<< The Body Politic

CUNY’s ROTC reveille

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The New York Post reports that the City University of New York (CUNY) is beginning to allow ROTC programs back on its campuses. York College in Queens, part of the CUNY system, offered a first-year military science course this fall, which 18 students enrolled in.

The Post continues:

Next fall, the same class will start at City College of New York in Manhattan, with the Staten Island and Medgar Evers campuses expected to march closely behind.

The ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is a college-based, four-year program to groom commissioned officers to serve in the US armed forces.

CUNY’s most famous ROTC cadet is Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He graduated from CCNY at the top of his ROTC class in 1958.

The ROTC got kicked off by CUNY and many colleges nationwide in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a casualty of unrest over the Vietnam War. But it’s making a comeback. Harvard University reinstated it last year, following repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military.

“Columbia and Harvard now offer ROTC. We have students who are interested, and we want them to have the same opportunity,” said CUNY spokesman Michael Arena.

This is good news for students in New York City who, until recently, were served by just four ROTC programs within the city’s five buroughs.

Related: Cheryl Miller, “Underserved: A Case Study of ROTC in New York City”