Sadly, some of America’s most prestigious institutions still ban ROTC and military recruiters from their campuses. Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Emory University are but a few of the schools that don’t give young people the opportunity to join ROTC and meet with military recruiters.
Since 1969, Stanford has banned ROTC because the classes that comprised the ROTC curriculum supposedly did not meet Stanford’s baseline academic standards.
Stanford’s bias against the military continues to this day. Just last week, Dr. George Fisher of Stanford Law School sent the following email (signed by other faculty members) to every law school student encouraging them to not interview with a recruiter from the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. This email is lengthy, but it does detail how Stanford has fought against the military at every step. Even after the Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold the Solomon amendment which Young America’s Foundation spearheaded, Stanford still resists.
More to come tomorrow.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: George F
Date: Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 10:51 AM
Subject: [law-2012] JAG Corps recruiting on campus
To: 2009 2010 2011 list names at lists.stanford.edu
Cc: faculty at lists.stanford.edu
Dear SLS Students:
You just received a message from Career Services offering you the chance to meet with a recruiter from the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps during On-Campus Interviewing this month. We hope you will take a moment to read this note before signing up for an interview.
Like all components of the armed forces, the JAG Corps of the various services officially discriminate against applicants who say they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual or whose homosexual or bisexual conduct becomes known. This hiring restriction flatly violates the law school’s nondiscrimination policy: “Stanford Law School makes its facilities and services open only to employers who do not discriminate on the basis of age, religion, disability, ethnic background, national origin, gender, race, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.” As one aspect of this policy, the law school opens the facilities and services of the Office of Career Services only to those employers who ban discrimination on these grounds. Our nondiscrimination policy has extended to sexual orientation for at least twenty years; it was among the first at any law school to do so.
For decades, therefore, the law school has refused to host or assist military recruiters on campus. Our refusal has expressed our pledge that within these walls, we will make no distinction among you in extending any benefit or service except according to merit or need. We regard these practices of even handedness and meritocratic distinction as fundamental educational principles.
Late in 1994 Congress enacted the Solomon Amendment, which threatened to cut certain federal funding to schools that “effectively prevent[ed]” military recruiting on campus. A regulation originally issued by the Department of Defense interpreted the law to mean that when one part of a university, such as its law school, barred military recruiters, only that part would lose its federal funds. As long as this regulation remained in effect, the law school never assisted military recruiters on campus. In 1997 the Department of Defense began to threaten action against Stanford Law School. When the faculty met to discuss the matter, Dean Paul Brest told us that we stood to lose half a million dollars a year if the Department of Defense followed through on its threat to cut funding. The faculty overwhelmingly favored keeping our nondiscrimination policy in force even at the risk of those funds.
In January 2000, however, the Department of Defense rewrote its regulations to provide that when any part of a university prevents military recruiting, the entire university would lose all funding from the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education, Transportation, and Health and Human Services. At Stanford these funds total several hundred million dollars a year. The present regulations mean that enforcing the law school’s policy against JAG Corps recruiters could devastate many unrelated and valuable programs across the Stanford campus.
In response to the 2000 amendment, several faculty members and students began preparing a lawsuit against the Department of Defense to enjoin enforcement of the Solomon Amendment against the law school. Our brief argued that the Solomon Amendment violated the faculty’s academic freedom and the law school’s rights of free speech and free association. Because the law school cannot bring suit in its own name, Dean Kathleen Sullivan presented this brief to University officials and asked that the University file suit to defend the law school’s antidiscrimination policy. After the University declined, we circulated our brief around the country in hopes that another school’s administration might take up the banner and launch suit. None did.
In 2003, therefore, dozens of law schools and law faculties joined in creating FAIR, the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights. FAIR brought suit against the Department of Defense, largely echoing the claims made in our faculty’s earlier brief. The Stanford law faculty voted to join FAIR as the United Faculty of Stanford Law School and voted to make our membership publicly known. Among top law schools, Georgetown, NYU, and Stanford were the sole public members of FAIR.
In late November 2004, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in FAIR’s favor and directed the lower court to enjoin enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. The Third Circuit held that the Solomon Amendment violated law schools’ rights of expressive association and against compelled speech. But in 2006, in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47 (2006), the Supreme Court unanimously reversed, restoring the Solomon Amendment to force.
Still, JAG Corps recruiters have come to campus only rarely. Both before and after the FAIR decision, Department of Defense regulations specifically permitted educational institutions to enforce evenhanded student-interest policies that limited recruitment access to those employers in whom enough students expressed interest. Stanford Law School has had such a policy in place for over a decade. It provides that when a new employer or one who does not have an established recruiting history here seeks to take part in the law school’s on-campus interview program, the Office of Career Services must determine if there is sufficient student interest before scheduling the employer for interviews. The policy has helped OCS fairly allocate scarce interview space. It also has saved employers, including military recruiters, the time and money wasted by coming here when few students or none wish to meet with them. In most past years too few students claimed an interest in seeing military recruiters to qualify them for participation in our on-campus interview program.
Recently, however, the Department of Defense acted to eliminate its regulatory approval of student-interest policies. Despite Stanford Law School’s official opposition to the proposed regulatory change, authored by Professor Sullivan for Dean Kramer, the Department promulgated new regulations that interpret the Solomon Amendment to compel “the same access to campus and students provided by the school to any other nonmilitary recruiters or employers receiving the most favorable access.” It appears that the law school therefore no longer may apply its student-interest policy to military recruiters.
In FAIR the Supreme Court recognized the right of law schools “to express whatever views they may have on the military’s congressionally mandated employment policy, all the while retaining eligibility for federal funds.” FAIR, 547 U.S. at 60. Indeed the Association of American Law Schools mandates that schools visited by military recruiters counteract the harmful effects of granting such access by “provid[ing] ‘amelioration’ in a form that . . . expresses publicly the law school’s disapproval of the discrimination against gays and lesbians by the military . . . .” (Memo 97-46.)
The individual faculty members who have signed this letter join in an appeal rooted in the principles of equality and meritocratic treatment that impel the law school’s nondiscrimination policy. We ask those of you who wish to work for the military to contact JAG Corps recruiters directly and to arrange off-campus interviews rather than meeting with them during OCI. By meeting with military recruiters off campus, you will declare your support for the law school’s nondiscrimination policy and your respect for those of your colleagues whose expression of sexual orientation disqualifies them for military service.
JAG Corps service is noble work. We are enormously proud of those graduates who go on to serve in the military. But we regard nondiscrimination as a fundamental educational principle. SLS has pledged to make no distinction among you in the benefits or services we provide except according to merit or need. Because we believe the military’s policy of overt discrimination undermines this educational principle, we hope those of you who seek military service will arrange to meet military recruiters off campus.
Nora Freeman Engstrom