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ROTC Surges on Elite College Campuses

8:51 AM, Apr 23, 2011 • By CHERYL MILLER
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Yesterday was a big day for ROTC. Just three weeks after Columbia’s university senate voted in favor of engaging with ROTC, Columbia has announced it will reinstate its Navy ROTC program. The agreement between President Lee C. Bollinger and Navy secretary Ray Mabus marks the end of a 42-year ban on the program.

Meanwhile, ROTC looks set to return to both Stanford and Yale. Yesterday, the Stanford ad hoc committee on ROTC voted unanimously to support ROTC’s return to campus. The faculty senate will vote on the recommendations next week.

Likewise, the Yale faculty committee on ROTC released its own report, recommending that Yale amend the four resolutions approved by the faculty in 1969, which led to the campus ban on ROTC. The Yale faculty will vote May 5.

Full press release and President Bollinger’s email:

Columbia to Officially Recognize Naval ROTC

NEW YORK, April 22, 2011 — Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus today announced that Columbia and the U.S. Navy have agreed to officially reinstate Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Program enrollment opportunities at the University.

“Repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law provided a historic opportunity for our nation to live up to its ideals of equality and also for universities to reconsider their relationships with the military,” said Bollinger. “After many months of campus discussion, open forums, and a strongly favorable vote in the University Senate, together with consultation with the University’s Council of Deans, it is clear that the time has come for Columbia to reengage with the military program of ROTC.  I believe that it is the right course of action for Columbia to formalize this recognition and thereby add to the diversity of choices for education and public service we make available to our students.”

Under the agreement, Columbia will resume full and formal recognition of Naval ROTC after the effective date of the repeal of the law that disqualified openly gay men and lesbians from military service, anticipated to come later this year.

“Columbia University and the Department of the Navy have a long and rich history together,” said Secretary Mabus. “The formal recognition of Naval ROTC by Columbia marks a renewal of that storied relationship. Columbia’s tremendous support to our men and women in uniform returning from the recent wars is overwhelming, as are the growing numbers of veterans who are woven into the fabric of this great institution. The return of Naval ROTC to campus will only serve to enhance and strengthen our institutions and continue to contribute to the success of this great country.”

On April 1, Columbia’s University Senate passed a resolution by a vote of 51-17 welcoming “the opportunity to explore mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.” University Provost Claude M. Steele will establish a committee of faculty, students and administrators to oversee implementation of the ROTC program consistent with Columbia’s academic standards and policies of nondiscrimination.

Columbia’s Navy and Marine Corps-option midshipmen will participate in Naval ROTC through the NROTC unit hosted at the SUNY Maritime College in Throgs Neck, Queens. They will join Columbia’s Army and Air Force ROTC members who will continue to train, as they do currently, with other New York area students at consortium units at Fordham University and Manhattan College. At present, there are nine Columbia and Barnard College students participating in these New York consortium units. The new agreement between the Navy and Columbia will provide that NROTC active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers will be able to meet with Columbia NROTC midshipmen on the Columbia campus in spaces furnished by Columbia.

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