Update: Faculty Positions on ROTC

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As the Task Force wraps up its proceedings, faculty members have taken definitive stances on the issue of ROTC’s return. An advertisement (pdf here) appeared in the print version of the Spectator on Monday, reprinting the faculty statement of support, countered by a new statement of opposition. You can read our post from February 19th which includes the full statement and names of pro-ROTC signatories here, and the opposition statement below. The list is dominated by members English, History and Anthropology departments, and some heavy hitters include:

  • MICHAEL TAUSSIG, Class of 1933 Professor of Anthropology
  • DAVID HELFAND, Professor, Astronomy
  • RASHID KHALIDI, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, MESAAS
  • GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY SPIVAK, University Professor
  • MARY GORDON, McIntosh Professor of English, Barnard


We, the undersigned faculty members of Columbia University and Barnard College, wish to state our unequivocal opposition to the reinstatement of ROTC at Columbia…We hold it to be a matter of the most profound principle and educational philosophy that the idea of a university and the ethos of the military are incompatible. We believe that the militarization of the campus represented by ROTC’s uniformed presence is at odds with what we, as educators, hold sacrosanct. Advocates for ROTC’s return to campus claim that it would democratize Columbia, while enabling financially disadvantaged individuals to access the excellent opportunities of the Ivy League. We agree that poorer Americans should be given better opportunities, but we do not believe that upward social mobility should be ransomed for military service. Other forms of service, from planting trees to compensate for environmental destruction, to rebuilding communities ravaged by natural disasters, or tutoring disadvantaged youth, are not provided with systematic scholarship opportunities, and we do not believe that poor people should have to embrace militarism to obtain an education. By contrast, we would gladly endorse a more expansive and robust federal financial aid system open to all, with no strings attached. And we believe that many resources spent on funding war would be better spent on education.

We do not oppose veterans on our campus but we do not believe that the presence of non-uniformed soldiers has the same impact on the
university as ROTC would. Columbia has a long tradition of welcoming veterans. Those who are soldiers or ex-soldiers and seeking education can and do attend classes, at all levels. But they are present to others as students and not as the symbolic incarnations of the military. In uniform, individuals are representatives of the military before all else, and their presence constitutes a symbolic militarization of campus.

Columbia aspires to be a global university. In the classrooms of our remarkably internationalized institution, students from countries that are otherwise at war speak to each other and forge the basis of mutual understanding and peace. This possibility is threatened by the presence of the uniformed military.

It is often said that it is the right of all to pursue their chosen paths and that exclusion of the ROTC constitutes discrimination against those who wish to participate in ROTC. Similarly, the drive to re-instate ROTC has gathered momentum in the aftermath of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” on the grounds that its discriminatory powers have now been overcome. In fact, Columbia students are already able to partake in ROTC at other New York area campuses where ROTC exists. Equally important is the fact that ROTC will remain a discriminatory institution even after DADT has become a relic of history. There are many reasons–from physical disability to age–for which people are disqualified from admission. This fact is clearly contrary to Columbia’s policy, which prohibits discrimination against “any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs.”

Many soldiers who advocate ROTC’s return to Columbia rightly note that it is not the military that generates policies which are then implemented by soldiers, but Congress. The military merely implements those policies. But here is the most profound point of opposition between the military and the university as institutions: ROTC, and the military in general, trains people for obedience to the chain of command, whereas the university cultivates a critical and constantly questioning consciousness. This is the essence of the university’s contribution to a democratic society. Although the military may play a defensive role to uphold that same democracy, it does so by means that are antithetical to those of the university, where speech and dialogue, rather than the bearing of arms and the use of force, are primary. For this reason, we believe that the ideas and ideals to which our university has been and should be devoted are undermined by the presence of ROTC on campus.

NADIA ABU EL HAJ, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Barnard
LILA ABU-LUGHOD, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science,
BASHIR ABU-MANNEH, Assistant Professor, English, Barnard
ALEXANDER ALBERRO, Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Art History, Barnard
GIL ANIDJAR, Associate Professor, MESAAS & Religion
COURTNEY BENDER, Associate Professor, Religion
ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN, Assistant Professor, Women”s Studies, Barnard
AKEEL BILGRAMI, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy
ELIZABETH S. BLACKMAR, Professor, History
BRIAN BOYD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Anthropology
LILA BRAINE, Professor Emerita, Barnard
TAYLOR CARMAN, Professor, Philosophy, Barnard
ELIZABETH CASTELLI, Professor and Chair, Religion, Barnard
JEAN LOUISE COHEN, Professor, Political Science
ELAINE COMBS-SCHILLING, Associate Professor, Anthropology
JOHN COLLINS, Professor, Philosophy
EDGAR RIVERA COLON, Instructor, Sociomedical Sciences
JONATHAN CRARY, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Art History
JULIE CRAWFORD, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
ZOE CROSSLAND, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
KATHERINE DIECKMANN, Assistant Professor, Film, School of the Arts
HAMID DABASHI, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies
E. VALENTINE DANIEL, Professor, Anthropology
MADELEINE DOBIE, Associate Professor, French and Romance Philology
BRENT HAYES EDWARDS, Professor, English and Comparative Literature
BERNARD FAURE, Kao Professor of Japanese Religions
CATHERINE FENNELL, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
KATHERINE FRANKE, Professor of Law
HERBERT J. GANS, Robert S. Lynd Professor Emeritus, Sociology
LYDIA GOEHR, Professor, Philosophy
BETTE GORDON, Professor, Film, School of the Arts
MARY GORDON, McIntosh Professor of English, Barnard
STATHIS GOURGOURIS, Professor, English and Comparative Literature, &
Modern Greek
NAJAM HAIDAR, Assistant Professor, Religion, Barnard
KIM HALL, Lucyle Hook Professor of English, Director, Africana Studies, Barnard
WAEL HALLAQ, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, MESAAS
ROSS O. HAMILTON, Associate Professor, English, Barnard
DAVID HELFAND, Professor, Astronomy
MARIANNE HIRSCH, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English,
English and Comparative Literature
JEAN HOWARD, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, English and
Comparative Literature
ANDREAS HUYSSEN, Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature
MARILYN IVY, Associate Professor, Anthropology
RASHID KHALIDI, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Middle East
South Asian and African Studies
LYDIA LIU, W.T. Tam Professor in the Humanities, East Asian Languages
and Cultures
SYLVÈRE LOTRINGER, Professor Emeritus, French and Romance Philology
REINHOLD MARTIN, Associate Professor of Architecture, Director, Temple
Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture
JOSEPH MASSAD, Associate Professor, MESAAS
KRISTINA MILNOR, Associate Professor, Classics, Barnard
ROSALIND C. MORRIS, Professor, Anthropology
JOHN PEMBERTON, Associate Professor, Anthropology
GREG PFLUGFELDER, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
ELIZABETH POVINELLI, Professor, Anthropology
WAYNE PROUDFOOT, Professor, Religion
BRUCE ROBBINS, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities,
English and Comparative Literature
NAN ROTHSCHILD, Adjunct Professor, Anthropology
SUSAN RIEMER SACKS, Professor, Psychology, Barnard
JAMES SCHAMUS, Professor, Film
SHARON SCHWARTZ, Professor, Epidemiology, Sociomedical Sciences
LESLEY SHARP, Professor, Anthropology, Barnard, and Senior Research
Scientist, Sociomedical Sciences
AUDRA SIMPSON, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
HERBERT SLOAN, Professor, History, Barnard
PAUL STROHM, Anna S. Garbedian Professor Emeritus, English and
Comparative Literature
JOHN SZWED, Professor, Music
MICHAEL TAUSSIG, Class of 1933 Professor of Anthropology
MARK C. TAYLOR, Professor, Religion
KENDALL THOMAS, Nash Professor of Law
NADIA URBINATI, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and
Hellenic Studies, Political Science
CAROL VANCE, Associate Clinical Professor, Sociomedical Sciences
PAIGE WEST, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Barnard
MABEL O. WILSON, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Architectural
Planning and Preservation

