<< The Body Politic

The Other ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Monday, November 15th, 2010


The Other ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Why won’t the Pentagon stand up for ROTC?
By Cheryl Miller
Weekly Standard
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is the Solomon Amendment a dead letter? The statute, enacted in 1996, forbids federal funding to universities that prohibit military recruiters or Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units from their campuses. Yet today, nearly 15 years since the amendment’s passage—and despite President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to “vigorously enforce” the law—ROTC is still absent from some of the nation’s most selective schools.

That absence is due to the well-known opposition of several prominent universities—among them, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, and the University of Chicago—to the congressionally mandated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) for gays or bisexuals serving in the military. In a much-discussed speech at Duke University this September, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates professed encouragement that these universities were “at least reconsidering their position on military recruiting and officer training—a situation that has been neither good for the academy nor the country.”

Certainly, the recent debate over modifying or eliminating DADT has raised hopes among some that ROTC will return to those colleges from which it has been barred since the Vietnam era. But with the election of many new conservatives to Congress this past week, it appears unlikely that such changes will be coming soon. And, indeed, other than a few perfunctory words in praise of Duke students who serve in the armed forces, Gates was largely silent as to what the department might do to address the current situation—other than to hope universities might one day welcome ROTC back.

Read the whole thing at the Weekly Standard.

Image by Brian Bennett.