Professors Sign Petition Against NROTC on Campus

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Hot on the heels of an NROTC professor endorsement, a number of faculty members have signed the following statement of opposition to NROTC on campus. In fact, this petition is something of a direct response to the pro-NROTC side’s statements: “In contrast to those who have expressed support for ROTC based on hypothetical conditions, we recognize that any position on ROTC must be grounded in the present. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is official policy and exceptions cannot be negotiated,” it reads. 

Some of Columbia’s biggest names have signed on, including Eric Foner, Dennis Dalton, Victoria de Grazia, and Michael Taussig, among others.

The ad will be published in tomorrow’s Spectator — there’s a screenshot of the PDF, above. There’s also a concurrent online petition that was made available for faculty to sign this morning.

Full text of the statement after the jump.

We, the undersigned, stand strongly opposed to the introduction of ROTC on Columbia’s campus.  In contrast to those who have expressed support for ROTC based on hypothetical conditions, we recognize that any position on ROTC must be grounded in the present. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is official policy and exceptions cannot be negotiated.  While the extent of our opposition varies, we all agree that at this time ROTC has no place on our campus.

Victoria de Grazia (History)

Karen Seeley (Anthropology)

Michael Taussig (Anthropology)

Elizabeth Bernstein (Women’s Studies and Sociology, Barnard)

Eric Foner (History)

Neni Panourgia (Anthropology)

Mary Marsh Zulack (Law School)

Mahmood Mamdani (Anthropology)

Lila Abu-Lughod (Anthropology and Gender Studies)

Katherine Franke (Law School)

John Pemberton (Anthropology)

Elizabeth Povinelli (Anthropology and Gender Studies)

David Rosner (History and School of Public Health)

Rosalind Morris (Anthropology)

Suzanne Goldberg (Law School)

Carole S. Vance (Anthropology and School of Public Health)

Hamid Dabashi (MEALAC)

Dennis Dalton (Political Science, Barnard)

Gil Anidjar (MEALAC and Religion)

Ellen Chapnick (Law School)

Nan Rothschild (Anthropology)

Natalie Kampen (Women’s Studies, Barnard)

Gary Okihiro (International and Public Affairs)

Julie Crawford (English and Comparative Literature)

Jamal Greene (Law School)

Brinkley Messick (Anthropology)

Jeffrey Fagan (Law School, Former University Senator)

Wendy Chavkin (School of Public Health)

Matthew Miller (Germanic Languages)

Eben Moglen (Law School)

Diane di Mauro (School of Public Health)

Neferti X. M. Tadiar (Women’s Studies, Barnard)

Paige West (Anthropology, Barnard)

Peter H. Juviler (Professor Emeritus and Special Lecturer) 

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  1. wtf  

    did they just jack the W from the walgreen's logo?

  2. random  

    ooo, it's the battle of the useless majors: poli sci. vs. anthro/english/history

  3. 3 things:  

    1) Misuse of the term "hypothetical." The "hypothetical" nature of the debate isn't that we can have conditions (which we of course will) but that gay students may hypotetically get expelled from NROTC, even though this rarely happens in practice (and would be an enormous PR smear for the military if it happened here).

    2) Simplification of the debate - it's on NROTC, not ROTC overall. And, according to Columbia policy, exceptions can "be negotiated" because "Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University’s educational mission" which is debatable.

    3) Dennis Dalton signed this? Really? NROTC on campus is a liberal activist's godsend. Where would we be if Rosa Parks boycotted the Montgomery bus system alone before she got publicly dragged off the bus and mobilized supporters?

    • your args are  

      unsound, and the last one is just straight up irrelevant.

      1) If gay students engage in homosexual conduct or express indications of their sexual orientation at any point in time, they would be rendered ineligible for an officer's commission. DADT discourages gay students from enrolling in NROTC and from "coming out" to their peers and superiors, as doing so would effectively preclude them from advancing - and ultimately enlisting- in the military. There's nothing "hypothetical" about soliders getting discharged from the military for homosexual behavior - such are the tragic consequences of a discriminatory, misguided policy.

      2) I think you're misunderstanding the point that the signatories are trying to make. They're saying that it's naive to believe that NROTC on Columbia's campus will be an exception to the DADT rule - as past bwog commenters have pointed out in regards to taking a page from MIT's "re-insurance" proposals (to restore NROTC scholarship funding for ejected gay students), taking small measures to put a bandage on the detrimental effects of a larger policy isn't dismantling or even an effective protest of it... DADT will remain in place as long as all NROTC- affiliated universities respect the policies and political forces that be.

      3) What a strange appropriation of the civil rights movement... can't really respond to that because your point doesn't really make sense. I am a political moderate and I do NOT support the establishment of NROTC on campus.

    • wait  

      You think a liberal activist would want NROTC on campus just so that he/she could protest it?

    • ...

      huh? i think the use of the term "hypothetical" is in response to the "some of us only support rotc in the event of a repeal of dadt" language in the pro-rotc statement.

      i think there is some interesting maneuvering going on in the pro-rotc statement. it takes both those who are interested in an unconditional return and those who are only interested in a conditional (repeal of dadt) return and lumps their numbers into a broad "yes on rotc return" category. in doing so, i think they inflate their numbers.

      i'm glad to see them get called out on it here. it's misleading.

      • DADT is a front

        The pro-ROTC professors are making the point that ROTC on campus would uphold Columbia's mission. In contrast, if you read the anti-ROTC professors' on-line petition, you'll see that it doesn't mention DADT at all and states that ROTC has no place in our academy. Clearly, professors who are opposed to ROTC altogether use DADT as an excuse, and it is their discrimination that is being addressed by pro-ROTC professors.