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  1. Wow...  

    Regardless of your stance, I think it's impossible to deny that's really clearly articulated and well written.

    • Agreed  

      But David Helfand sold his credibility to Frontiers of 'Science.'

    • Anonymous  

      It may be well written in a sense, but it sure as hell isn't well founded. Their arguments are so flawed and asinine that I don't even know where I would start if I was going to pick it apart.

      Besides, it shouldn't be the faculty who decide what their students want to pursue.

      • Anonymous  

        well go ahead and start then, if you actually have something to say.

        • Anonymous  

          "We hold it to be a matter of the most profound principle and educational philosophy that the idea of a university and the ethos of the military are incompatible."

          -So West Point, Annapolis and the other schools are failures? Last time I checked they were doing just fine and the level of militarization there is WAY higher than a campus with ROTC.

          "We agree that poorer Americans should be given better opportunities, but we do not believe that upward social mobility should be ransomed for military service."

          -Ransomed? That's a poor word choice. That's saying that people who join the ROTC do so because they have no other choice. That may be true for some, but that does not include the people who would rather pursue this option over others. They keep forgetting joining ROTC is a choice.

          "Other forms of service... are not provided with systematic scholarship opportunities, and we do not believe that poor people should have to embrace militarism to obtain an education."

          -So you would rather have them embrace other options that may not be as beneficial or helpful? If they want to use the military for this purpose, then so be it. The other options aren't there and won't be there anytime soon so why hold this option back? Once again, this is assuming all poor people choose ROTC. I would have chosen ROTC at Columbia if it was available and I am of the middle class.

          "we would gladly endorse a more expansive and robust federal financial aid system open to all, with no strings attached."

          -So where are they? ROTC has been working for a long time so I am still looking for a more sure way to provide financial aid that won't get wiped out when the economy tanks again. This argument is also too large to make use of. That's like saying I am paying too much for a bottle of water so lets set up desalination plants everywhere to make more fresh water available.

          "In uniform, individuals are representatives of the military before all else, and their presence constitutes a symbolic militarization of campus."

          -Last time I checked, there are no barracks on campus and I have seen military personal walk around campus before. The people representing the military will be a small minority and it's not like there will be 5:00 am role call for the whole campus. That's like saying having Asians walk around campus would constitute a Orientalization of campus (not meant to be offensive, it's a real word).

          "Columbia aspires to be a global university. In the classrooms of our remarkably internationalized institution, students from countries that are otherwise at war speak to each other and forge the basis of mutual understanding and peace. This possibility is threatened by the presence of the uniformed military"

          -This is stereotyping. It's like viewing an Afghani student as an enemy since we are fighting some of their people. Just because someone goes in the army does not mean they will be fighting certain people let alone even fighting. Also, if the student cannot differentiate between a soldier in the army and the war then they are being just as belligerent as someone who thinks all Muslims are terrorists.

          "It is often said that it is the right..."

          -This whole paragraph is faulty that I will only quote the first line. It is just as much a person's right to pursue ROTC as it is for someone to partake in any one of Columbia's clubs/activities. Not picking race wars here, but I'll use this as an example. If the NAACP wants to set up an organization on campus I doubt anyone here would oppose. The NAACP, however, is a discriminatory organization because it is for "colored people" and would have no benefit to the white community. I have no problem with the NAACP, but it would be totally fine by Columbia people who are acting hypocritical by saying no to ROTC. As for the latter part of the paragraph, Columbia in general is being discriminatory. Not everyone is let into the school and not everyone can afford it. Hell, Barnard is all female, how much more exclusive can you get? Nothing can be all inclusive and sometimes it happens. Not to be insensitive, but I feel the transgender issue is way blown out of proportion. Appealing DADT can open it to a huge number of people while the transgender appealing would not be the same. Why do we have to trip after taking a large step only because we tried taking a small step too forward?

          "ROTC, and the military in general, trains people for obedience to the chain of command, whereas the university cultivates a critical and constantly questioning consciousness. This is the essence of the university’s contribution to a democratic society."

          -Doesn't the university also train the students for obedience? It certainly isn't to the same level as the military, but this is not a free-for-all here. Go to Brown if you want that. Also, this is assuming there is no questioning done in the military. If this were true, we would have a military with no women or blacks in it. Let's not forget that the Navy and Army were some of the largest driving forces in black inclusion and they did this on their own before congress had a say. Hell, they could be even be credited with making congress do it.

          "Although the military may play a defensive role to uphold that same democracy, it does so by means that are antithetical to those of the university, where speech and dialogue, rather than the bearing of arms and the use of force, are primary"

          -Tough shit. This is the real world, not CC where everyone can sit down and talk to each other about ideologies. While violence may not be the answer, it is still being used and there is nothing we can do about it right now. When it comes to dealing with people who want me, an American, dead, I'd prefer a gun over a flower and pen. Until war ceases to be, there will be a need to supply capable people to the army. Staying out of it and bitching does not help and merely passes the burden onto others.

          -Final point: This is a student decision, not a faculty decision. I could give a rat's ass what my teachers think of the ROTC. They do not make the choice if I want to join nor should they be making that choice.

          • SR

            Actually, the decision is reserved for first the university senate, 63 out of 108 of whom are faculty. Then it gets sent to the trustees for their final approval. So, no, its not a student decision.

