help ROTC" by Phil Aubart '10. Note: With the advent
of Dartmouth's newly generous financial aid program, Aubart describes what
happened to him as an ROTC cadet. "I started receiving the ROTC
scholarship in winter term my freshman year. I then lost all of my financial
aid, even money from fall term when I was not receiving the ROTC scholarship
— I was stuck paying 100 percent tuition my freshman fall." He notes
that "Over 100 schools across the country grant free room and board to ROTC
scholarship recipients" and suggests the same for Dartmouth.
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".
14 February 2008 Cornell Daily Sun column "'Dont
Ask, Don't Tell' Hurts ROTC, Too" by Gabriel Arana. Note:
Arana notes that many universities shun ROTC because the "Don't Ask, Don't
Tell" law discriminates against people who are openly homosexual, and calls
upon ROTC officers to reject the military's "insularity" and address whether
the law is reasonable. See
19 February response by the ROTC officers.
19 February 2008 Cornell Daily Sun Op-Ed "ROTC Officers
Address ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’". The Cornell Army ROTC officers
asked in a 14 February column
to address whether the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law is reasonable
points out that the law was passed by Congress and it "cannot be changed by
the military internally". "Cornell’s discrimination policy (updated
Jan. 25 2008), “assists the university to comply with federal, state and
local legal mandates in relation to such misconduct.” As of now, the “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is a matter of federal law. We are obligated to
adhere to it and we are prohibited to commission a person who openly
violates this law." They did not discuss the merits of the law, and
alluded to the fact that active-duty officers are expected to avoid taking
stands on political issues. They raise the possibility that the "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell" law can be overruled by executive order, which is far from
21 February 2008 Syracuse University Daily Orange article "ROTC
program in question at Columbia: Presidential election could spark
reinstatement". Note: The article projects possible
changes at universities if presidential candidates follow through on their
professed intentions to "vigorously enforce" the Solomon Amendment to deny
funding to universities banning ROTC.
22 February 2008 The Dartmouth article "ROTC:
Band of Brothers or 4-Letter Word?" Note: The article
describes the history of ROTC at Dartmouth and the current small ROTC
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
5 March 2008 Stanford Daily article "Candidates
in favor of ROTC on campus". Note: In discussing the
15 January comments of presidential candidates about ROTC and the Solomon
Amendment, Jeff Wachtel, senior assistant to Stanford President John
Hennessy, stressed the difficulty of getting the Pentagon to agree to having
ROTC at Stanford because of lack of strong support in the university
community: "Any effort to convince the military to bring the program back to
Stanford would first need to gain faculty support and then show enough
student interest, he said."
6 March 2008 Cornell Daily Sun column "Colonels
and Campus Don't Mix: Are ROTC and Academia Compatible?" by Munier
Salem. Note: Salem argues that the search for truth at a
university is "self correcting", while in the military "rank determines who
is right and wrong — not the merit of someone’s ideas". Yet he notes
that "ROTC friends tell me that criticism of former military endeavors
(Vietnam) and talks of ethics and proper leadership pervade all classroom
discussions". He criticizes military officers for failing to sign up
openly gay students, arguing that "The “it was against the law” argument
doesn’t carry much weight in my book".
6 March 2008 Cornell Daily Sun op-ed "A
Cadet Defends ROTC" by Jennifer Speeckaert '08. Note:
A cadet in Cornell Army ROTC writes "How can we allow homosexuals to shower
together when we don’t allow heterosexual men and women to shower together?
Personally, I would not feel comfortable showering in front of men."
7 March 2008 Cornell Daily Sun column "Another
Side of ROTC" by Mike Wacker. Note: Wacker concludes:
"Cornell ROTC has just as much right to be here as homosexuals, and the
values of our university have room for both groups. But if anyone has to be
given the boot, it’s the anti-ROTC activists. There is no place at Cornell
for their disgraceful attitude towards the military or their hypocritical
7 March 2008 Cornell Daily Sun article "Digging
Below the Stereotypes of ROTC". Note: The article describes
the daily life of ROTC students.
