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Removing ROTC simply a "quick fix"

I would like to comment on the Arts and Sciences Council meeting about military policy regarding homosexuals. Some statements need clarification so that an honest discussion can occur. For instance, any reference to "ROTC policy" is misdirected. All policies concerning who may serve in the military (and receive a scholarship) are generated at the federal level by Congress, the President, and the Department of Defense, NOT the local ROTC. The quote that "ROTC should be able to cease discrimination within five years. . ." thus asks the impossible. ROTC cannot affect policy; it must follow laws set by Congress and policies given by the Department of Defense. As for ROTC, all students are allowed to take any academic classes offered by the units.

I am personally opposed to the ban, but removing ROTC is not an effective countermeasure. First, the government is looking to cut units anyway. Various ROTC's have received their pink slips, and with cuts going as they are, more are on the way. Furthermore, the military could adapt the service academies to fulfill most officer requirements. Getting ROTC removed from campus will only result in discriminating against those who are unable to get enough support from other scholarships. Some of the cadets and midshipmen would be unable to attend if it weren't for the aid provided by government ROTC scholarships. Removing these would be an unfortunate, costly way to make a statement that would be both misdirected and ineffective. I hope the University uses its leverage in the academic world to effect change, but I also hope this leverage is applied more appropriately to the source of the problem. Continuously avoiding the greater issues by focusing on the local ROTC units is an unjust, narrow-minded way to create a "quick fix" rather than a long term solution.

Michael Gustafson

Engineering '93


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