          • Anonymous  

            1. West Point and Annapolis are not institutions of the same academic and intellectual nature as Columbia. The former are meant to train students to obey orders; the latter are meant to foster critical thought and questioning the nature of power. You may think that West Point and Annapolis are "doing just fine," but their goals and structures are not the same as those of Columbia.

            2. In response to your argument that "they keep forgetting joining ROTC is a choice": See, this is where critical thinking becomes really useful. There are external structures and forces that affect an individual's choices - in this case, you're talking about economic ones. Your argument doesn't stand up in your admission that "that may be true for some"; WHAT ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE?

            3. When you say that "the other options aren't there and won't be there anytime soon so why hold this option back?", it seems like you're implying that ROTC is of the same nature as other scholarship opportunities. It is not. And if one single poor person chooses to participate on ROTC based on the fact that they can't pay for college otherwise, then this is clearly problematic, so stop with the argument that not all people who join are poor.

            4. Look up the definition of the word "symbolic" and think outside the box.

            5. Again, stop conflating different kinds of institutions. ROTC is not the same as Barnard College is not the same as the NAACP.

            6. No, the university does not train students for obedience, nor does it train them at all. Reread: “ROTC, and the military in general, trains people for obedience to the chain of command, whereas the university cultivates a critical and constantly questioning consciousness. This is the essence of the university’s contribution to a democratic society.” The military is IN ESSENCE AND PURPOSE designed to train students in a very specific manner to obey a very distinct power in pursuit of a very definite mission. The university is the opposite of that.

            7. "While violence may not be the answer, it is still being used and there is nothing we can do about it right now." Yes there is. We can say that it's not the answer and disagree with policies and institutions like ROTC rather than just giving up and going along with it.

            8. Professors are affected by ROTC too, and comments like yours prove how much wiser they are. By the way, unfortunately this isn't actually a student decision as it stands, it's an institutional decision.

          • Anonymous  

            Since you didn't respond to all my points, I will respond to your points with the according number:

            1. Are you going to say that they do not train students to also think critically? Our army would not be as successful as it is if we had a bunch of grunts who could not think about a situation critically. The military academies produce some of the most successful people out there and they have a true appreciation for their freedoms. Is not Columbia’s highest goal to shape students into successful individuals? Since every college has a different curriculum, they all have different goals but their end goal is to provide their students with tools to succeed. The academies are no different. Also, the two family members that I had go through West Point actually came out liberal when they were done because they questioned the conservative nature of their policies. Are you going to tell me they weren’t questioning what was being given to them? Joining the armed forces does not mean you have all free will and thought sucked from your being.

            2. What about the other people? Let me throw this right back in your face. What about the other people whose last chance at obtaining an education or social advancement is with the military? If you take away that option are you not worse than the person you are calling out? At least give them the ability to do so instead of leaving them with a total dead end. So what would you rather have? Someone who with no other choice joins the military and gives themselves a chance to better themselves or would you rather have them give up and stay stagnant? You said this is where critical thinking becomes useful so I say the same thing back to you. How about you think about the whole thing here?

            3. My answer to this is the same as it is above. It may not be the same as other scholarships but it does provide a way to pay for school. It’s better than turning to drugs to pay for schooling *Columbia 5 sarcastic joke*

            4. I don’t even know what part of my argument you are referring to, but I challenge you too. Just because you have (seemingly) very liberal views about the ROTC, why not think outside of the box and look at the other side? Your statement is immature, childish and about the same as replying to an insult with “Yea… well so are you!”

            5. I know this is true and my statement was a bit of a stretch, but it’s the same concept. The mentioned opportunities could provide benefits to the ones that are a part of them, but they exclude from others. How would you feel if they started letting in kids to Columbia with lower scores and grades just because it’s being fair to them? I doubt you’d like that and you would be up in arms about it.

            6. See one of my previous answers, you are basically rehashing an old, debunked argument. The university does train you to be obedient in ways. Do we not have deadlines, papers, tests, rules, policies that we must abide by? It’s not military level of course, but you can’t sanely say that it doesn’t train us to some level of obedience. It also trains us for the real world where you have to be obedient to a superior in some way unless you are a lucky entrepreneur. This isn’t Burke or Locke where there is a solitary man in nature that must not be obedient. Welcome to the real world and get ready to be obedient to a boss lest you want to be unemployed.

            7. Let me know how that works out for you. People have been doing this since the dawn of mankind and still we have violence and war out there. You still have your right to speak out against war and I pray you can stop it. I don’t like war nor do I support going to war with others unless there is a dire need (read: WWII) so I hope one day pacifists can do something. Until then, we still need people who will be there to keep us safe and do what needs to be done. I stay optimistic, but I am also a realist. Go look at the Middle East right now and tell me military isn’t needed to protect their civilians (excluding the Libyan army, crazy shit heads). Egypt is a prime example of trying to protect their people from harm.

            8. It is an institutional decision, but what if the institution goes against the majority of the students? Your argument falls flat when you look back upon the 1968 student take over on campus. If things were a purely institutional decision, things would have been much different. Students have a right to say what they want more than anyone else. Would you like it if your professors told you that you should not pursue your major/career path because they find themselves “wiser” and it’s their institution? If a majority of students vote for something, it should not be overridden by the faculty because of their own personal agendas. Let the students decide.

            To the liberal who said I made sense, thank you. I claim myself to be pretty balanced and take both sides so I am glad there are people out there who can be civil and at least recognize my points as valid.

          • Anonymous

            Just wanna point out that Libya's military is fractured (those air force pilots that ditched their planes, the mass resignations of military leadership) -- the ones shooting at civilians are hired mercenaries.

          • Anonymous

            1. It appears that you don't know what critical thought is. You're talking about decision-making that takes place within a very rigorous framework and, once again, beneath the chain of command. The rest of your remark is a string of empty words and diversions that does not actually address this fundamental opposition between the aims of the university and the military.

            2. I think we disagree fundamentally here about what constitutes a "total dead end" and what it means to "better" oneself. Being trained to put one's life - and the lives of others - at stake simply as a last resort to obtain an education is, to my mind, unacceptable.

            3. Sure, it does provide a way to pay for school. You've said nothing else substantial here. See above.

            4. I was clearly referring to your response to the argument about the symbolic effect of the institutionalization of military at this university. I'm looking at the other side very closely, thank you.

            5. It is not the same concept. Not at all. Please explain the meaning and relevance of your comment about scores, grades and being "fair" in more detail, because I have no idea what you're trying to say.

            6. Sure, I have deadlines, but the papers I turn in before those deadlines are critical interrogations of various aspects of the world in which we live. A paper deadline bears no relation to the obedience fundamentally demanded by the military. I remain completely unconvinced that this argument has been "debunked."