        From the anti-ROTC professors' on-line petition: "We, the undersigned, represent a diversity of disciplines, personal experiences, and political viewpoints. However, as faculty members responsible for creating a welcoming community for all, committed to eternal questioning and the vital interplay of ideas, we are united in our opposition to the institution of an ROTC program on the Columbia campus."

  4. nice!  

    the battle of the history heavyweights: Foner vs. Jackson

    Glad to see also that this side is taking a real stand, as opposed to the bullshit statement made by the vaguley pro-ROTC petition.

  5. please, shut up  

    Victoria de Grazia should realize that she is a lightweight, and shut the hell up.

  6. Rodney King  

    Can't we all just get along?

  7. i'm not  

    sure that you can properly infer that the professors are opposing the NROTC solely on the grounds of DADT and not for other reasons as well.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say that DADT is being used as "an excuse" for something else... an excuse for what? Possible opposition to the military for other reasons, such as the military's predatory recruitment of people of color and the military industrial complex? Why should these reasons be considered less valid than DADT? I think it's pretty insidious to assume that these professors are using DADT as a "front" for some nefarious scheme or another.

    I would take even bigger issue with your suggestion that the military's discrimination enacted against gay soldiers is somehow an "excuse" that is being flung around by anti-ROTC organizers... I think it goes without saying that DADT is very real and affecting the lives of gay people everywhere today. I would also disagree with your insinuation that only the pro-NROTC signatories have made arguments relevant to the effects of NROTC on Columbia's mission. The anti-NROTC professors state that the faculty of Columbia are "responsible for creating a welcome community for all", and are committed to remaining critical about organizations that stand in direct contradiction to the university's anti-discrimination policies. If I'm wrong about your args, please be clearer about what you mean in the future, or be more explicit about what you want to say...

    • You Lost Me  

      And pretty much everyone else at "military industrial complex".

      So the military is just to kill people and neither serves another purpose as whole nor teaches it's members anything else?

      I agree with those who oppose the NROTC returning to campus for DADT reasons. Those who think a military education has no place on our campus for "academic" reasons are more close-minded than the people they fling insults at from their ivory towers.

      • hmmm  

        I think it's just you... maybe you should read up on what the military industrial complex is. It is certainly NOT the idea that "the military is just to kill people and neither serves another purpose as whole nor teaches it's [sic] members anything else."

        Here's a good primer. It's a wikipedia article so it's pretty accessible and should be easy to understand:

        Oh, and perhaps after having read up on what the mic actually is, you can read the rest of my argument- which I'll gladly discuss with you. Oh, and for the record, DADT is the primary reason for my opposition to the NROTC - I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that I think that "a military education has no place on our campus for 'academic' reasons" ... it'd behoove you to elaborate on what you mean by "academic" reasons anyway.

        haha and to the last comment E guess I do give a shit because #3 and #4 pretty readily apply to me.

  8. Culturewar Pacifist  

    Here are more old people perpetuating the culture wars. ROTC is one program is a huge university that already has classes like "pirates, boys, and capitalism." I don't think having one or two military science classes is going to be the end of the world.

    Didn't Dennis Dalton retire already?

  9. critical observer  

    None of these professors teach anything practical. I don't see any Econ, engineering, math, or science. The only political science guy is Dennis Dalton who a. teaches at Barnard and b. is crazy as evidenced by his support of and participation in the hunger strike.

    If voting against ROTC puts me in such crazy company, I am definitely voting for it.

    • practical?  

      Why did you come to a liberal arts school if you view those topics as unpractical? Also, Dalton isn't discredited as less of a prof because he's a barnard prof -- get off ur elitist bullshit

    • ...  

      riiight, and the pro-rotc group is full of engineering, math and science types...

      lets get real here. the only people who care about this shit are:

      1) the milvets who are pushing it

      2) the lefties who are against it

      3) the law people who find it an interesting argument to dissect

      4) the gays, who some of which are offended by it

      5) the prominents, who are looking to pad their law school application

      6) the bored, who are spending minutes per day providing commentary on it on bwog (ding!)

      math, science and engineering types could really give two shits. as was mentioned before, they have work to do.

      • agreed  

        yeah. seriously, I am a science major and I have no idea what is going on.
        Its not that I don't care, it's just that I view things in a very simple manner:
        military policies are not fair and involve discrimination.
        discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation is not acceptable.
        said military policy is unacceptable.
        we do not want programs with unacceptable policies on campus.
        so this is probably what most people with any sense of logic are thinking.
        then its a question of "well if they do blablablablablabal then it will be more acceptable".
        whatever--prove it. in any case, there are so many more discriminatory policies that it doesn't matter.
        it's just annoying to see that people even argue about these things.

      • math major  

        and would have done ROTC (taking it at Fordham screws up academic schedule). In case you didn't know the last two CC grads to be commissioned USMC officers were math Majors.

        If you don't care why don't you just vote yes since ROTC will have no effect on your life. It will only effect those that sign up. Gays can join, they just can't go skipping around gleefully bragging about their gayness like they do everywhere else. For good reason too. How do you think 18-19 year old enlistees are going to respect an officer who flaunts his/her gayness.

        • uhhhhh  

          "Gays can join, they just can't go skipping around gleefully bragging about their gayness like they do everywhere else. For good reason too. How do you think 18-19 year old enlistees are going to respect an officer who flaunts his/her gayness."

          oh, i didn't realize that DADT was an acceptable policy because being gay actually makes you less of a human being... thank you for clearing that up.

  10. Richard Fuld  

    those econ classes were sure practical....

  11. Yes,  

    Dalton is retired, but he's still Professor Emeritus.

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