Just Not Now

DISSENT

ROTC, as it now exists, should not be granted University affiliation. Its policy not to admit gays and lesbians is a blatant, inexcusable violation of human rights. Its policy of requiring academic credit for its own courses would be an unacceptable intrusion into what should be the sole prerogative of the University.

But to say that ROTC should never return to campus puts the staff in the position of being prognosticators. The staff implies that it knows what ROTC will agree to in the future. No one, including current ROTC leaders, can say what ROTC policy will be in future years. In addition, the staff's assertion that the military is the most inflexible arm of the government does not hold water, at least with respect to ROTC. ROTC has reached extremely innovative and flexible arrangements with colleges which have had qualms about outside interference with their curricula.

If ROTC were to stop violating individuals' rights and were not to require academic credit, it should be given University affiliation. The staff says that educational programs not under the academic control of the University should not be allowed on campus. This stand is an affront to civil liberties and freedom of association. If applied across the board, it would require programs such as the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program to shut down because they are not part of the academic structure. But the staff would not apply this standard across the board. It would pick and choose the activities that are socially beneficial. I happen to agree with the staff that our country needs more teachers at this point than military officers, but I would not presume to sit in judgment of student groups' relative beneficence. It is ironic and hypocritical that after praising the values of free thinking and open debate, the staff would deny a group of students to assemble on campus.

One University rule that ROTC would never, by any stretch of the imagination, be able to comply with is the one prohibiting student groups from having direct links with national organizations. The problem there is not with ROTC, but with an unfair rule that amounts to an appalling violation of freedom of association. The University should repeal that regulation immediately.