            7. I'm assuming from the example you gave (WWII) that you are not so sure that the wars that we are currently fighting are the product of "dire need" (correct me if I'm wrong). As someone who does not find our country's actions in the current wars to be legitimate in any respect, I want to ask you in regards to your initial comment: when you say that violence is "being used," who are you trying to say is "using" it? And how is it being "used"? I think that these questions are incredibly important, and luckily I attend a university where I can ask them. Stop pretending that the anti-ROTC side is arguing for the dissolution of the military and reread the remark to which you were responding:

            “Although the military may play a defensive role to uphold that same democracy, it does so by means that are antithetical to those of the university, where speech and dialogue, rather than the bearing of arms and the use of force, are primary”

            Also, the analogies with which your arguments are riddled (The Middle East! Barnard! NAACP! Test scores and grades!) only serve to weaken it. We are speaking about the possible institution of a specific organization within a specific university in a specific context.

            8. I don't want the institution to go against the majority of the students either. I didn't say that. I only said that professors - those who make this university what it is - should have a say in the matter.

          • ROTC compatible with Columbia

            Locating ROTC at diverse institutions is meant to foster a diverse officer corps.

          • Thanks  

            for making more sense than anyone in a while. All your points were spot on.
            And I'm a liberal for the record.

  2. ok, but  

    1. The armed forces do more humanitarian work than fighting--most recently Haiti, anybody?
    2. As if there isn't sucking up and deference to authority and tenured professors in academia.
    3. ROTC cadets would not be in uniform in class.

    • False analogy  

      Oh come on. "Sucking up and deference to authority and tenured professors in academia" is not nearly the same thing as an institutionalized chain of command and subservience that is the very reason why our military is able to function efficiently.

      I'm staying neutral in this debate--I think both sides make some valid points--but let's use our developed critical thinking skills and not throw out bullshit like this.

      • Anonymous

        If you think both sides are making valid points, you're up your own ass. This letter looks like a bag of bullshit to any objective observer. I cannot believe that so many distinguished academics would attach their names to this poorly reasoned high school social studies essay.

  3. AL  

    Clearly, the best universities cultivate their "critical and constantly questioning consciousness" by denying students the chance to make critical and questioning decisions, like deciding whether to join the armed forces. A more "critical and constantly questioning consciousness" would make the distinction between "questioning" and "opposition." Criticism and questioning can just as easily and honestly produce affirmation as negation, and it is self-contradictory to make choices for one's students in the name of fostering their own autonomy.

    • Anonymous  

      Students aren't prevented from joining the military due to the exclusion of ROTC from campus.

      • anon

        No, but certain career paths within the military are certainly made much, much more difficult to pursue. Throughout the 1990s (era of military budget cuts), it was all but impossible to get an Officer commission in any service without going through ROTC or a service academy, or being prior-enlisted.

        Given the recent budget cutbacks, joining through Officer Candidate School (the other option) has recently become much more difficult/selective. I personally know Columbia seniors interested in pursuing commissions in the Army and Marine Corps who are being told they may have to wait for over a year to do so.

        Even now, it is nearly impossible to join the Navy or Air Force as an officer in some jobs without going through ROTC or one of the academies.

  4. Anonymous

    How many professors are there total?

  5. My stance is...  

    Even though I agree with most of the negative things said about the military...
    1. It's not like by not allowing ROTC those other options for low income students they articulated would suddenly open up.
    2. To say ROTC exists on other campuses in NYC is to ignore the fact that that is way way harder on the students. Disingenuous even. Commuting to Fordham? No thank you.
    3. I don't believe it's the University's role to decide what the students do and do not do with their lives. You can think joining the military is a bad move, but that doesn't change the fact that its within their rights join it all the same.
    4. And c'mon, how much difference are a few future soldiers really gonna make. I mean really.
    So on principle, I think you have to allow ROTC.

    • SR

      If you think a 20 minute bus ride is a hardship, then you should re-consider your commitment to serving in the armed forces, because those guys walk miles and miles on deserts and mountains every day.

      They are not against students joining the military. They say that in the petition. This is about a symbolic institutional endorsement of the military--thats not what they believe Columbia is about.

      • Anonymous

        If you think a 20 minute bus ride is a hardship, then you should re-consider your commitment to serving in the armed forces, because those guys walk miles and miles on deserts and mountains every day.

        Not your decision to make, sorry

    • Anonymous  

      As someone else said, it's more like 50 mins. And it's made super early in the morning. And just because the rest of being in the military sucks doesn't mean that that burden doesn't matter.

      And you may disagree, but I don't consider allowing students to serve in the military really consists of an implicit columbia endorsement.

      For instance, we have a pro-Palestine and a pro-Israel group...these say nothing of the views of the columbia administration.

      It just seems to set a bad precedent that columbia can regulate student behavior to conform to what they do and do not believe in, within the letter of the law of course.

      • Anonymous

        "As someone else said, it’s more like 50 mins. And it’s made super early in the morning."
        A slight inconvenience at most.

        "And you may disagree, but I don’t consider allowing students to serve in the military really consists of an implicit columbia endorsement."
        We already allow students to serve in the military. ROTC is something else entirely.

        "For instance, we have a pro-Palestine and a pro-Israel group…these say nothing of the views of the columbia administration."
        Do we have institutionalized academic departments dedicated to these causes? ROTC is not just a "group."


    "Equally important is the fact that ROTC will remain a discriminatory institution even after DADT has become a relic of history. There are many reasons–from physical disability to age–for which people are disqualified from admission."


    You crazy faculty are pissed off because ROTC won't allow disabled people or old people to fight in wars? I'll bet you my next year's tuition that if they did, you'd complain about how they were mistreating disabled and old people. There's simply no satisfying you.

  7. No  

    It's not a '20 minute bus ride'. It's a 60-90 minute subway ride that involves 2 transfers.

  8. Anonymous

    I don't think any of the Barnard professors can speak about gender discrimination on Campus without the taint of hypocrisy.

  9. Wait a sec...  

    "This fact is clearly contrary to Columbia’s policy, which prohibits discrimination against 'any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs.'"

    Barnard discriminates against men. Columbia rejects 90% of its applicants. What am I missing here?

    • SR

      As has been repeated here an nth number of times, and as the pro-ROTC side (and the military) clearly cannot understand, time and time again, there is a difference between invidious and non-invidious discrimination. Surely we are intelligent enough to know the difference between a hand up and a slap in the face. Every time you bring this up, it makes you sound like you're static and unchanging--thereby performing the very spectacle of what others accuse you of.

      Single-sex colleges and affirmative action have been upheld as constitutional because it advances a legitimate governmental policy objective.

