|Date:||Sunday, May 01, 2005 6:30 PM|
|Cc:||Sean Wilkes; Eric Chen; Michael Segal; Prof. Allan Silver|
As an advocate for the return of ROTC to Columbia University, and a veteran of the armed forces who served honorably and openly as a gay man, I would like to ask that you give me more specifics on how Columbia University would better fight Don't Ask, Don't Tell by simply not having it on campus.
When you were a student at the college, did you ever fight against DADT? Did any of your friends have debates with other students about the policy of DADT? What sacrifices did you make as a student to end DADT? My point being, this issue of bringing ROTC back to campus has brought to the forefront DADT and its gross disregard for equality. Many students are more aware and have a greater understanding of this discrimination, and have joined with the idea of bringing ROTC back to campus in order to end DADT. They understand that it isn't enough to just ignore the issue, they must face it head on and fight this change from within the military itself.
Mike, I joined the Army as an infantry soldier in order to fight DADT. I succeed by making my fellow soldiers and commanding officers aware that a good soldier is not a monopoly owned solely by straight soldiers. While I appreciate the comments your shared about your friends in the military, I am not convinced that they speak for the entire military. I made changes, and I am sure that if your friends tried as well, they would be able to make changes as well. Have they even tried? And if so, share with me their stories. Look, change is never easy, but make no mistake, it is worth the sacrifices. Change begins with education, and education only comes through a willingness to sit down and discuss the issues, to face it head on. Simply saying we don't want ROTC here does little more than remove that willingness.
I want nothing more than to get rid of DADT, and I sense from your letter that you feel the same way. You can help me accomplish that by bringing ROTC back to the campus. To simply say "I firmly believe that Columbia can be a stronger force for change in the military by refusing to participate in the program" without so much as a hint of a better solution is, in my opinion, strengthening the military policy on DADT.
I await your response.
General Studies, 2007