Listen to Controversial Comments From ROTC Hearing

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The USenate has just isolated and posted the comment that purportedly garnered controversial reactions at last week’s ROTC hearing. The exclamation of “Racist!” that was mentioned in this morning’s NYPost article on the speaker is not discernible in this audio recording. The Post’s story is currently reproduced on the front page of the Fox News website. You can listen to the clip below.

Mr. Maschek: Hi, my name is Anthony Maschek. Can I see all the signs, raised up high for me please? Everyone that’s holding signs. Okay. First of all, if you want to villainize the military, you’re looking at it in the face right now. My name is Anthony Maschek, I served in the army nine years, deployed three times. I’ve been in a lot of bad places, sniper-trained; I was shot nine times in Iraq. I spent two years in Walter Reed; none of it I regret cause it all led me right here to this microphone.

Many of these arguments that you have have merit in some instances, but they do not have merit in terms of ROTC. What my speech is going to be about is personal responsibility. If you invite ROTC onto this campus right now, are you going to hate transgender people? Are you going to discriminate against them? If you do, that’s your problem, that’s not ROTC’s. I don’t believe that anyone that joins ROTC is gonna suddenly discriminate against transgender people just because they’re in ROTC.

If you think that the military preys on the poor and the weak, then you have to think of: you’re the one that’s excluding them from Columbia University. I think we can all agree that this is a very expensive place to go and when you exclude the ROTC from this area you are forcing them into those poor areas, so that is not just the military’s fault, that is your fault as well.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about war. It doesn’t matter how you feel about fighting. Other parts of the country – or, other parts of the world, are plotting to kill you right now, when you go to bed.

[laughter with clapping erupts from the audience]

Moderator: Quiet from the audience, please.

Mr. Maschek: It’s not a joke. There are a lot of tough men out there willing to do bad things to bad people to keep you safe. These people seriously are trying to kill you. They hate America, they hate you.

Audible audience member: That’s completely offensive.

Moderator: Audience, please.

Mr. Maschek: It’s true. And I’m not lying about it because I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. I know these people. So when you think that war is evil, it’s true…

[further commotion erupts from audience]

Moderator: Audience.

Mr. Maschek (continued): …I believe you, and I agree, war is evil. But it’s not a choice that you have and it’s not a choice that I have. I mean, I guess the choice is don’t fight and die or you can stand up for yourself and not. That’s true.

When you decide that you want to exclude ROTC from Columbia, you are yourself discriminating against people that want to do great things for their country. So you’re discriminating against discrimination and it’s just a very [confluted] thing. It’s confusing that you want to be discriminatory towards people just because. You have to take that discrimination on yourself…

Moderator: Please finish your thought.

Mr. Mascheck: That’s it. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Just to reiterate, there are to be no cat calls and no addressing commenters from the audience. There’s to be no cat calls, no addressing commenters. This needs to be an open place where people who come to speak are not threatened.



  1. Anonymous  

    I honestly don't hear anything being said. Yeah people laughed, but he also got a great round of applause.

  2. USenate  

    is unbelievable in this process.. so on top of things. Wish CCSC/ESC would get their shit together like this

  3. Stephen

    This was not a terribly articulate statement. It oversimplifies the issue. And I was mistaken when I said, elsewhere, that he didn't say anything about "people in other parts of the world." Clearly his words were along those lines. Having seen the exact transcript, I have to admit that his phrasing could be construed as insensitive - I still don't believe there's anything racist about these remarks, and, in fact, they are still factually accurate. I would not personally have used the phrase "people in other parts of the world."

    But I don't think he meant "other parts of the world" in the sense that any place that isn't America is evil. I think he was trying to emphasize the comfortable isolation in which Columbia students and other people who have no engagement with the military live. We can choose to agree or disagree with the sentiment, but I still say there's nothing racist about it.

    • one opinion  

      His comments definitely did not seem racist, though they were a bit American-centric and arguably imperialist. But given that he was on the front lines of these wars and was badly wounded by people who openly espoused anti-American views, I'm not really surprised. Whether or not you believe there is some justification to why certain people are opposed to the policies of the United States, you can't deny that there are people who, if given the chance, would kill Americans indiscriminately. I don't agree with the his somewhat Manichaean view of the world, but I definitely understand where he's coming from.