      Columbia's admissions policy looks at people on merit, and does not exclude people because of who they are.

      • Anonymous

        "Single-sex colleges and affirmative action have been upheld as constitutional because it advances a legitimate governmental policy objective."

        That is certainly a matter of opinion (that I don't share).

        • SR

          Constitutionality is not a matter of opinion left to people who aren't the Supreme Court. There's actually a group of people paid to decide what is and what isn't "constitional."

          That's like saying, well I don't agree with the facts so I'll ignore them and they aren't valid. I know that many who share your opinion seem to think that, but please read the Grutter decision before you write. They basically said that non-invidious discrimination is okay as long as its to support diversity.

          This isn't about Barnard College or Columbia admissions, regardless. That's not what the USenate is going to vote on.

          • anon

            Does this not encourage diversity with regard to military status? Do you personally feel like you could learn less from your classmates who are ROTC cadets than those who are not? And do you think that their participation in ROTC would introduce an additional point of view, as before unseen, to the classroom?

          • ROTC compatible with Columbia


            The courts have upheld military transgender policy.

        • anon

          Does the military and therefore its associated policies promote a legitimate policy objective? I think that that's a clear yes, given that the military implements US foreign policy.

      • So...  

        Basically, you don't like military officers and military policy. That's fine -- it's your opinion. Based on your opinion and the opinions of many others, the military is currently kept off Columbia's campus. I disagree with your opinions, but certainly respect your ability to make your voice heard.

        I don't like hipsters. Columbia promotes a healthy learning environment, yet excessive smoke keeps me from breathing freely on my way to class. So based on my opinion, I move to kick hipsters off campus. Seems logical, right?

  10. Anonymous  

    We may aspire to be an international university, but we cannot ignore the fact that we are hosted by the United States in a manner that would likely be unattainable in many, but, of course, not all other countries. Way to not think, faculty.

    The argument against scholarships simply equates to "We do not believe that we should financially reward those who voluntarily serve at the will of our elected government." Awful.

    The "militarism" of the United States is determined by the government and its constitution, not the members of the military. It is a false construction to think of the military as operating freely from the constraints of the remainder of the government.

    Overall, a complete failure of rhetoric signed by a bunch of Iv[or]y Tower hand-wringers unaware of why academic constructs are allowed to exist.

    • CC 11

      Wow, that's is a really laughable comment.

      Thosee faculty are not arguing against scholarships. They're arguing for scholarships not contingent on military service. ROTC financing arrangements for education, by the University Senate's own findings, are not really scholarships but are instead advance payments for service to be rendered after graduation.

      The institutions allow the existence of universities with strong commitments to academic freedom aren't military institutions. Plenty of countries have strong militaries and practically no freedom of speech, (North Korea, Russia, many Middle Eastern countries, and Franco's Spain come to mind). The institutions that allow the existence of such academic freedom and free speech are instead those like the separation of powers, commitment to free speech for all, and other important features that make societies "liberal," "pluralist," or "open" in the classical sense.

      Also, the military does exist independently of much of U.S. governmental values and rules. As is apparently told to new recruits by many drill sergeants, the military is there to defend democracy, not to practice it. Again, militaries exist less to protect democracy in general than to protect whatever state they serve, which in America's case happens to be a democracy.

      Finally, "militarism" is, among other things, defined as "the exaltation of military virtues and ideals." Those virtues and ideals include discipline, order, obedience to authority, and a strong sense of collective unity and conformity. These are required for good, effective militaries.

      Universities aren't supposed to be militaristic, they're supposed to be the opposite. Commitment to open debate, engagement with ideas and perspectives, and a willingness to challenge everything regardless of collective unity and conformity are supposed to be our values. That's how we're supposed to help our societies find truth, in Mill's sense of the idea. At least in Columbia's vision of a university, students and professors are encouraged to not follow authority but instead only sound arguments, without being afraid to question and test every viewpoint, claim, and conclusion.

      Maybe if you stopped appealing to hackneyed patriotism and disdain for critical thought, you'd be able to make actual arguments that could be subjected to real debate and dialogue and would thus know what universities are supposed to be.

      • recent alum

        Is the university willing to give scholarships for planting trees?

        P.S. I'm a very recent Columbia grad. I joined the Army after I graduated. I did not receive financial aid as an undergrad, but I still would have benefited from participation in ROTC. It would have given me an opportunity to try out the lifestyle, through the two years of classes offered without military commitment. It is my personal experience that the overwhelming majority of officers I've met did not join for college money, but because they wanted to serve their country, learn leadership skills, and were interested in a military career.

  11. Anonymous  

    anybody notice that half these prof. are not from the US

    • CC 11

      That's their point. There are tons of international professors and students here because Columbia works hard to try to attract the best talent, regardless of nationality (or sexual orientation or gender identity/expression). To create an environment where that's possible, these professors argue that the University shouldn't have a program that's run by the DoD and the armed services, who execute military action abroad, against the home countries of some of the students and professors. I'm not necessarily agreeing with their position, but you have to acknowledge that they took the time to construct a reasoned argument, which is more than you can say for many in this debate.

    • Van Owen  

      It's typical. It's good to know that they are fighting the war against the great satan, one Columbia student at a time.

  12. This is so well written,  

    and a far better statement of this position than I've heard from any student or in any of the town hall write-ups in Bwog and Spec. I was pro-ROTC but now I'm not sure. I've some serious thinking to do; can we fill out the survey a second time and overwrite our past entries?

    • that's so funny  

      no people have been making these arguments, you just haven't been listening. all these points and more were brought up at the Anti-Coalition's own event on Tuesday. you just trust these ideas now that PhDs are saying it.

  13. Matt Martinez  

    Wayne Proudfoot looks like Gandalf. Win.

  14. Hagrid

    All y'all against ROTC just a bunch of Hufflepuff fairies who don't want a Defense Against the Dark Arts Class. Have fun teaching Potions with a bunch dementors up in ur shit.

  15. Anonymous  

    Well argued, articulate, and -- clearly to the chagrin of some of those commenting on this piece -- ultimately realistic assessment of what the institutionalization of ROTC on campus would mean.

    Those who are mystified by the arguments contained in the statement would do well to study harder, and perhaps read some of the articles, books, and essays that these, their teachers, have written, rather than dismiss them out of hand. The laughable suggestion that opposing the institutionalization of the ROTC as an integral part of the university administration is the same thing as discrimination against minorities, women, the LGBT community, etc, reveals how little the detractors of this statement understand any of the arguments, or any of the issues involving ROTC. (They do not appear to even understand that ROTC students, military personnel, and veterans are already welcome at Columbia, and that the question that the Senate is debating does not involve their participation in the campus community, but rather involves the nature and structure of the university administration.)