7 March 2008 Comments at the MIT ROTC Tri-Service Military Ball, Cambridge,
MA "Trustworthy Leaders of
Character: Leading Foremost by WHO you ARE" by
Dr. Don M. Snider.
16 March 2008 Washington Post Op-ed "Who
Says The Elite Aren't Fit To Serve?" by John Renehan. Note:
The author relates his struggle, ultimately successful, with the doubt that
"People like us -- the privileged, frankly -- don't join the military", but
his background sounded useful as he described "the maddening impenetrable
politics of Anbar province -- sipping chai with sheiks, doling out
18 March 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Will
ROTC Return? Years after program's banishment from Harvard, debate over
ROTC's future continues". Note: The Harvard
Republican Club "approached the Harvard Democrats, with a proposal aimed at
addressing “areas in which Harvard falls short of providing an environment
of respect and encouragement of [its ROTC cadets’] service.” The
proposal’s seven original points were vetted down to four, with two
recommendations—one to allow recognition of ROTC coursework on the Harvard
transcript, another to encourage a faculty resolution to bring ROTC back on
campus upon the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—narrowly passing in an
open vote, according to Harvard Democrats President Jarret A. Zafran ’09."
Harvard ROTC Association president Joseph M. Kristol ’09 described a
proposal for "rewording the description of ROTC in the student handbook,
which calls the program “inconsistent with Harvard’s values,” and paying for
cross-registration at MIT."
18 March 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Discipline,
The ROTC Way: For Harvard's burgeoning officers, training is meant to
resonate well beyond the classroom". Note: Harvard
students make up the largest university contingent in the Army ROTC unit
based at MIT, and numbers have not decreased despite the Iraq war and the
availability of other generous university financial aid.
18 March 2008 Harvard Crimson article "A
Crimson Call of Duty: Student Soldiers". Note:
Harvard ROTC graduates and other Harvard veterans describe their experiences
in Iraq. Joseph S. Linhart ’03 "said that people may consider Harvard
incompatible with the military—that those who enter the service are “wasting
their talent.” But he characterized the institution-building process as
“academic,” adding that people often think of the military as a “bunch of
dumb linemen running into each other,” when in fact, “it’s a very cerebral
and complicated game.” ... Peter H. Brooks ’06, who is still in Iraq with
the Marines, wrote in an e-mail that at this point in the war, much of the
military experience is in the peacekeeping and humanitarian realms,
requiring some political and cultural sensitivity that Harvard has helped
25 March 2008 Boston Globe Op-ed "A separate and unequal exercise" by
Harry Lewis '68
PhD '74. Note: The former dean of Harvard College, a
member of the Steering Committee of
Advocates for Harvard ROTC, argues that it is inconsistent for Harvard
to institute female-only gym hours to accommodate the desire for sexual
privacy of Muslim students but ban ROTC because of the federal "don't ask,
don't tell" law. His point is particularly relevant because one of the
main motivations for the "don't ask, don't tell" law was to protect the
sexual privacy of soldiers in shared living quarters.
28 March 2008 Department of Defense final rule "Military
Recruiting and Reserve Officer Training Corps Program Access to Institutions
of Higher Education". Note: These regulations implement the
2005 changes to the Solomon Amendment. It specifies that almost all
federal contracts and grants are prohibited to a school whose students
"cannot obtain permission from a covered school to participate, or are
effectively prevented from participating, in a unit of the Senior ROTC at
another institution of higher education." Unlike the provision about
establishing ROTC units, this provision is not dependent on a request by the
Secretary of Defense. This provision calls into question Harvard's
refusal to pay the ~$185,000 in fees for its students taking ROTC courses at
1995 compromise the fees are paid for by Harvard alumni through a
secretive trust arranged by Harvard, but if such funds are not maintained
Harvard may need to reassess the 1995 decision.
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.”