      That said, he was not really "heckled". The Post and Fox want to paint this as the sequel to the Minutemen protest, but it clearly isn't. He made some good points, then said something a little over-the-top, at which point half the audience started cheering and half the audience started laughing while some people started yelling. A few seconds later, they all shut up and let him continue and after he finished speaking, the moderator specifically asked them to show more respect. The Greek Life at Barnard town halls were much more raucous. If that's heckling, then all of my Frontiers lectures have involved a lot of it!

      • Dear Bwog  

        He was most definitely heckled and called a racist. I watched the entire the episode unfold, the audio does not completely capture the incident. Other speakers were heckled and patronized by the looney left crowd during the first townhall, none of their behavior last week was out of the ordinary.

    • Van Owen

      He has earned the right to be inarticulate.

  4. I heard a female voice say  

    "that's completely offensive"

  5. townhall attendee  

    i was there and standing right next to mr. mascheck as he gave his speech. one of the anthropology grad students who had given an anti-ROTC speech definitely called him a racist.

  6. This sounds

    like the speeches idiots in high school mock congress gave when they wanted to be \edgy\ and \controversial\ and represent the unpopular side.

  7. anon

    I'm sure the vocal critics in the audience were just chomping at the bit for someone to say something to the effect of what Mr. Maschek said. It was a simplistic statement, and I don't think it belonged in this debate. But neither did the knee-jerk anti-imperialist bullshit the other side goes on about.

  8. another opinion  

    What Maschek said, especially with the whole \planning to kill you\ bit was, sure, a little simplistic, but with any iota of thought/reading is very true. I haven't been to the debates, but judging solely on this clip it seems the opponents to ROTC, or at least those in attendance of this speech, are disinterested in any type of compromise, and instead are a bunch of immature college kids uninterested in logical discussion and a fair resolution.

    • anon

      Sure, people are planning to kill "us": America has enemies. This is true, but it isn't in any way constructive.

      And i agree with you on your second point. The vocal (and I stress vocal) anti-ROTC movement has two strategies as far as I can see. First they try to move the goalposts Mccain style, with the transgender issue. Then they attack the military as a monolith, as if there is no distinction between an officer training program and people that ultimately pull the levers of power.

      • anon

        I think it is a constructive point. Maybe not the most eloquent or nuanced statement, but I think the point was that, so long as people are willing to take up arms against America, America will need a national defense and thus a military. And why should the rich/privileged/well-educated necessarily be isolated or excluded from the type of service and sacrifice that many less-privileged make in the service of the national defense?

  9. O tempora, o mores!  

    "That's completely offensive"

    That's completely offensive... the irony

  10. Not Racist  

    Maschek's comment wasn't racist, but it was nonetheless incredibly stupid. We're not little kids here he think he could fool with anything. And, umm.. Columbia offers good financial aid, don't need ROTC or shit to pay for school. Give me a break.

    • Seriously?

      The only people who were "incredibly stupid" in this process were the neo-Marxist department of anthropology and their, what do they call it, "running dogs".

      • Alumna

        Correction: Columbia College offers a good amount of financial aid to those that manage to get it. There are still many applicants to CC that do not come because of the cost. Additionally, the other colleges, especially the General Studies school, have terrible financial support.

    • Financial Aid  

      is not a perfect system. And some people need ROTC scholarships to attend college.

      But on the other hand, there are some people who want to do ROTC in college. There are actually some people who understand the value of service to one's country and rather than moving into the corporate mill after graduation, they actually want to serve their country as an officer in armed forces.

  11. USMC

    We're here . . . with beer . . . get used to it.

  12. USMC

    "We're here, with beer, we're fabulous, don't mess with us!"

  13. Anonymous  

    One point which I feel hasn't been mentioned enough is that we haven't really given the military time to implement the repeal of DADT. We need to see how the military responds, and how these new soldiers are trerated before any substanative discussion can be had. I think Columbia is making a hasty political decision, without waiting for the results of the repeal.