    As so many others have pointed out, this so-called 'discussion' on ROTC and the Task Force set up to facilitate it have been rigged from the beginning in favor of instituting ROTC, both in terms of structure and the leanings of the Task Force's members. The apparent outrage at faculty opposition, then, must be due to the shock that faculty and students did not sit passively by as a few faculty and administration members tried to slip this change in a less-than-transparent fashion.

  16. About time

    I'm glad to see that at least the faculty has abandoned the idea that it was DADT that was keeping ROTC from campus and admitted that they just don't like the idea of the military being here. At least they are honest compared to most of the arguments at the town hall meetings where victimhood of a tiny minority is being championed as the reason to keep it away.

  17. I feel the need to mention  

    That if I read one more rant about how academics are hypocrites for 'attacking' those who 'protect their freedom to be academics,' I will fucking lose it.

  18. Anonymous

    I'll avoid throwing bombs (poor choice, but it works) in the comments, but it hast to be pointed out that none of the signatories have any clue what they are talking about. It is as if they have gleaned their understanding of the military from bad movies and television. The realities of who serves in the military and what it is like to do so are markedly different from what they portray there. These supposed benefits and killer money with which the military lure poor minorities into the service are a myth. The military is comprised, largely, of people who want to serve and are willing to do so at a personal cost and obvious physical risk. When it comes to this idea of unquestioned obedience to orders they sound particularly ignorant. The military hierarchy is rigid in construction, to be sure, but it is equally dynamic in its efforts to push decision making down to the lowest levels. It is often referred to as "centralized control, decentralized command". If they had taken the time to see how the military actually functions, they might not look quite so foolish.

  19. Anonymous

    "There are many reasons–from physical disability to age–for which people are disqualified from admission. This fact is clearly contrary to Columbia’s policy, which prohibits discrimination against “any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs.”"

    There are many reasons indeed for which people are barred from inclusion-to Columbia. Do we allow students with SAT's of, say 1000 to come to Columbia? What about students that have not graduated high school?

    Is it really discriminatory for the military, a standards based organization, to bar people based upon certain types of disabilities? Does anyone really desire to see a person with mental problems or deficiencies wielding a weapon or leading troops? And as to physical disabilities, many able-bodied people are unable to handle the physical tasks associated with military service.

  20. CC 11'

    Wow, I must live in some sort of a bubble, I can recognize only two of these professors, and only because I took their class, which, I distinctly remember not really enjoying because I thought they truly were pessimistic and negative about everything we discussed, and I frequently felt like shit pondering the ideas we had to learn.

    Go ahead and hate away on the votes... Haters

  21. anon

    bwog, why is the above somehow an inappropriate response?

  22. CC' 10

    If you don't want to do ROTC don't do it!!! I don't like tomatoes, so I won't eat them, but I don't feel any need to stop others from eating them. Why must you take away the opportunity of others to do ROTC? At least one thing is clear, all of the above professors are in retard majors and many are from foreign Anti American countries.

  23. Why can't  

    you understand that the military is a legitimate extension of the United States government. The uniformed services are administered under the Department of Defense and the President of the United States sits as the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces.

    Additionally, just as discriminatory practices of same-sex colleges are legal, so are the discriminatory practices of the military.

  24. Anonymous

    I do not feel that this page provides me a safe space to discuss ROTC

    • oli  

      Whether you support it or not, the United States Military simply has nothing to do with ANYTHING an institution like Columbia purports to be in the service of. In simpler words, this is purely an academic institution, and as far as academia extends is only as far as Columbia should go. If the ROTC program had never existed and was created today, I do not believe it would be brought to our campus simply due to this logical incompatibility. In my opinion, the most compelling and seemingly objective arguments for ROTC have been ones informed by the tradition and presence of ROTC on other U.S campuses, and the assumption from the start that these relationships are reasonable. Arguments like but hardly limited to: we should want the leaders of our military to be educated at a place we personally trust. I can understand and even appreciate this argument, as well as other more nuanced ones concerning elitism, or democracy, or freedom, (that I hardly will attempt to convey for fear of perversion). Yet, as I said, these arguments are based on the acceptance of there being an intrinsic compatibility between the military and the university. And as assumptions and traditions are never stable grounds for fair judgement, I cannot help but always revert to my initial argument that academia and the military, in their purest forms, were never meant to mingle.

      • ROTC compatible with Columbia

        First, Columbia is committed to public service and military service is the exemplar public service.

        Second, ROTC would match well with Columbia's Mission:

        - The addition of ROTC to Columbia's intellectual marketplace would enhance the University's "distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields."

        - Modern US military officers need a broad range of knowledge and sensitivities, which Columbia ROTC graduates could acquire with the aid of Columbia's "location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis."

        - Columbia ROTC would contribute to the University's goal to "attract a diverse ... faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues ..."

        - Columbia ROTC cadre and graduates would "advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world."

        Finally, Columbia is exceptionally well equipped to produce the leaders the military wants:

        “Future Army forces require lifelong learners who are creative and critical thinkers with highly refined problem solving skills and the ability to process and transform data and information rapidly and accurately into usable knowledge, across a wide range of subjects, to develop strategic thinkers capable of applying operational art to the strategic requirements of national policy.”
        –The United States Army Operating Concept 2016-2028

        “A healthy force must maintain high standards. Recent analyses emphasize the need for officers who are even more agile, flexible, educated, skilled, and professional.”
        –The Final Report of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel

        • oli  

          "First, Columbia is committed to public service and military service is the exemplar public service."

          I do respect you and your opinion, but this statement right here is where we fundamentally disagree. I DO NOT believe being a soldier in the U.S Armed Forces, forces currently engaged in conflicts that I often find to be a disservice to the American and world public, is equatable with CU's standard for public service. What I mean is that the U.S Armed Forces, if anything, are only an exemplar of current U.S military policy, and this policy is not one I feel unequivocally serves the public of the U.S at present.

          Regardless, my belief in the essential incompatibility still stands, and that is why as an engineering researcher here, I appreciate Columbia's related abstention from classified military research, regardless of the high paying grants they promise.

          • Anonymous

            What the fuck is your definition of public service? Do you think a soldier serving in Korea deserves the same scorn you have toward those in Iraq? Or is it the fault of the political leadership that sent the military in Iraq in the first place? (Remember the words, civilian control of the military?)

          • ?  

            is weapons training going to satisfy a core requirement?

          • Anonymous

            Swimming also satisfies a core requirement, what's your point?

          • recent alum

            I actually find this pretty offensive. I guess the reason I joined the military, turning down more than one job offer paying more than three times as much, was because I wanted to become a bloodthirsty, trained killer right?

