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  • Kagan Takes Lead Against Patriotic Students at Harvard

    5/10/2010 4:59:30 PM Posted by Patrick Coyle


    Kagan treated patriotic students like second class citizens when she banned them from meeting with military recruiters from the career office.

    It is unclear whether she encouraged or required students to go off campus to meet with military recruiters.  According to the New York Times, Harvard allowed on campus recruiting with the assistance of the Harvard Law Students Veterans Association (HLSVA).  However, according to a letter posted on the HLSVA website from February 18, 2005, the HLSVA recruiters “will be strongly encouraged to arrange for an off-campus location to conduct interviews.” 

    The HLSVA letter goes on to say that their effort to provide recruiting assistance “falls short of duplicating the excellent assistance provided by the HLS Office of Career Services,” clearly indicating that students interested in a career in the military were not receiving institutional aid but were rather passed off to a group that acknowledged their, “tiny membership, meager budget, and lack of any office space, we possess neither the time nor the resources to routinely schedule campus rooms or advertise extensively for outside organizations, as is the norm for most recruiting events.”

    Only because of pressure from then-President Larry Summers, and the threat of losing millions in federal funds, did Kagan opt for an apartheid system rather than an outright ban. She forced students to meet with military representatives off campus or in a segregated part of the campus, essentially telling these young people to “get to the back of the bus.”

    Kagan fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to attempt to institutionalize discrimination against students who wish to serve their country. She filed an amicus brief in Rumsfeld v. FAIR. Her position was so extreme that it was rejected unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Even candidate Barack Obama claimed to differ with Kagan’s stance, saying that students should have military service opportunities on campus.  He said, “The notion that young people...anywhere, in any university, aren't offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake.” Service Nation Presidential Forum, Columbia University, September 11, 2008)

    The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision rejected Kagan’s radical ideology, saying that students have every right to meet with the military on campus and that the federal government has every right to deny US taxpayer funds to schools that did not comply.

    The battle to limit the rights of certain students on campus—particularly those willing to sacrifice their lives in the service of their country—will begin anew should Kagan win a powerful life-long seat on the Supreme Court.

    For more than forty years Young America’s Foundation has stood up for the rights of ROTC and students who wish to serve their country.  In those forty years, we have never seen as dire a threat to students’ rights, and the constitutional rights of all citizens, as Elena Kagan presents.

    Young America’s Foundation calls on United States Senators and all Americans who believe in protecting the rights of students and the rights of Americans to express themselves freely to oppose Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Kate Obenshain is Vice President of Young America's Foundation


    • Readers' Comments

    • Please note that though Harvard Law School encourages interviews between students and military recruiters to take place off-campus, it does not effectively ban military recruiters from campus; Kagan's policy was simply that HLS's Office of Career Services wouldn't coordinate interviews between recruiters and students. That being said, this article is biased (as I'm sure you'd acknowledge), so I suggest that readers read Kagan's letter, from 2005, explaining why she banned military recruiting from using HLS's Office of Career Services. I don't expect that most readers will agree with her (I'm pretty sure they won't), but it shows that she's not against military recruiting itself, but against the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Here it is: Also, on a personal note, this article offends me. The language of segregation and apartheid is completely unwarranted and blatantly inflammatory. Note that, in her letter, Kagan never says that the military tells gay people to "get to the back of the bus."
      Posted by Teo Soares on 05/11/2010
    • Kagan fought giving military recruiters the same access other recruiters had at Harvard in many ways: in the Courts, by pushing recruiters off to a secondary site, and then discouraging even those meetings from being on campus. Any purported claim that some cooperation went on was in spite of her positions and actions, not because of them. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the purported uptick in Harvard ROTC grads had anything to do with Kagan’s actions? Or was that because we were at war and the College President, who was driven out by the feminists, encouraged, in a small way, ROTC students? Any student who wanted to advance in the law school would have gotten the message loud and clear that their dean was fighting this in the Courts and claimed she abhorred President Clinton’s policies. The Left is trying to re-write history. Kagan had a chance to stand up for students rights and she was a leader in opposing them.
      Posted by Patrick on 05/12/2010
    • Teo what you are saying does not make any sense. Kagan obviously has something against the military and does what she can to oppose it and make it seem like a second class organization that isn't worthy of Harvard Law School. Don't ask don't tell is not the military's policy. The military leaders have no ability to change the policy. They must follow the orders of the President of the United States and the laws passed by Congress. Congress passed a law banning homosexuals from serving in the military and Bill Clinton came up with the Don't ask don't tell policy as a way of implementing this law that would still allow homosexuals to serve if they didn't talk openly about their sexuality. If Kagan has a problem with it she should have been petitioning Congress to change the law, not insulting military recruiters and students who might like to serve their country.
      Posted by David on 05/13/2010
    • This article makes valid points, but I don't agree with the co-opting of the civil rights phrase, “get to the back of the bus." This strikes me as a lazy manipulative tactic that fails the attempt to strengthen the legitimate argument made here that Kagan inappropriately blocked students' access to recruiters due to her political beliefs.
      Posted by Victoria on 05/17/2010
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