    • I think

      that's the equivalent of the McCain style moving the goalposts.

      It's just another excuse - "no we can't have ROTC because the military hasn't 'implemented' the DADT repeal yet". How do you define "implement", by the way? At one extreme, the anthropology department might want implement to be defined as "when a panel of anthropology faculty certify there is no discrimination against homosexuals in the military", in which case it would never be "implemented".

    • Dear Bwog  

      Banning ROTC was a hasty political decision.

  14. It's  

    Not moving the goalposts, it's waiting until the ball goes through the posts to give points. Implementing is making sure a gay man or woman can enter the military without fear of discrimination. And, it wasn't the students who set the goal posts, it was the administration.

  15. Liberal Columbia ROTC advocate

    I'm not surprised the NY Post and FoxNews chose this particular angle of coverage. I've learned as a liberal Columbia ROTC advocate that anti-elitist/populist conservatives are as invested as radical leftists in keeping ROTC away from Columbia and Columbia out of the military. It's an article of faith for them that Columbia's split with ROTC is a touchstone of our incompatibility with the American mainstream. Columbia embracing ROTC would upset their worldview. Should Columbia refuse to invite back ROTC, both the fringe right and the fringe left will celebrate the validation of their mirroring worldviews.

    • Bravo!  

      I absolutely agree. Banning ROTC in the wake of DADT repeal is just catnip for the Murdochs and Aileses of the world.

      And, frankly, given how aggressively CU has gone after GI Bill funds with the General Studies veterans admissions, it's a little insulting to say that the vets are all right, but the program that creates them is verboten.

  16. Puzzled  

    I don't understand why this is even a discussion. If the chess club, or CU Orchestra, or tennis or something didn't allow transgender individuals, everybody would come down on them like a ton of bricks. Why does ROTC get to discriminate?

    • I think  

      for same reason Barnard College discriminates against men. And the football team discriminates against amputees. And Beta Theta Pi discriminated against me :-(.

    • Really?  

      I bet we could all name a few major world religions that officially or unofficially harbor discriminatory attitudes towards women, the LGBT community, non-members, and so on. Would you vote to ban those religious groups from campus? I'm not a fan, but if students want to go they get to make the choice, and we hope and assume they won't hold or foster the offensive viewpoints of the institution.

  17. Van Owen

    The anti-ROTC group appears to be a bunch of malcontents. I believe that they all should just go and choke themselves.

  18. does

    anyone think that if students repeal ROTC, there's a chance, maybe, that Obama might speak at CU? we know he's pro-ROTC.

  19. Hey Sean Udell

    That's right. What do you think will happen to your precious POTUS Project if you succeed in torpedo'ing ROTC?

  20. Sean

    Mr. Maschek makes a great point about the arguments with respect to the military targeting the lower class for recruitment: "If you think that the military preys on the poor and the weak, then you have to think of: you’re the one that’s excluding them from Columbia University. I think we can all agree that this is a very expensive place to go and when you exclude the ROTC from this area you are forcing them into those poor areas, so that is not just the military’s fault, that is your fault as well."
    Still the initial arguments are also inaccurate. The military draws largely from the broad middle class. It is quite selective actually, such that less than a quarter of the population even qualifies to enlist on the basis of education, criminal record, or physical ability. Few are actually recruited from the bottom two income deciles.

  21. This is  

    getting torn up on the comments section of the major news outlets.

    • That's because  

      haters will be haters. They be hating that we actually get to debate whether or not we let ROTC back on campus, while all their "debating" on their interwebs amounts to an unsatisfying attempt to vent their personal insecurities and malcontent with their current life situation misdirected as anti-elitist incompetent rage.

      But seriously, the heckling was uncalled for. I totally understand that the America's policies abroad and at home pertaining to the military have objectionable aspects (and the business and purpose of the military is never that savory to begin with). But the choice to join the ROTC or to refuse to enlist is entirely personal. If Columbia students have the mental faculties to ignore advertising selling them American Apparel leggings for $15 a pair (or do they?!), then they should also have the ability to simply decline any recruitment information or attempts from ROTC on campus. There is a kind of hypocrisy in trying to ban ROTC from coming on campus because a group of people are against the military - this brand of hypocrisy is not unlike trying banning abortion for everyone in the country because some people are personally against it.

