The university senate at Columbia just passed a resolution, 51-17-1, expressing support for inviting the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps back to campus.
The key section of the resolution states, “Columbia University welcomes the opportunity to explore further mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.”
As a participant at today’s senate meeting explained, “If this passes, I think there’s a general understanding that what this means is that there’s a favorable sentiment for the return of ROTC…This is a powerful, powerful vote.”
Indeed. While there are many details to be worked out, this vote puts the ball in the military’s court. The Army has already expressed interest in restoring ties with Columbia University – although what that might mean, given resource constraints, is unclear. ROTC supporters are also interested in restoring the Naval program, given Columbia’s longstanding history with the Navy and the fact that there are no cross-enrollment opportunities currently available in New York City.
Columbia’s ROTC proponents are to be congratulated – but there is still much work to be done.