            I joined because I wanted to enter a career in public service that would allow me significant responsibility in a leadership role, and have more of an effect on the world around me than shuffling papers in a windowless room at the State Department. What have you done?

  25. Non-disc policy fine with ROTC

    Opinion on ROTC and Columbia's non-discrimination policy

    Question: Can ROTC, under current law, co-exist on campus with Columbia's non-discrimination policy, as currently written?

    My answer: Yes.

    Using the non-discrimination policy as the reason for excluding a critical part of society from the University is a dangerous interpretation of the policy. In principle, the non-discrimination policy is meant to promote organic diversity and constructive engagement on campus, and protect inclusion at Columbia, which rightfully includes ROTC along with other critical relationships that may be cast as discriminatory in some aspect, such as a women's college and religions. Advancing the university's higher pedagogical and public service missions through real diversity, engagement, and inclusion will necessitate, at times, some sensitive trade-offs; the non-discrimination policy addresses the friction that may result. Columbia's non-discrimination policy becomes grossly corrupted when it is misused as a tool of exclusion, as has happened with ROTC at Columbia.

    Barnard's admissions policy is the clearest example that, when justified by the greater good, lawful accomodations with the non-discrimination policy are made for existing University associations. I believe other similar examples at Columbia can be found. The question is not whether lawful accomodations can be made with the non-discrimination policy, because they already are. The proper question is whether a lawful accomodation is justified for the greater good.

    Just as importantly, it does not appear from a plain reading of Columbia's non-discrimination policy that hosting ROTC on campus, under current law, would in fact violate Columbia's non-discrimination policy.


    From opening paragraph: Columbia University is committed to providing a learning environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment . . . Consistent with this commitment and with applicable laws, it is the policy of the University not to tolerate unlawful discrimination . . .

    Key phrasing is "unlawful discrimination". Whatever is one's personal opinion of it, military personnel policy is lawful, not unlawful.

    From second paragraph: Columbia University does not discriminate against any person in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs . . .

    Key phrasing is "its [Columbia's] ... policies". Military personnel policy is set by the federal government and is not Columbia's policy. Military personnel policy is limited to a defined jurisdiction. A distinction can be made between the military's commissioning requirements and the academic program on campus. In order to serve its wider pedagogical function, much of the ROTC program normally is open to the general student body. Other universities that host ROTC with non-discrimination policies similar to Columbia's policy are able to distinguish between university policy and federal policy. President Bollinger, as the former provost of Dartmouth AROTC and former president of UMichigan AROTC, AFROTC, and NROTC, is well-suited to manage the ROTC relationship on campus.

    From Definitions: Discrimination is defined as: • treating members of a protected class less favorably because of their membership in that class; or • having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on protected class members.

    Lawful accomodations, such as Barnard's admissions policy, do not infringe the protection of a legally "protected class". As a practical matter, ROTC enhances the course offerings for Columbia students, while the addition of ROTC on campus would not subtract nor replace anything that currently exists for students. Nor would ROTC require Columbia to rewrite the non-discrimination policy. "Military status" enumerated as a legally protected class in Columbia's non-discrimination policy also ensures that members of ROTC would be protected and raises the question of the University's responsibility to Columbia's ROTC students.

    From Definitions: Discriminatory Harassment - Discriminatory harassment is defined as substantially interfering with an individual's educational experience by subjecting him or her to severe or threatening conduct or to repeated humiliating or abusive conduct, based on his or her membership in a protected class.

    ROTC and its manifestations on campus (office, classes, training, etc.) would not be a separate zone on campus that allows discriminatory harassment. ROTC cadre and participating students would be held to the same standards of behavior as all Columbians. Columbia students should feel as safe in ROTC offices as anywhere else on campus.

  26. Anonymous

    Is it just me, or is every reasonable pro-ROTC comment being downvoted en masse?

  27. anonymous2  

    What are Columbia students really being deprived of if only a handful of students were even enrolled in ROTC before it was banned?? I'm pretty sure we need more than 10 students to defend our country, unless that's something ROTC will be willing to change this time around ( which I doubt, I've never even heard of one person who would be interested).

    -Just saying.

    • ROTC compatible with Columbia

      Skeptics point to the current low number of ROTC students at Columbia in order to claim that student interest is too low to sustain an ROTC program on campus. However, their contention is impossible to prove or disprove without an ROTC program on campus. The damaged status of ROTC at Columbia after 1969, alienation from poor exposure, distance and poor access in urban terms, and lack of institutional assistance likely deter most Columbia students from seriously considering ROTC. It’s simply unfair to judge Columbia students for not joining an ROTC program that isn’t there. We first have to plant the seed in order to grow the tree – building up ROTC student numbers at Columbia first requires ROTC on campus. Then, as Columbia ROTC is nurtured into a fully integrated and supported part of the university, Columbia ROTC student numbers will grow over time. That’s just common sense. Roughly one-fourth of the undergraduate population is renewed every year. After ROTC is established on campus and properly advertised, eventually every student applying to Columbia will know about the ROTC program on campus.

      It is worth noting that, of the three ROTC programs, Navy ROTC is viewed by many as the ROTC program most likely to succeed at Columbia. The undergraduate NROTC survey of 2008 originated from SEAS students requesting the pathway to Naval officership, and in spite of the unpopularity of DADT, SEAS students voted in favor of Navy ROTC at Columbia. Unfortunately, despite the demonstrated student interest, Columbia students have zero access to NROTC. The absence of NROTC at Columbia is made doubly tragic by the storied history of Naval officer training at Columbia. Many alumni supporters are Navy veterans who would be particularly supportive of a Navy ROTC on campus.

    • Anonymous

      Off the bat, I can think of seven people in the classes of '09 and '10 that I knew personally who didn't do ROTC at Columbia and joined the military through other means after grad. Another two I know from '11 are in the process of applying right now. If these students were given the opportunity to take ROTC courses on campus, they could try the curriculum to see if it was right for them before signing their contracts, as well as use ROTC to help defray the costs of tuition.

  28. chimichanga

    "A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools." - Thucydides

    • Are you for real?  

      Whether in seriousness or jest, calling upon Thucydides is lunacy. Learn something, ANYTHING about a.) Thucydides' place in society b.) Classical Greece and the form and context of its military c.) the EVOLUTION of HUMAN THOUGHT in that incredibly long period of time. Any fool armed with a few Columbia core classes who heralds back to CLASSICAL GREECE as a time of reason and idealistic society is just a total moron. Things have changed, for the better, since that time. Jesus.

      • the bigger problem  

        The real issue is that the quote doesn't come from Thucydides.