2 April 2008 Northwest Florida Daily News article "McCain
touts military in Pensacola". Note: Senator McCain
said "we could and should call on universities to allow ROTC a presence on
their campuses... That they (students) are frequently denied that privilege
is disgraceful... The United States military defends the freedom of all of
us, including students and professors at leading institutes of higher
learning. For some of those same institutions to refuse to allow future
officers, who will one day risk their lives to protect us, to train for
their responsibilities on their campuses is unfair, ungrateful and very poor
14 April 2008
Speech by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Note:
Gates said he is "working on a program to improve the language skills of the
military through ROTC. Currently, language training, when it occurs,
generally requires that we send troops to specialized schools – in effect,
pulling them off the line for a period of time. It seems to me it would be
preferable to integrate this training earlier, and so we have been looking
at financial incentives for ROTC cadets to take language classes while
undergraduates. Some languages are not offered at all schools, and so we are
looking also at ways to award grants to schools to expand their language and
cultural offerings to cadets... We must move past whatever antagonism
to ROTC still exists and demonstrate respect at the highest levels for those
who choose to serve – whether that is by attending ROTC commissioning
ceremonies, actively promoting the military as a career option, or giving
full support to military recruiters on campus regardless of whether that
access is tied to federal funding."
16 April 2008 Tufts Daily article "ROTC
students encounter administrative hurdles in seeking Tufts credit for their
military courses". Note: Tufts students receive
course credit only for ROTC-related courses taken at Boston University, with
which Tufts has a cross-registration agreement.
18 April 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Faust
To Attend ROTC Event". Note: "University President Drew G.
Faust will attend this year’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)
commissioning ceremony during Commencement, continuing a new precedent set
by her predecessor Lawrence H. Summers." According to a spokesman
Faust will be “part of the program”, but it was unclear whether she will be
following Summers' tradition of speaking at the event.
18 April 2008 First Army Helicopters at
Harvard. Note: Two Army Black Hawk helicopters landed
at Harvard's Soldiers Field to airlift ROTC
cadets of the Paul Revere
Battalion to their training destination at Ft. Devens.
19 April 2008 The White Rhino Report Blog item "Black
Hawk Up - History Made at Harvard". Note:
Coverage of the landing of the First
Army Helicopters at Harvard.
23 April 2008 Harvard Crimson editorial "Faust's
Prerogative: Harvard should bring back ROTC, but not before the end of
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”". Note: The Crimson commends
President Drew Faust for agreeing to be part of the ROTC Commissioning
Ceremony in June, and calls for the restoration of ROTC if the "Don't ask,
don't tell" law is "ended". It also suggests "When President Faust
speaks at the commissioning ceremony this June, we hope she will seize on
this important moment—a moment in which she will likely have the ear of
high-ranking military officials as well as media—to draw attention to the
disgusting nature of this policy. Faust ought to specifically criticize
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and call for it to end."
29 April 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Dems
and Republicans Unite on ROTC Bill". Note: The undergraduate council urged Harvard to list on transcripts ROTC courses taken at MIT, even though no credit is given. The council also urged continuation of the annual ROTC Commissioning ceremony, and the Crimson reports that President Faust "has said that she will be speaking at the commissioning ceremony this June". The Crimson also refers to Andrew D. Fine ’09 as saying that "Harvard should pressure the military to drop the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy", but DADT is a federal law that can only be changed by Congress.
30 April 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Faust
To Address ROTC Cadets". Note: President Faust will
speak at ROTC Commissioning in June and said that "while she had not yet
written her speech, she planned to say that she hoped “every Harvard student
had the opportunity to serve in the military.” "
2 May 2008 Harvard Crimson column "Why
Harvard Hates America: Faust is right to rain on ROTC’s parade" by Adam
Goldenberg ’08. Note: Goldenberg asserts that ROTC "doesn’t
sound like a whole lot of fun" and is "glory-free self-sacrifice",
ironically appearing the same day as
an article about
ROTC students flying over Harvard in helicopters. Goldenberg also
writes that "military officers now being educated at Harvard and elsewhere
should rightly have their service tinted by the discrimination of DADT, at
their commissioning and elsewhere."
