UPDATE: New Groups Added to Tonight’s ROTC Meeting; Anti-War Groups Remain Absent

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After Sunday’s news about the ROTC referendum under consideration by the student councils and various student groups, more student groups will be sending representatives to Wednesday night’s meeting in the SGO. The new groups include the Black Students Organization, the Student Organization of Latinos, the Asian-American Alliance, and the United Students of Color Council. ABC has also been invited as the governing board overseeing these groups. The meeting will include one representative from each group, two from each council and governing board, and the university senators.

However, “anti-war” groups (ISO, CCAW, Lucha, Students for Justice in the Middle East, and others) remain uninvited to the meeting. Bwog has been told that at least one of these groups was originally invited, but that the invitation has since been rescinded. Some of these groups’ leaders have expressed frustration, with one telling Bwog that “groups like SOL and USCC have a very different set of constituents and interests…Our concerns are largely about transparency.” Another said, “Although the meeting is supposed to be purely logistical, I feel that a number of groups that have a stake in the discussion are being left out.”

Student council leaders told Bwog they remain “optimistic.”

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  1. ROTC

    Why is ROTC such a big deal? If some kids want to join the military, let them. Columbia kids are smart enough to not get duped by the bullshit rhetoric the recruiters use as well as not actually follow or believe in the don't ask dont tell policy. If you have problems with the military's stance on homosexuality, just don't go to the few random ROTC meetings a year that are always held in SIPA anyways. Go spend your time protesting something productive instead....

  2. why  

    why do we allow the catholic priests to have mass on campus when they also have a strict anti-gay discrimination policy?

  3. ...

    Wait, who is hosting this meeting? It sounds like the councils are but the post isn't super clear.

    If it is the councils then this is absolutely unacceptable to not invite anti-war groups who certainly would have an important contribution to this conversation.
    Is council trying to shut out their voice from this conversation? Both sides should be present at the table. Even a pro-ROTC group should be allowed at the table...

  4. how can they

    prevent ROTC on campus for being anti-gay when they negotiate with hunger strikers who are anti-thought?

  5. looks like

    the umbrella groups have been invited.

  6. Adam Nobler  

    The Jester is also scheduled to speak on the topic of Rabid Octopus Tentacle Coitus.

  7. bbbbbbb

    rajat is pushing for ROTC to come back on campus. That kid is sickening and has nothing better to do with his time. I wonder how he got elected to University Senate in the first place.

  8. bbbbbbb

    and what are the other university senator's stance on this issue? lets hope they are not all for the ROTC.

  9. Monica Quaintance

    Hi all,
    I'm one of the CC senators and I wanted to let you know that we're listening to what you're saying here on bwog as well as elsewhere and your comments do matter. In fact, this whole referendum business just stems out of listening to some students who requested that we look into NROTC and wanting to listen to what the rest of the student body has to say. It doesn't necessarily mean that any one of us personally want NROTC on campus. We just want to do what we were elected to do, listen to students and represent their views. If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can send me an email any time at [email protected]

  10. fmh  

    If you are actually reading this, then I'd like you to know that I would like ROTC on campus. That means I cancel out #14's vote.

  11. what about

    queer/LGBT groups? you would think they deserve representation here, since DADT is a major part of the issue... CQA? Proud Colors? Gayava?

    also... Barnard?

  12. Dr Sweets

    If you are reading this council members, senators:

    Check out the original proposal to bring back ROTC back in 2004:

    I think the councils should consider the points made previously about ROTC very carefully

    Do your research. There is a lot on the subject that has already been discussed. Extensively. The Senate Task Force spent a whole year deliberating on the issue.

    Consider this statement by one Columbia Professor:

    And this panel discussion:

    And the Town Hall from 2005:

    • Thanks  

      for posting that. I found this argument especially convincing: "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not a military policy, it is a Federal Law rooted in 10 USC 654. ROTC is bound by Federal Law as is the rest of the military. To change this situation one must address not ROTC or even the DOD, but the United States Congress." DADT is horrible- but it shouldn't keep ROTC off campus.

  13. Advocate

    Want a chronological list of all of the coverage and events relating to ROTC at Columbia over the past few decades? Go here

    Huge archive, containing all things ROTC at Columbia (both pro- and anti-)

  14. Alumnus

    Why isn't MilVets, Columbia's military veterans group, invited?
    MilVets' website: One would think that Columbia students who have actually served with or as ROTC-trained officers - many of them in war - would have valuable insight on this issue, no?

    During the 2002-05 ROTC campaign, pro-ROTC Columbia students, alumni and faculty produced a ton of position material. My personal favorite is the statement from Students United for America, the original sponsoring group of Columbia ROTC:

  15. for the last time  

    Asian American Alliance has NO hyphens.

  16. Concerned Columbian  

    Considering how acutely and directly the question of ROTC on our campus and the DADT policy impacts Columbia's LGBT population, it seems pretty incomprehensible that this secretive and non-transparent body of self-selecting 'student representatives' would ask only one of the seven LGBT campus groups to attend. As this issue was deeded 'political', CPU, Dems, and Republicans were invited. Yet, the same courtesy was NOT extended to the community perhaps with greatest personal stake and consequence in this decision- the LGBT community. Where is Proud Colors, Everyone Allied Against Homophobia, Q, Gayava, SAME, etc.?

    Get real class councils! Don't just ta;l about representing our voices- DO IT!

