explore mutually beneficial relationships with the armed forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
This vote makes Columbia the second Ivy League university in the past few months to allow ROTC to return (Harvard announced last month). Alan Feuer of the New York Times wrote about how radical a decision this was for a university like Columbia. He recalls that the university hosted many of the original radical left-wing Weathermen, a group that wanted to violently overthrow the US government. But the school’s atmosphere of anti-militarism from the 1960s seems to have subsided. Whether in its place is respect for the military or tolerant political correctness from the faculty cannot be known.
The Columbia vote brings Stanford one step closer to allowing ROTC to return. The Columbia decision will likely influence Stanford’s faculty senate decision if the faculty senate is at all worried about public opinion. At this point, a no-vote would elicit from much of the public and conservative media a strong negative comparison between Stanford and other schools. A yes-vote would be easier to justify because both Harvard and Columbia have said yes. Further, the logistical hurdles (academic credit, faculty affiliation) seem to have acceptable solutions for these Ivy League schools, and Stanford’s concerns and solutions are not too different.
Now one must ask: what is taking so long at Stanford? Columbia, within 2-3 months, has explored the ROTC issue and put the issue up to a university senate vote. Stanford, however, created its committee over a year ago and still has not presented a report to the Faculty Senate. The report was always slated for spring quarter, but at this point it seems as though the necessary information should have been collected and the opinion of the student body taken into account. Because it will take time to re-implement ROTC in whatever form the military decides to re-implement it, the faculty senate should act with urgency so that students who want to participate in a Stanford-based program have the chance to do so while they’re still in school.