2 May 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Riding
With the Paul Revere Battalion: ROTC experience includes helicopter
ride-along and Meals Read to Eat". Note: "We took off
slowly, flying over the intramural fields and crossing the river, past
undergraduate Houses and Memorial Hall on our way out of Cambridge."
See also photos here.
5 May 2008 Harvard Crimson column "Honoring
Their Service: Campus leftists should not play politics with ROTC" by
Christopher B. Lacaria ’09. Note: "DADT has been hotly
debated for quite some time, both on campus and in American society at
large. No political position—no tacit countenancing of DADT—would be implied
were President Faust not to speak of the matter."
20 May 2008 Wall Street Journal column "Why
Harvard Harasses the Military" by William McGurin. Note:
McGurin wrote that Harvard President Faust speaking about the "Don't ask,
don't tell" law at the Harvard ROTC Commissioning Ceremony on 4 June would
mean for the ROTC students that "in their first moments as new officers,
they will be told by the leader of their university that they serve an
institution that isn't, well, quite worthy of Harvard." See
on 31 May.
20 May 2008 The Dartmouth article "Student
veterans build solidarity in new group". Note:
Veterans at Dartmouth have established the Dartmouth Undergraduate Veterans
26 May 2008 Wall Street Journal "Journal
Editorial Report". Editorial page editor Paul Gigot, columnist
Bill McGurn and deputy Taste page editor Naomi Schaefer Riley discuss the
upcoming Harvard ROTC Commissioning ceremony. Speaking of Harvard
President Drew Faust, Riley said "I think someone should call her bluff.
Does she really want a lot of more Harvard students taking up arms? I would
be surprised if she sort of acknowledged that."
31 May 2008 Wall Street Journal letters about William McGurin 20 May column
Harvard Harasses the Military". Note: Anthony K. Obst
'67, an ROTC graduate and father of ROTC graduate Larry Obst '01, notes that
"the military has created regional ROTC centers which service students from
many schools, including Harvard. So it's unlikely that the military will
want to return to its earlier more expensive and manpower intensive model
for ROTC units, and return to Harvard's campus."
1 June 2008 Harvard Crimson article "At
Harvard ROTC Event, Faust Still Plans To Criticize 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell':
'Wait to see what the speech
sounds like,' Faust says of much-watched ROTC commissioning address<".
Note: Speaking of the ROTC students, Faust told the Crimson "I
have deep respect for these students and I want to express my respect for
them... But I also want to make clear that I wish all students had the same
opportunity, the same right to serve". The initial version of the
story gave the day of ROTC Commissioning incorrectly; it is Wednesday 4
June. Also, "don't ask, don't tell", is a federal law, not "the
3 June 2008 Harvard Crimson Op-ed "Hate
the Policy, Not the Program" by Derek Flanzraich ’10. Note:
Flanzraich writes: "The Faculty of Arts and Sciences should pass a
resolution reversing their position and welcome ROTC back to Harvard’s
campus. At the same time, they must also push every other Ivy League
University to join them in issuing a statement publicly condemning “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell.”". He also states that military recruiting on camps
is banned. Although this was true in recent years, Harvard reversed its ban
shortly after the 6 March 2006 Supreme Court Decision in
v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc. (No. 04-1152),
which upheld the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment tying federal
funding to permitting military recruiting and ROTC.
4 June 2008 "Harvard ROTC
Commissioning Ceremony 2008".
4 June 2008 "Remarks
at the Harvard ROTC Commissioning Ceremony" by Harvard President Drew
Faust. Note: President Faust told the ROTC graduates "I
celebrate you on this important day... I wish that there were more of you".
She spoke of the history of universities and the military in advancing
equality and participation and said, without giving specifics, "These are
principles we must continue to honor and strive to extend". Audio
4 June 2008 Remarks at the Harvard
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony 2008 by LTC Leo McGonagle, Professor of
Military Leadership at MIT and leader of the Army ROTC program for Harvard
4 June 2008 Remarks at the Harvard
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony 2008 by
LT General Tad Oelstrom, USAF, (Ret), Director of the National Security
Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
4 June 2008 Harvard University Gazette article "Five
graduate to service: Faust expresses ‘profound appreciation’ for ROTC grads".