    • Alumnus

      Concerned Columbian,

      To be fair, the majority of Columbia's military and ROTC advocacy groups aren't invited either. MilVets and MIBA aren't invited, even though the inclusion of Columbia students with actual (American) military and/or ROTC backgrounds should be obvious. Students United for America, the original sponsor of the ROTC-return movement on campus, isn't invited.

      It doesn't appear Advocates for Columbia ROTC reps have been invited either.

  17. Some guy

    Yeah, agreed: why not invite students with military backgrounds, like MilVets members, or even some of the active-duty officers doing graduate work here?

  18. anti-war groups

    i don't disagree with the absence of an invitation to anti-war groups. the reason for the absence of ROTC is the discrimination issue, not war. an anti-war/anti-iraq war platform has absolutely nothing to do with ROTC not being allowed on campus. of course they are more than welcome to voice their opinions, but i just don't think they need a formal invitation to something that isn't about their group's core agenda.

  19. First thing  

    Stop saying ROTC. It's Naval ROTC (NROTC) being presented. Completely separate discussions believe it or not.

  20. Ummm

    Umm NROTC is the Navy's ROTC program. How is it a separate discussion? A more specific discussion perhaps, but not separate.

    • ROTC advocate

      There's no access to NROTC at Columbia, as compared to fringe access to AFROTC and AROTC.

      NROTC also has storied history at Columbia, where CU NROTC once rivalled the Naval Academy, and holds special interest for SEAS as a service career option.

  21. shs

    fyi, guys, the USenate has done their research on the past proposal in 2004 and the town hall, so what is important to understand is that they (and the councils) are trying to shed light on the current perspective. While it is important to recognize the issues and opinions generated from the past 4 years when the topic was raised, it cannot be automatically assumed that that is the same feeling on campus.

    Best of luck, my former colleagues!


  22. ...  

    I think DADT policy is absolutely in every way unacceptable .. but I think we need to broaden this discussion a bit. Army recruiters target low income communities which are disproportionately made up of Blacks and Latinos. In fact, Latinos are recruited at about double the rate as the general population. ROTC's presence on this campus is unacceptable -- will we be complicit in the targeting of communities of color and the silencing of the queer community? I sure hope not.

    • FYI2

      There are many proud black and latino soldiers, along with other soldiers of color, officers and enlisted, who are as fiercely proud to be soldiers as the responder in #38. They, like the responder in #38, tend to be very offended when their honorable military service is grossly insulted as being victimized or duped.

      - Asian enlisted Army veteran and Columbia (MilVets!) alumnus.

  23. 2dumb2make decisions

    I am Latino and served as an officer for six years and briefly as a recruiter. Allow me to propose an alternative explanation: Perhaps the inequity in the number of recruits is not due to Army recruiting practices but rather because elite academics (such as yourselves) refuse not only to serve but also refuse to even interact with the military or invite them onto your campuses. The hypocrisy in your assertions is palpable. But then again I am just a dumb young Latino who can't think for himself and was too ignorant to realize that he was being taken advantage of by the evil military... and those six years of leadership and management experience and two advanced degrees...what a waste...

  24. RaceInTheMilitary

    "Like most paths in life, military service is a mix of constraint and choice. Indeed, the enlisted ranks are tilted down in terms of social class, but this profile is comparable to that of similar occupational skills in the civilian labor force, which the military’s occupational structure has come increasingly to resemble. The military is selective in recruiting from the general population -- as of the 2002 fiscal year, 99% of the armed forces had high school diplomas or the equivalent, compared with less than 80% of civilians aged 18 to 44. Eighteen percent of the military is black, compared to 13% of the population, but this figure has been declining -- in FY 2002 it was 16% of those entering service. About ten percent of officers are black. No civilian institution approaches the military in the extent to which blacks exercise authority over whites. Military “affirmative action” programs combine maintenance of standards with extended opportunities; civilian institutions – including universities -- rarely match this performance. Hispanics are the fastest growing group in the military as in the population but remain at two-thirds of their proportion in the nation – respectively, 10% and 14%.

    From any perspective on American citizenship, the military is not just another employer -- persons in the armed forces are prepared to risk their lives as servants of the nation’s political will. Whether that will is wise or foolish, risk of death and injury in combat is not an incidental occupational hazard. The distribution of military risks is now shaped by considerations of equity as well as changes in the nature of war. When black soldiers suffered disproportionate battle casualties in the early years of the Vietnam War the military, responding to political pressures, altered its procedures so that casualty figures became proportionate. Of deaths to date in Iraq, casualties among blacks are a third under their proportion in the armed forces service (respectively, 11% versus 18%). While 18% of whites are in combat units, the comparable proportion of blacks is 12%. In limited combat, as currently in Iraq, the participation of whites in point-of-the-spear units is elevated, and casualty rates among whites correspondingly higher. In warfare of larger scale, as earlier in the Iraq campaign, casualty rates among all groups tend to converge. Among combat-related deaths to date in Iraq, graduates of high schools below the poverty line comprise about 30%, the same percentage of such graduates in the population. The Hispanic casualty rate is slightly elevated, in part because Hispanics’ voluntary service in the Marine Corps is a third higher than their proportion in the armed forces.

    The modal combat soldier is white, working class, and from modest to limited circumstances. Some enlist in the military for patriotic reasons, some for lack of alternatives, some for educational benefits, some for adventure and in search of maturity, many for several motives. This pattern reflects the mix of military standards and needs, and of constraint and choice in American society. Certainly, limited access to opportunity plays a role in inducing some to enter the armed forces. If this is a scandal, set it next to the egregiously meager presence in the military of graduates from elite universities."

    Excerpt from:

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