R.O.T.C. marches back to some college campuses after a 40-year absence

During the turbulent Vietnam era, Columbia University students were very vocal about their opposition to the War and other military actions carried out by the United States. As a result, R.O.T.C. left the school campus in 1969.

Times have changed, Americans have learned not to blame the men and women in the military for the decisions of our leaders, and R.O.T.C. may be coming back to the Columbia University campus. The University Senate voted to "explore mutually beneficial relationships with the armed forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps." Just six years ago the University Senate votes against bringing R.O.T.C. back to campus, but the difference this time may be the signing of a bill by President Obama to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy.

Other schools follow suit

Harvard announced just last month that they would again allow the Naval R.O.T.C. to be active on campus after a 40-year absence. Harvard university president Drew Gilpin Faust said in a statement, "Our renewed relationship affirms the vital role that the members of our Armed Forces play in serving the nation and securing our freedoms, while also affirming inclusion and opportunity as powerful American ideals."

While it's a commonly held belief that R.O.T.C. was actually banned from these and other campuses, the truth is that if colleges and universities actually banned the R.O.T.C., they wouldn't be eligible to receive federal financing. According to the Solomon Amendment, any college that has a "policy or practice" preventing the military from maintaining, establishing or operating R.O.T.C. on its campus will have its federal funding withdrawn. Harvard did not officially ban the group, but because the military would not meet academic standards at Harvard, the faculty voted to make R.O.T.C. an extracurricular activity. As a result, R.O.T.C. pulled out of Harvard, but the anti-war sentiment and protests on college campuses may have helped make the decision a bit easier.

The votes from Harvard and Columbia to welcome R.O.T.C. back on campus are merely showing that they have no beef with the military at this point and they won't protest if the R.O.T.C. comes back to their campuses. There has been no official word on whether the military will take these schools up on their invitations…


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