DADT Overturn Paves the Way for ROTC’s Return

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Obama got DADT; will Stanford get ROTC? (White House - Wikimedia Commons)
As you’ve probably heard by now, the Senate today [overturned]( the U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by a vote of 65-31. The decision means that the oft-cited barrier to returning ROTC to college campuses around the country is now gone.

As the Reviewreported back in September, the repeal of the controversial policy barring gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military was seen as a prerequisite to the return of ROTC to Stanford:

Dr. Ewart Thomas, professor of psychology and the chair of the ROTC committee, stated, “I think it’s fair to say that the [committee] believes that there is little chance of ROTC returning if DADT is not repealed…. If DADT is repealed then we have a horserace, so to speak, and I can see a Senate vote going either way,” Thomas said.

As reported by the Politico, multiple Ivy League schools have signaled their intention to bring back ROTC programs to their campuses now that DADT has been overturned.

Harvard’s Drew Faust indicated that she would act quickly for ROTC:

I look forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard’s full and formal recognition of ROTC.

Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, said that today’s Senate vote provides “the opportunity for a new era in the relationship between universities and our military services.” And a Yale spokesman indicated that change could be coming to New Haven: “We are aware of the vote and have plans in consideration.”

So what now for Stanford?

The Faculty Senate’s ROTC committee, unlike officials at many peer institutions, declined to comment. The committee still has a number of months left to complete its research before presenting conclusions to the Faculty Senate. And until that time, I suspect that we’ll hear little out of the committee. Delays aside, ROTC at Stanford appears to have fans in high places (cough Hennessy cough), so fans of ROTC should remain hopeful.

Then again, if that support is insufficient, William Kristol at the Weekly Standard suggested in a blog post today that Congress push universities to accept ROTC:

But over the next two years Congress can do something else. It can take an interest in ensuring that discrimination against ROTC on college campuses ends.

I’m not sure I see Congress or the military attempting to enforce the Solomon Amendment, as Kristol suggests, so let’s hope that enough momentum exists on campus to get it done.

Regular readers of this blog and newspaper know that we’ve had quite a bit to say about the issue over the past quarter. And with the repeal of DADT, the discussion about ROTC is likely set to heat up even more as its return becomes more likely. Stay tuned.

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