One year after renewing its ties with Naval ROTC, Columbia University held a welcome ceremony for its returning midshipmen yesterday afternoon.
The event provided a progress report of sorts on Columbia’s implementation of the ROTC program. Currently, five Columbia students participate in Naval ROTC through a partnership with SUNY Maritime. Columbia provides transportation for the students to and from Maritime, and has also built a small office for the Navy in its campus student center. In addition, the university recently approved two NROTC courses for credit – one in the philosophy department and another in engineering.
In his remarks, Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger hailed ROTC’s return as “a historic moment in which a breach is repaired.” And perhaps in a veiled reference to the antics of antimilitary students and faculty at nearby City University of New York, Bollinger continued: “And that is how it should be. There is no good reason why our great academic institutions should not offer students the opportunity” to serve in the ROTC.