      On the other hand, Maschek's "speech" / comment wasn't very convincing. Okay, we get it, Mr. War Hero mentioning his holier-than-thou via military servitude - you're a man because you got shot at like 50 Cent and traveled the world out of the study abroad context. I bet he totally exploits his military background as a conversational piece at parties. Maybe because it was speaking on his feet, but his arguments weren't very organized, jumping from personal beliefs, to fear-mongering, to Hobbsian (yes, I took CC) fear-mongering, to something about discriminating discrimination. Seriously... using the "there are people who are plotting to kill you. YES YOU!" line? Tsk tsk. Condescension from a General Studies student is not taken well.

      • crucial point

        I'm pretty sure American Apparel leggings are way more than $15.

      • crucial point

        ps- accusing a war vet who's been in a combat zone of exploiting his "military background as a conversational piece at parties"? You're skating on thin ice, buddy. I don't care if you're pro-ROTC- you just made a really silly assumption. Show some respect?
        I didn't think he was being condescending. I just thought that he didn't come well-prepared enough with his remarks and he ended up saying things that were easily misinterpreted.
        Oh and btw, i thought it was teh lolz how you wuz like "Condescension from a General Studies student is not taken well" becuz that in itself is an x-tremely condescending statement! LUV YA COLUMBIA!!

      • anon

        "you’re a man because you got shot at like 50 Cent and traveled the world out of the study abroad context. I bet he totally exploits his military background as a conversational piece at parties."

        This is pretty offensive buddy. This is someone who was shot nine times having sworn to protect the rights embodied in the Constitution that enable you to post this. You think he asked to get shot up and his legs amputated "as a conversational piece," or to make himself more of a man? Go resolve your own insecurities somewhere else... maybe the bathroom mirror.

      • anon

        You may have taken CC, but you misspelled "Hobbesian."

      • Wow

        Wow, congratulations on insulting a man that has one more for his country then you ever will in your life. Oh wait, unless you count joining corporate america and being rude about purple heart recipients. Why don't you talk to him sometime before you say things like this. It might change your perspective. For instance, I've never met you, but after reading your one comment, I don't like you and think you're a pampered rich kid.

      • Dear Bwog  

        I know Anthony. He never talks about his leg or Iraq, certainly does not use his vet status to his advantage, is well spoken, and has tremendous respect for his fellow classmates. Most likely he was nervous during his speech and, in that instance only, used his background to reinforce his point of view.

        • Finally.  

          Thanks for the constructive, informing comments, correcting my casual and loose speculation, and setting the record straight. I still kind of wish Anthony didn't fall back on using the "there are people out there who wants to kill you" line... but then again maybe the hecklers disrupted his train of thought. Wish he could've pointed out and fleshed out the inconsistency in anti-ROTC's reasoning for "discriminating against discrimination" more, that's all.

          The above commenters just go to show that where there is both good content and bad content, your average Columbia student might just focus on pointing out and exploiting the negative (perhaps out of a need for self-affirmation stemming from some deep-seated insecurity?). Likewise, this also meta-demonstrates the complete plausibility of academically educated students who are otherwise prone to being unaware of one's own actions from an objective perspective. It's alarming how easily Columbia students as well as average Joe's (now with new location at NoCo) can be distracted by detracting comments and baited into a reaction by some merit-lacking, Devil's advocate verbal flourishes embedded in a comment (read: haters just got trolled).

          • anonymous

            " (perhaps out of a need for self-affirmation stemming from some deep-seated insecurity?)"

            Nice try deflecting when people call out your inexcusable behavior--however, pretty transparent. Perhaps the comments mentioned were just that offensive. Next time think twice before saying a wounded vet whom you don't know "exploits his military background as a conversational piece at parties."

          • It's not "deflecting".  

            It's amateur psychoanalysis. Deflecting is what you're doing right now. You're just butt-hurt you got trolled and your petty ugly focus on the negativity in the external world reflects the negativity that your very being embodies as your soul strains under the stress of denying your in-born mediocrity.