5 June 2008 Harvard Crimson article "In
ROTC Address, Faust Quietly Criticizes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'".
Note: The Crimson focuses on President Faust's line "I wish
that there were more of you" as being about inclusion of gay students in
ROTC. However, it also echoed words of Wall Street Journal editor
Naomi Schaefer Riley who
about Faust "Does she really want a lot of more Harvard students taking up
arms? I would be surprised if she sort of acknowledged that."
5 June 2008 Boston Globe article "Faust
criticizes military's ban on gays". Note: The Globe
observed that "Faust unmistakably conveyed yesterday that her opposition in
no way diminished her admiration for military service". See
letter on 11 June.
5 June 2008 New York Sun column "Harvard
President Salutes Newly Commissioned Military Officers: 'I wish that there
were more of you' Faust Tells Five" by Set Gitell. Note:
Gitell writes: "For a
little less than a hour yesterday Harvard dedicated itself to honoring those
graduates who have opted to serve America as members of the military... A
patriotic address from the university's president, Drew Gilpin Faust,
punctuated the ceremony... Some feared before the speech that she
might engage in a full-throated denunciation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Her
comments came in a somewhat vague, nuanced, and respectful fashion that left
Harvard's most passionate advocates of military service happy."
7 June 2008 Weekly Standard column "The
Few, the Proud: Harvard ROTC's five new officers" by Dean Barnett '89.
Note: Barnett considers President Faust's statement about ROTC
graduates "I wish that there were more of you", juxtaposed with an allusion
to advancing gay rights, and notes that "taking her words at face value, one
wonders whether she truly anticipates that the removal of the "Don't
Ask/Don't Tell" policy would trigger greater participation. Given the
percentage of heterosexual students who join ROTC, one would mathematically
project the number of homosexual participants to be zero unless Harvard's
gay population has a greater eagerness for ROTC participation than the
8 June 2008 Harvard ROTC Aviation
Award 2008. Note: Michael J. Arth 08 took flights in
two vintage east-block aircraft as winner of the 2008 Harvard ROTC Aviation
11 June 2008 Boston Globe letter "Harvard
and the ROTC" by Wayne L. Johnson. Note: Responding
5 June Boston Globe article "Faust
criticizes military's ban on gays", a retired Navy commander with the
Judge Advocate General's Corps points out that Faust did not explicitly
mention gays and that the ban on open homosexuality in the military is
federal law, not military policy.
- 21 August 2008 Heritage Foundation report "Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers" by Shanea Watkins, Ph.D. and James Sherk. Note: "Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods—a number that has increased substantially over the past four years." Distribution of ROTC graduates by home state is shown here.
31 August 2008 Providence Journal letter "Brown’s
dereliction of duty" by Paul C. Dulchinos. Note: LTC
Dulchinos, until recently the Professor of Military Science at Providence
College, notes that at Brown "Army ROTC
four-year-scholarship candidates are systematically overlooked (either by
coincidence or by design). The last successful four-year Army ROTC
scholarship recipient admitted to Brown University was in 1996. He went on
to graduate and be commissioned as an Army officer in 2000. Since then Brown
has produced only three Army ROTC officers despite graduating more than
12,800 students over this same period. In addition, none of these students
were admitted as freshmen Army ROTC scholars." See
response on 16 September.
- September 2008 Harvard Magazine letters "Matters
Military" by Note: Commenting on the absence of
veterans among those with Harvard leadership positions, Henry Nuzum ’99
observes "Ivy Tower prefers perfect abstinence to uncertain sway over an
imperfect fight", and suggests for Board of Overseers and Harvard Alumni
Association elections "Consider electing a vet or two in the future, who
might eventually lead a re-integration of ROTC back on campus."
