ROTC Public Forums Announced

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Bwog just received an email from CCSC VP of Policy Adil Ahmed that announced there are two ROTC forums in the works  — one at Barnard, one at Columbia — designed to serve as platforms for different groups to present their views on the issue to the campus. These forums will be open to the public. 

On Friday, there will be a planning meeting — “not a political debate” — to determine who will be presenting during these forums.

As for the the University-wide referendum, it seems this thing will be written by to-be-determined members of the four undergraduate councils. The authors of the referendum will be identified once it is written, and “no groups will write the questions.”

Full email after the jump.

Dear Campus Groups,

As you know by now, the question of bringing an NROTC program has been raised and is being entertained by the undergraduate University Senators.

The student councils (CCSC, ESC, GSSC, and SGA) will be conducting a survey to gauge student opinion on the issue. We will disclose the members of the councils who draft these questions, and will seek the assistance of our SDA and CAO advisers during the survey drafting process. No groups will write the questions.

We will be working closely with the University Senators to provide the campus with a timetable / history of ROTC activity in the past, and hosting two forums for groups to present their respective views to the campus. One forum will be held at Barnard and one at Columbia so that all students have an equal opportunity to attend and learn about NROTC.

The purpose of the meeting on Friday is so that we can gauge interest in participation on the panels during the forums. It is a planning meeting, not a political debate. If your group would like to be involved, please send one or two representatives from your group to the meeting on Friday. We would also like to learn which groups are planning to organize together so that the forums can be planned accordingly. This will be a great opportunity for you to meet and talk to other student groups who are also planning to educate the campus about their perspectives on a possible Columbia NROTC program.

Of course, you are free to organize however you wish outside of our planned forums but please be respectful of your peers and our larger community.

Location: Earl Hall Auditorium

When: Friday, September 26 from 7 PM – 9 pM



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  1. Alum

    How "university-wide" can the referendum be if it polls only undergraduates? Grad students make up the large majority at CU.

    I realize that grad students aren't going to participate in ROTC, but then neither are any of the current undergrads. Even if ROTC is brought back, I'm sure it will serve less than 2% (maybe even less than 1%) of the undergrads.

    • ROTC Alum

      Actually while I was in ROTC while attending Columbia we had a few grad students in the program at Fordham. SIPA, the business school, GSAS, and the nursing school were represented.

  2. Alum2008

    I wouldn't assume that none of the current undergrads would not participate in ROTC, but it is true that the referendum should be sent to the grad students.
    That aside, I continue to be impressed by the policy cmtes. working on this issue!

    -USenate alum

    • Alum

      "I wouldn't assume that none of the current undergrads would not participate in ROTC . . . ." You lost me; that's a triple negative.

      If you're saying some current undergrads might participate, I suppose you're right. There are a small number of current undergrads who go to Fordham, John Jay College, etc. for their ROTC training, and they might still be around when and if a Columbia ROTC program gets off the ground. Implementing such a program would take time, though, and it's entirely plausible that even the handful of current ROTC freshmen will have graduated by the time it opens.

    • orly?  

      Impressed by them, are you? There has been talk for years about the issue of mutual swipe access with Barnard, yet the student body has never been consulted through a referendum. Now, one senator decides he wants ROTC back on campus, and voila - we have a university-wide referendum. Very impressive student councils - clearly you're working for the public agenda.

      Maybe you should make clear where you got the idea that there was significant enough student demand for you to reignite this issue, because last time I checked there was a referendum just a few years ago, and nobody running for Council brought this up in their campaigns. I smell a rat.

      • PS -

        If anyone wants to bring a referendum up all you have to do is get a bunch of signatures together and present it to the councils. It's not hard. Just no one has the patience to do it.

        Oh, PPS - No one brought up bias incidents either but the councils still addressed that issue. They have to be flexible to changes in the undergraduate population. In this case there are more people involved in the Marines OCS program than there have been in recent years

      • Alum2008

        Just as an FYI, all the four councils did work together to discuss the situation regarding swipe access. Lisa Hogarty (before she moved up to CUMC) instituted an advance-notice process that allows Barnard students to enter. Do some backchecking before you mention that (the resolution was also published in the Spec).

        I can understand that it seems like one senator brought up ROTC that it became a university-wide issue, but he also had justification to do so; both Obama and McCain have mentioned some sort of plan of bringing ROTC back to campus, and this survey (thank you #9 for the correction) will determind the students' opinion.

        Simple as that.

        • bullshit  

          My point still stands. One senator singularly drove this issue, and insisted that it is independent of any current political happenings. Nothing was done to poll the student body about its views on swipe access, so do some fact-checking yourself - the issue is just floating in the water. Yet when the Senator decides he wants ROTC back on campus, we have this organized movement towards making it happen. The Senate & Councils are way out of touch with the needs of the student population. This is not what Krebs or the Senators talked about in their campaign pledges, so why is it such an imperative now?

          • Alum2008

            FYI, even if one senator drives an issue, it can be shot down in the SAC meetings; they voted to continue with this due to, again, the situation regarding ROTC's role in the election. Don't continue to single out RR, because while it WAS on his platform, and he WAS pushing for this issue, his reasons for it were justified.
            And yes, neither Krebs, Valeiras, Besnoff, nor Berg didn't mention this on their platforms, but it's necessary to get the students' opinion on this SURVEY.

            Anyway, here's your fact-checking background on the swipe access issue (since you asked so politely :-P):
            1. SGA approached CCSC and ESC (I think GSSC was approached as well, can anybody confirm on that?) a few years back about universal access. CCSC was signed onto the idea, but ESC was not due to security reasons (e.g., if a Columbia student vandalizes a Barnard dorm, who would be in trouble, and vice-versa)
            2. The idea of a survey on universal access to the student bodies was reached, but I don't remember whether or not it was sent out.
            3. It may not have been sent out because Hogarty then instituted (last year?) the advance-notice move; when security officers at sign-in posts got computerized swipe systems, people can call the post and say "So-and-so from Barnard is coming around so-and-so time" so that person can get in without having to sign in.

            Hope that helps. Please (x100) talk to your councils on this stuff! The last time I checked, neither of the presidents bite...

            Oh, and @13: You're 0/2.

  3. ...  

    "'s entirely plausible that even the handful of current ROTC freshmen will have graduated by the time it opens."

    Only to be replaced by more freshman who are more interested in ROTC because it's available on campus. If they bring ROTC to campus, it won't be for nothing.

    • Alum

      "Only to be replaced by more freshman who are more interested in ROTC because it's available on campus. If they bring ROTC to campus, it won't be for nothing."

      I never said it would. My point is that, with a very few possible exceptions, the undergrads being asked to vote on the referendum are not the ones who will benefit if ROTC is brought back. If the reason grad students aren't being polled is that they won't benefit from the program (I don't know if that's the reason, but someone was likely to at least make this argument in response to my initial post), then by the same logic current undergrads shouldn't be polled either.



  5. Alum2008

    Wow, I need to fix my English...

    "one senator brought up ROTC AND it became a university-wide issue"

  6. alum 2008

    Is the Senator who responded in this thread Felipe Tarud or Eric Wang?

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