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  • Top Universities Deny Students’ Rights to Defend America

    12/6/2010 12:00:11 PM Posted by Evan Gassman

    AntiROTC Propoganda As many of you already know, on the campaign trail, then Senator Obama said that he would support reinstituting the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on our nation’s campuses despite “differences in terms of military policy.” Today, Young America’s Foundation asks the President to make good on his “campaign promise.” The new leadership in Congress gives the President an opportunity to build a bipartisan bridge to a friendlier campus environment for ROTC cadets.


    However, the President has already taken a severe step in the wrong direction by nominating the former Dean of Harvard Law, Elena Kagan. As Dean, Kagan defended an ROTC ban that was enacted due to a federal policy potential cadets had no control over.


    In order to expose the way ROTC students are treated on some campuses (see picture to the right), Young America’s Foundation has conducted a study to determine which campuses deny a student’s right to participate in ROTC and defend our country. Most of the campuses highlighted do not have ROTC programs and give no academic credit for students who wish to serve their country.



    Young America’s Foundation surveyed the top 25 schools according to U.S. News and World Report. Of the 25, here are the 12 worst offenders:




    • Harvard University: No ROTC programs on campus, and no credit is given for ROTC-related classes. Harvard’s ROTC webpage states: “Current federal policy of excluding known lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals from admission to ROTC or of discharging them from service is inconsistent with Harvard's values as stated in its policy on discrimination.” Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court justice, oversaw that policy and stood by it. In 1995, Harvard ended its financial support of ROTC completely, and it has been all downhill from there. The funding cutoff came after the Clinton administration declined to let gays serve openly in the military. It was the oldest Army ROTC program in the country before it was eliminated.


    • Yale University: No ROTC programs on campus, and no credit is offered. Yale removed ROTC from campus in 1969 in response to the anti-Vietnam movement. Today, Army and Air Force ROTC students have to travel 150 miles round trip to the University of Connecticut for classes and training.


    • California Institute of Technology: No ROTC programs on campus and no credit offered.




    • Stanford University: No ROTC programs on campus, and students must pay a second tuition to get credit. Banned on-campus ROTC programs since 1969, claiming the classes that comprised the ROTC curriculum did not meet Stanford’s baseline academic standards. (This decision was made after anti—Vietnam protests.) Today, ROTC students must commute one hour away to programs at UC-Berkeley, 40 minutes to San Jose State, or 30 minutes away to Santa Clara University. History professor Barton Bernstein, who helped lead the movement against ROTC, said that those that claim anti-Vietnam war ideas played a role in the ban were “not wrong — that was an important motivating factor — but then people began looking closely at ROTC and saw that it was a cluster of anomalies.” He said that his own college’s ROTC classes had “the intellectual depth of a high school freshman course.”




    • University of Pennsylvania: Navy ROTC program on campus only, and some credit offered. ROTC was disbanded in the late 1960s due to the anti-Vietnam movement. Since then, ROTC was restated and then re-banned; the school has cited the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in the mid to late 1990s as its reason for disallowing ROTC programs on campus. In 1996, provost Stanley Chodorow stopped all possible negotiations to reinstate an ROTC program. He was also quoted in saying that any student who leaves the ROTC program because he or she is gay will be offered financial aid by the University.[Edited, 12/10]




    • Columbia University: No ROTC programs on campus, and the closest ROTC friendly location is 20 minutes away. A Fordham University ROTC officer said that Columbia University doesn’t welcome the program with open arms. Columbia University banned the ROTC program in 1969. Despite a 2003 vote in favor of readmission of ROTC programs by the student body ( in a 2-1 margin), Columbia University President Lee Bollinger voted in 2005 to not reinstate an ROTC program on the grounds of the discriminatory DADT policy regarding gay service members.




    • University of Chicago: ROTC was banned due to DATD policy, yet the school stresses that the administration retains ideological neutrality. One former teacher at the school, Martin Levit, worked to get ROTC programs out of all high schools, stating that they trained impressionable teenagers in “unthinking conformity and militarism.”




    • Dartmouth College: Army ROTC program on campus, but no credit is offered. Although once an integral part of the Dartmouth culture, the Army ROTC program was forced off campus during the Vietnam War due to protests from the student body. The program returned in a limited capacity in the 1980s with an Army instructor from Norwich University coming down to Dartmouth several times a week to teach classes.




    • Washington University in St. Louis: Army ROTC program on campus, but no credit is offered.




    • Brown University: No ROTC programs on campus, and no credit is offered. No transportation is offered to the nearest ROTC-friendly location, Providence College. After voting to remove academic credit for ROTC courses, the faculty at Brown successfully banned the Army ROTC program from campus in the early 1970s. The Air Force ROTC was eliminated in 1971 and the Navy ROTC followed in 1972. The faculty cited the program’s “failure to convert from departmental to extracurricular status” as the reason for removal.




    • Emory University: No ROTC programs on campus, transportation to nearby schools is denied to ROTC students. In 1970, protests of the Vietnam War lead students to protest the existence of an ROTC program on campus. ROTC was banned on campus since 1974 to avoid further controversy.





    • Georgetown University: Army ROTC program on campus, but only partial credit is offered. In 1970, some students and faculty disrupted ROTC classes so much that they were cancelled, and after harsh debate, Georgetown discontinued full academic credit for the courses.

      Download a copy of our research here 



    • Readers' Comments

    • There is an inaccuracy in the article. I was an ROTC student at U Penn from 1993-1996. The program was booted from campus shortly after that time, but had a continuously functioning program up until at least 1997.
      Posted by Steve on 12/10/2010
    • There is another one inaccuracy in the article. Army ROTC program on campus, but no credit is offered. No ROTC programs on campus, transportation to nearby schools is denied to ROTC students.
      Posted by Buy Pristiq on 06/22/2011
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