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Good news on ROTC

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Two great news items on ROTC. First, Harvard University president Drew G. Faust announced yesterday that the university will “fully and formally” recognize ROTC upon the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

As Michael Segal notes at Advocates for ROTC, this is the first time Faust has explicitly said that her administration would welcome ROTC’s return to campus. Other university presidents, such as Columbia’s Lee Bollinger, have been vaguer on the question of what DADT’s repeal would mean for on-campus ROTC. (This leaves open the possibility that faculty opposition could still torpedo ROTC’s return–perhaps by arguing that ROTC does not meet the university’s academic standards. Faust’s statements would seem to box in Harvard’s ROTC opponents in that regard.) We can hope that Harvard’s leadership on this front will encourage others to make similar statements of support for ROTC.

Second, St. John’s University is expanding its Army ROTC program to its Staten Island campus. As Army Captain Sean Wilkes (a 2006 Columbia graduate of Fordham ROTC) notes, New York City is currently underserved by ROTC, and cadets face long commutes for training at outer borough campuses. Starting in Spring 2011, things should be somewhat easier for Staten Island students looking to serve their country.

Image from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.