        Your quote: "Any fool armed with a few Columbia core classes who heralds back to CLASSICAL GREECE as a time of reason and idealistic society is just a total moron" makes two mistakes

        1) Extrapolating from that commenter's single quotation his endorsement of classical Greece in every respect.
        2) Blanket assertion that "calling upon Thucydides is lunacy." Based on your comment, I'll assume that you mean heralding back to any thinker in Classical Greece is lunacy. (A much fairer textual leap than your reading of the other comment.) Because, you know, time has passed since then.

        Why don't you take a Nadia Urbinati class? Cause paying respect to the Greeks does not make you a moron, moron.

  29. Van Owen

    Damn, those "scholarly"minds just gave us a fucking form letter. Is it too much to ask for something genuine? Those lemmings just keep on snorting the Kool-Aid and think it's just sunshine out there in the real World. PROFESSORS, take a moment and pull out your pencils and write one paragraph, in your own words, and explain why Columbia should not welcome ROTC back. Is it too late to ask for a refund? Can I get my tuition reimbursed? Form letters..fucking form letters.

  30. Vote For Me If You Agree That...

    ROTC should remain off campus.

  31. Vote For Me If You Agree That...

    ROTC should be invited back on campus

  32. Don't dislike my comment!  

    There is so much gray in this thread.

    Does it seem to anybody else that anti-discrimination gets a lot less attention than anti-militarization? In this statement, at least, the anti-militarization argument makes a lot more sense than the anti-discrimination stuff, which makes Columbia's historical opposition seem more reasonable (discrimination was not at the heart of the initial decision, right?).

    That being said, I've taken a class with Bruce Robbins, and if there's ever been a man who believes in hierarchical procedures, it's this guy. He was so rude to the people in my class who volunteered, that eventually nobody would respond to his questions. Then he'd use the silence to justify calling us idiots. It was all kinds of awk.

  33. Van Owen

    Academics built the atomic bomb. I can see why they think, "it to be a matter of the most profound principle and educational philosophy that the idea of a university and the ethos of the military are incompatible." Oh, Pupin laboratories is a designated landmark for what reason? Hypocrites.

    • Anonymous

      This is not an argument, nor does it justify or legitimate anything at all. Please stop with the diversions and address the issue at hand.

      • Van Owen

        Really? Oh, I think it's a valid point. Hypocrisy is a bitch. The whole lot of you. 250,000 Japanese appreciate your anonymous response. Give Columbia a pat on the back. We support nuclear holocaust, but we can't support ROTC. Super.

        • Anonymous

          What do you mean, "we support nuclear holocaust"? Is it 1945? Is Columbia somehow an absolutely static institution? How the fuck can you even make this jump at all? And how does your comment even begin to justify the return of ROTC?

        • Anonymous  

          Academics built the atomic bomb. Or to be more precise, the faculties of physics and chemistry engineered the weapon, while those of law, political science and economics worked to procure funds, space and moral justification, a sense of "correctness" of empirical "goodness".

          We observe that these departmental prerogatives--these paranoid compulsions to surrender ones academic and intellectual capacities to the development of militants to fight in wars and kill enemies as of yet unknown--have been maintained. Though this description does not accurately describe all members of these departments, one observes that it is almost exclusively faculty from these departments that support the reinstatement of the ROTC. Myself a political science major, I take personal contest with my professors who have surrendered the state of man to Hobbes' paltry evaluation. Other departments are also represented among the pro ROTC constituency, but these too are based in the hard sciences or, as is the case of sociology, surrendered long ago to an abject positivism, taking man as a "scientific" test subject--a project which has thus far proven too complex for naively scribbled equations to contain.

          The faculties who signed the pro-ROTC petition, however, are not those in question. In question are the faculties who have signed the petition against the ROTC. Are these individuals "Hypocrites" as they have been called? It certainly would appear that they are not. Coming in large part from departments such as history, english, anthropology, MESAAS, philosophy, religion and the various arts, these faculties could in no way find themselves historically implicated in the terrible project of the atomic bomb.

          Finally, I would like to specifically acknowledge the signatures of Jean Louise Cohen and Nadia Urbanati on the roster of professors against the return of ROTC to Columbia. These professors of political science appear to have voiced their opinions against the prevailing wind of militarism within their discipline.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly. Thank you for saying it.

          • Van Owen  

            Sorry, I went to bed. Did you say something? Because I keep hearing the same sort of things from you all. In four years when you are consulting for a wall street firm will you still be a pansy? Do you even think about other people when you are sunbathing on a Southampton beach? Originality is sorely needed at this school. Everyone keeps playing the same old record. Blah, Blah, Blah, oh the suffering, blah, blah, blah, oh the injustice. All I see is a bunch of hypocrites in cozy slacks and ironic beards. Stop wasting your life away repeating another person's rhetoric. Pull out a pencil and write an original thought.

          • Van Owen  

            That's like giving a child a loaded gun. Hey, we loaded it, but it's up to you to not pull the trigger. Typical backsliding philosophy.

  34. Why is it  

    that whenever the anti's get called out, they reply with some variant of

    "Please stop with the diversions and address the issue at hand."

    I mean, I'm sorry we pro-ROTCs don't engage in terms you would like to frame the debate, but you aren't entitled to debate on terms you like. If you don't like the way we ask and answer questions, then just ignore us. Saying that our comments are irrelevant or "don't address the issue at hand" basically is whining that we don't see things the way you do framed in slightly more objective terms, disingenuously IMO.

    (Are you going to tell me that I'm "diverting" the discussion and should focus more on the issue at hand?)

    • Anonymous

      I said this in response to Van Owen's comments (directly above). His first, about form letters and lemmings and Kool-Aid, made absolutely no argument. His second, calling \academics\ hypocritical for building the atomic bomb more than half a century ago and yet disagreeing with the reinstatement of ROTC today, was also not an argument. How was he asking or answering questions? How is requiring an actual argument from someone an attempt to frame the debate only on my terms?

  35. argh  

    Lets curse and yell Fuck!!! Argh my cyber blood is boiling.

  36. USMC

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

  37. USMC

    Oh yeah? "Obedience to the chain of command" is their final point of impact? -- As if the Neo-Marxist Whigs at Barnard and Columbia promote a free atmosphere of expression. There is enough indoctrination and rigid training going on here to warrant a campus uniform of their own -- with a red star. This is the last hurrah for the sixties throwbacks who never left academia. Mencken said, "Those who can - do. Those who can't teach." They speak of democracy. We military men and women and our predecessors built democracy with our sweat and blood. These professors have the luxury to idealize it from the safety and comfort of their classrooms and coffee pots. My argument will only go so far,sadly, for these people who believe work is the three or four contact hours per week they give in class. Boo.

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