          • anonymous

            this is the world shrugging at you

  22. Seen in Hamilton  

    Anti-ROTC people tearing down pro-ROTC signs to put up their own. There was plenty of room for both sides to be represented, but apparently members of Lucha don't believe their points are strong enough to withstand an actual open debate. Disappointing. I only wish I'd gotten a picture of their activities.

  23. Stephen

    Well, I put up some of the pro-ROTC fliers and they are indeed gone from Hamilton. In their place are, in fact, a bunch of anti-ROTC fliers (I don't know whether there were others that have been torn down or not). As of this morning, then, there are lots of anti-ROTC fliers where there had already been lots of anti-ROTC fliers, and no pro-ROTC fliers where there had been lots of pro-ROTC fliers.

    So when you say "all the anti-ROTC fliers have been torn down," this is demonstrably not true. Anyone who wants to walk over to Hamilton can see them.

    That said, I didn't see anyone tearing down my signs, and it seemed to me like someone had just done a weekly "cleaning of the bulletin board," for some reason leaving the anti-ROTC signs (or maybe the anti-ROTC groups were just very fast in getting their signs back up). Anyway I didn't see anyone tear down my signs, and I assume that mine were just taken along with all the other signs on a variety of topics.

    Still, "that's so funny" is not doing his or her side any favors by (a) making statements that are clearly not true and (b) resorting to name-calling ("asswipe."). Stay classy, Columbia!

    • Anonymous  

      Most buildings clear their bulletin boards Monday morning. Duhr. If you actually bothered to leave your GS bubble and take part in student life other than trying to bring a program here that no one is actually interested in, you might know that.

      • anon

        little bit of respect for your fellow classmates please

      • anon

        (though you're probably the kind to boo amputee veterans. wonder if you do that to all of the disabled?)

      • Stephen

        Thanks Anon, that was what I had assumed. If you had taken the time to read my post you would know that.

        Still, I didn't actually know that the bulletins were cleared on Monday morning and I do sincerely appreciate you letting me know. We could probably all do (including me) with cooling our tones a little bit.

      • Anonymous  

        A program no one is actually interested in? My boyfriend, who went to an elite, expensive private high school and is a Columbia College student just like me, told me that he almost decided to join the Marines before he met me, a year ago. Ever since he was a kid he wanted to be a pilot, and while he changed his mind and decided to go into business instead, there was a chance he could have decided the other way.

        It sounds like you have a lot of seemingly unjustified anger against GS students that you should try to cool down on, because otherwise you end up looking bigoted and ignorant about students and student life yourself.

  24. Sean

    Evidently these students and faculty members are also unaware that for the past few years Columbia has been partnering with the United States Military Academy on the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program - the academic program budding TAC Officers must complete before taking their position at West Point.

    Has anyone from Columbia's administration come forward to comment on this matter, one way or another? Or do they fear reprisals for doing so, since such a partnership also inherently discriminates against transgender individuals given that only members of the military can participate.

  25. Stephen

    Just looking at the emails to 2/20. The pace of emails has slowed down but opinion is still weighted in favor of ROTC's return, with (by my count) 12 emails in favor of ROTC coming back and 8 opposed. That brings my count of total emails to 48 in favor, 13 opposed, and a handful ambivalent or expressing no opinion. These numbers are from memory so they may be off by one or two. I really think the argument that "no one wants ROTC on campus" does not hold water given the fact that so many people have written the task force in favor of its return.

    Whether ROTC should return is, I acknowledge, a separate issue. But hopefully folks can stop pretending that no one wants ROTC here.

  26. USMC

    "stay classy Columbia"
    First off, this new generation does'nt understand the definition of class, nor for that matter, do they understand the meaning of honor. Furthermore, why is it that society equates education with intellect? Intellect can't be taught, you either have it or you don't, education is simply memory retention. These emasculated, sycophants are the least intellectual amongst us. They espouse the rantings of the elitest, "well-educated" troglodytes they aspire to become.

  27. legion

    This thread is full of WIN and immaturity.

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