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
3 September 2008 "2008
Republican Platform". Note: The Republican party
platform states that "Because some of the nation’s leading universities
create or tolerate a hostile atmosphere toward the ROTC, we will rigorously
enforce the provision of law, unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court, which
denies those institutions federal research grants unless their military
students have the full rights and privileges of other students. That must
include the right to engage in ROTC activities on their own campus, rather
than being segregated elsewhere." It also states that "Esprit and cohesion
are necessary for military effectiveness and success on the battlefield" and
affirms "the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service".
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."
16 September 2008 Providence Journal letter "Brown
and ROTC" by James Miller. Note: Miller,
Dean of Admissions at Brown University, responds to a 31 August
letter by Paul Dulchinos, until recently the Professor of Military
Science at Providence College. He writes that Brown has "no admission quotas or set asides for any category of student", including ROTC students. He also notes that some Brown students train in an off-campus Marine officer program.
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 Providence Journal letter "Brown
snubs ROTC" by Pete Haynsworth. Note: Haynsworth, who
was a Navy ROTC graduate, details some benefits Brown University would have
from having more ROTC students.
22 September 2008 Boston College Heights article "Candidates
Push for ROTC". Note: The student newspaper of Boston
College details the history of ROTC at the college, including its
restoration in 1984.
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
ROTC Trust". See response
letter on 22
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.
7 October 2008 Yale Daily News article "At
YPU, a call for ROTC’s return". Note: The Yale
Political Union approved “Resolved: Bring the ROTC back to campus”.
Among the arguments in favor of ROTC at Yale was that "This is a thinking
man’s war — a war of ideas and ideologies ... We can’t afford to not
have our nation’s best and brightest in uniform."
7 October 2008 Yale Daily News editorial "University
should resurrect Yale ROTC". Note: Yale's student
newspaper called for return of ROTC and quoted the late Gen. William Odom, a
Yale professor, who said in 2006, “When a republic’s upper strata of youth
contribute no leadership to the upper ranks of the military, is the republic
11 October 2008 Yale Herald article "Calls
made to reclaim Yale's military past". Note: "Yale
employs its own ROTC adviser, Jerry Hill, whose primary duties include
publicizing opportunities such as the Air Force Express Scholarship,
answering about two to three questions monthly from prospective
participants, organizing the annual Veterans’ Day festivities, and
overseeing “logistics, making sure students have transportation to and from
their drills and ROTC classes each week.”" Air Force ROTC cadet
Anthony Runco, ES ’11 said "To my initial
surprise, in fact, Yale picks up the bill every time I rent a car to go to
UConn. This amounts to thousands of dollars a year that the University
spends for transportation on me alone, a gesture for which I am truly
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".
13 October 2008 The Dartmouth article "Groups
support return of ROTC to Ivy League".
15 October 2008 Brown Daily Herald article "National
group wants trustees to reinstate ROTC". Note:
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
letters to the governing boards of Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale and
Stanford calling on them to reconsider their bans on ROTC, Brown's Dean of
the College Katherine Bergeron said "There haven't been discussions about
reinstating (ROTC) on campus", presumably referring to discussions in
the administration or in public
16 October 2008 Yale Daily News letter "Yale
needs ROTC again" by Zach Allen ’60. Note: Allen
writes that neither the Vietnam nor the Iraq war "provides any justification
for us not to serve our country" and that "I do not regret my ROTC
experience one bit, but I do regret that Yale students are denied the
opportunities that I had."
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.
