Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Now for ROTC and Military Recruiters With the End of DADT?

Congress’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is long overdue. It marks a milestone in the advancement of gay rights.

The repeal of DADT raises the issue of what should now happen with military recruiters and ROTC on campus, especially the elite private universities, many of which have used the mantra of gay rights to discriminate against the recruiters and
The hostility to the military is deep seated on many campuses going back to the Vietnam War and opposition to the War. ROTC, which was once almost universal on campuses, was banned on many campuses with military and CIA recruiters barred. Law school faculties often voted to bar military recruiters, depriving their students of opportunities to go into JAG.

Prior to Vietnam, many schools required two years of ROTC, often labeled Military Science, for male undergrads.

Four Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Brown, as do Chicago and Stanford, continue to exclude ROTC from their campuses. So strong is this faculty bias on some campuses that one of the major, underlying reasons for the Harvard faculty’s vote of no-confidence in then President Lawrence Summers was that he wanted to bring ROTC back to Harvard.

Let us note that many of today’s faculty were children of the 60”s, and that contempt and disdain for the military is pervasive on many campuses.

Keeping ROTC off-campus at many schools is not a total ban on their students joining ROTC. For example, Harvard students can join the ROTC program at MIT and Stanford students at Santa Clara.

The ostensible argument used by faculties to bar ROTC and military recruiters is the schools’ formal policy of banning LGBT discrimination. Thus they exclude recruiters from institutions that engage in such discrimination. That obviously includes the military, at least until President Obama signs the repeal legislation.

Ironically President Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and law degree from Harvard, both of which keep ROTC off-campus, but he is now Commander-in-Chief of America’s military. President Obama, in his capacity as CIC, administered the oath to ROTC grads at the University of Michigan at last spring’s graduation, where he received an honorary degree.

171 law schools are members of the Association of American Law Schools. The AALS adopted a policy in 1990 against discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation. Pursuant to Executive Committee Regulation 6.9, employers that seek to use law school career services must provide written assurance that they will not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

This policy statement should not be a surprise. Most members of the Academy strongly support equal rights for LGBT

Congress responded in 1996 to the ban against military recruiters by enacting the Solomon Amendment, which has been amended several times. In essence, colleges and universities that bar military recruiters will face the cutoff of all federal funding, such as research grants. This proscription will apply to the entire institution even if only one department or school, such as the law school, engages in such activity.

That was too high a risk for almost all law schools and heir parent institutions so they reluctantly acceded to the Solomon Amendment.

That did not preclude litigation though.

The AALS policy of effectively rejecting military recruiters was tested before the Supreme Court in the 2006 case of Rumsfeld v. FAIR. The Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment. All but two law schools, both free-standing, embraced military recruiters. The two exceptions are William Mitchell and Vermont Law School
The end of DADA should tell us which institutions were masking their underlying opposition to the military on gay rights.

Will the elites bring back ROTC? If not, we know where they really stand on national security.

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