22 October 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Obama
Win Could End ROTC Battle". Note: A Harvard Crimson
news analysis suggests that "if Obama takes office on Jan. 20 and succeeds
in rolling back the policy, Harvard would see its main reason for banning
22 October 2008 Harvard Crimson letter "Formally
Recognize ROTC" by Paul E. Mawn '63. Note: The Chairman of
Advocates for Harvard ROTC responds to a
article and makes clear the group's position that the Harvard
Corporation should "formerly recognize the ROTC programs which provide
valuable leadership training to Harvard cadets and midshipmen. Such formal
recognition should lead to greater participation of Harvard students in ROTC
programs and the eventual physical return of the ROTC units to the Harvard
- 22 October 2008 The Dartmouth article "Iraq
veteran, writer Fick ‘99 celebrated in HBO series". Note:
"Fick remembers hearing a speech by Tom Ricks, then the Wall Street
Journal’s Pentagon correspondent, in which Ricks advocated ROTC recruitment
on college campuses. When asked how he could condone militarizing college
campuses, Ricks insisted, “No, you’re wrong, it will liberalize the
23 October 2008 Smith College Sophian article "ROTC
faces nationwide campus recognition battle". Note:
The article describes Smith College as recognizing ROTC, but having the only
ROTC opportunities at UMass, in contrast to Harvard not-recognizing ROTC,
but having the only ROTC opportunities at MIT. The practical
implication, according to Paul Mawn, chairman of
Advocates for Harvard ROTC, is that
Harvard cashes the checks for the ROTC scholarships but fails to pay the
overhead payment for ROTC to MIT. Harvard students are only able to do
ROTC at MIT because the overhead payments are made by the alumni-funded
"Friends of Harvard ROTC Trust". "Harvard gets the full amount of
scholarship money from the Pentagon and they cannot pay an allocation. That,
in my opinion, is illegal," said Mawn.
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."
29 October 2008 Tufts Daily editorial "Credit
where credit is due". Note: The student newspaper of Tufts
calls for course credit for its students who do ROTC at MIT. Tufts
maintains that the lack of course credit is due to the lack of a cross-registration agreement with MIT, however Harvard has a cross-registration
agreement with MIT and also denies ROTC course credit.
31 October 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education article "ROTC
Seeks to Expand on Campuses, and Colleges Cope With a Conflict".
Note: "Colleges with programs have found different ways to
address the conflict between "don't ask, don't tell" and their own
antidiscrimination policies. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
promises to replace any scholarships a ROTC student loses due to the policy,
while the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says its
nondiscrimination policy does not apply to its relationship with outside
organizations such as ROTC."
November 2008 Harvard Magazine article "Coming
Out at Harvard". Note: During a celebration of the
25th anniversary of the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, "Some attendees
expressed dismay at the extent to which the University administration has
thawed toward ROTC".
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 Marquette Tribune article "ROTC
wants in at Harvard: School's funding of group ended in '92".
Note: "When ROTC was thrown off Harvard's campus around 1970, it
was still recognized by the school, with scholarship money allocated to the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Harvard students could join
ROTC there. When it was officially derecognized in 1992, the money was no
longer allocated to MIT. "I think it's blatantly illegal," [Paul] Mawn
[chairman of Advocates for Harvard ROTC]
said. "Since '92 they just collected the money and kept it entirely
themselves." A second statement in the article about ROTC being
"thrown off campus" in 1992 is an error by the newspaper. ROTC was
already off campus; in 1992 a university committee
recommended restrictions on ROTC-related payments to MIT. Also,
Mawn did not call for any changes in yearbook policy since these were
achieved already during the Summers administration.
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."
13 November 2008 Harvard Crimson article "Harvard
Veterans Tell Stories of War: In recognition of Veteran's Day, Harvard ROTC
association hosts four former military officers". Note:
One of the officers, Seth W. Moulton ’01, said “When you come from a place
like Harvard, you have some advantages but some handicaps... They respect
the hell out of you, but they are concerned you have no common sense”.
(The photo caption referring to Advocates for Harvard ROTC is an error,
brought to the attention of the Crimson).
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."
18 November 2008 Yale Daily News op-ed "Return
to service" by Rich Morales. Note: Morales, a 1999
graduate of the School of Management and currently a lieutenant colonel in
the United States Army in Iraq, writes "Principled stands — like those
against ROTC — are what I cherish about my Yale classmates, but I believe
that because of those stands, and not in spite of them, it’s time to bring
military officer development back to New Haven. The greater good is best
served by exporting more of Yale to all walks of life, not just those where
Yale fits neatly, like academia, nonprofits, business and government."
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 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."
- 27 December 2008 New York Times editorial "Recruiting
the Best". Note: The editorial states that "West
Point and the Reserve Officer Training Corps are the best sources of top
leaders and should be expanded".
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