WSJ: Don’t Ask, Tell Bollinger to Bring Back ROTC

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In this whole hubbub about NROTC forums and referenda,  the Wall Street Journal has raised its voice once again.

Yesterday, in an article centered around future Marine and Junior Austin Byrd, columnist William McGurn said that PrezBo better straighten out his act and grant the ROTC access to Columbia’s campus.  After all, McGurn wrote, even Barack “the most liberal member of the United States Senate” Obama said that Columbia was out of line that one time when he bothered to come back to campus! 

The article also called Bollinger on his slip-up about who instituted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (Congress, not the DOD) and claimed that the administration was “throwing up side issues” when most students, famous alumni and an adjusted JFK quote are all against him. 

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  1. ...

    It's not a big surprise to see this coming from the editorial pages of the WSJ......

    It's a great newspaper as far as news in business and economics is concerned but I always throw out the opinion section when I get a copy. If anything this makes me more supportive of PrezBo's position.

  2. Ron Gejman  

    The WSJ seemed to either ignore the University Senate, or lump it together with "the administration"! Either way, they seem to pigeonhole Bollinger as being anti-NROTC and the ultimate arbiter of NROTC's campus fate.

    And that puts Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, in a fix. Though a student vote would not bind the university into revoking the ban, it would have embarrassing consequences. If Columbia's students were, once again, to vote in favor of lifting the ban, they would effectively be joining Mr. Obama in urging Mr. Bollinger to move beyond the partisan divisions of the past.

  3. Anonymous  

    Ack, bwog, can you fix the blockquote in the paragraph above?

  4. Once Again?  

    The U. Senate would not be voting "once again" to bring back ROTC. They have never voted to bring it back in the first place, therefore they can't do it again. Yes, the *undergraduate* student body voted to bring it back by a nearly 2/3 margin early in the decade, but the undergraduate student body makes up hardly 1/3 of the student population.

    Also, there is nothing partisan about saying "This organization violates the University's anti-discrimination policy, therefore they will not be allowed on campus."

  5. Jan--Michael Rives  

    Doesn't the Catholic church violate the University's anti-discrimination policy? Why are they allowed to exist on campus? The ban has nothing to do with anti-discrimination and everything to do with the university's anti-military attitude.

    • Bullshit  

      The Catholic Church does not recruit people for the purpose of employment. These religious parallels are retarded. Besides, the ROTC was banned from Campus by a senate vote in opposition to DADT. "Anti-military attitude" is just speculation on your part.

      • THANK YOU  

        for making this point. can everyone please stop makin this asinine religious argument? not only is there no parallel, if there was it's not even a knock-out argument because one can just as easily argue that all discriminatory religious groups should be banned from campus as well.
        also, one more time, is it not relevant that ROTC recruits people for the explicit purpose of killing strangers? why is this not a point of contention in the debate about whether or not they should be allowed on campus?

        • Barnard

          "...one can just as easily argue that all discriminatory religious groups should be banned from campus as well."

          Well, yes, you're actually making the ROTC advocacy argument. The non-discrimination policy is meant to promote organic diversity and engagement on campus, and protect inclusion at Columbia, which rightfully includes ROTC as well as religions. Real diversity, engagement, and inclusion will entail, at times, some conflict and friction. The non-discrimination policy addresses that. However, the non-discrimination policy becomes corrupted when it is misused as a tool of exclusion and segregation, as has happened with ROTC at Columbia. Using our non-discrimination policy as the reason for excluding a critical segment of society is a very dangerous interpretation of the non-discrimination policy.

          Of course, "military status" is also protected by Columbia's non-discrimination policy equally with categories like religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Under Columbia's non-discrimination policy, it's very much open to question whether Columbia's current policy on ROTC constitutes discrimination against Columbia's military students.

          The point is, Columbia's non-discrimination is not the reductive policy that ROTC opponents characterize it to be. Columbia closely affiliates with a women's college in order to help address social disparities, despite that Barnard is a far stronger example of (gender) discrimination. ROTC at Columbia will help address social disparities, too.

        • Exactly

          You clearly have no idea what the military is about or what purpose it serves. "Explicit purpose of killing strangers". Ivory tower much?

          I don't see how the religious parallel is totally absurd either. ROTC pretty much says "you can be gay, just don't bring it to ROTC". Many religions, among other discriminatory ideals, say don't be gay anywhere, ever, heathen.

          And if you think religions don't recruit for employment, you are wrong and clearly did not attend Catholic School.

    • also  

      while we're on discrimination, why pick the Catholic church specifically? Most of the other religious groups that meet on campus have homophobic policies as well, but you just decided to make it look like Catholics invented it.

  6. Barnard

    You know, we only allow women to be admitted into our school.

    Bollinger also erred when he referred to "military veterans status", when the protected category in the university non-discrimination policy is actually "military status", which included ROTC cadets. Does Columbia force its gay students to go all the way to Manhattan College and Fordham University in order to be gay, too?

  7. Catholic

    When I was on campus I worked for the Catholic services that were held weekly ON CAMPUS. I did this not as a part of a student group, like the Catholic Student Organization, but rather worked directly for the church's activities on campus at St. Pauls.

    And besides the matter of employment does not matter. Columbia's nondiscrimination policy simply states that no element of the university may discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. For any purpose. Clearly some religious organizations (not student groups, but churche's and the like) on campus DO discriminate. And yet Columbia allows them to operate freely on campus.

    And clearly they have even less of a need to do this than to allow ROTC on campus - there are churches, temples and synagogues all over Manhattan, easily accessible via subway. To get to ROTC one must go all the way up to the Bronx.

  8. Raya

    To get to ROTC one must go all the way up to the Bronx.

    All the way to the BRONX?!?!?!? Call the Waaaahhhmbulance!!

    ...I think if one is serious about a career in the military, where jogging for miles while carrying a 50-pound backpack is a standard training exercise, one can take a mere subway ride to the Bronx in stride.

    • Non-discrimination

      Military status, religion and sexual orientation are all equally protected statuses in Columbia's non-discrimination policy. If Columbia forced gay students to go to Fordham or Manhattan College in order to express their sexuality, or forced religious students, say Catholics, to go to Fordham or Manhattan College in order to practice their religion, I think we would all agree that that would be a discriminatory policy by the university. So, how - given that military status is afforded the same protection as sexual orientation and religion by the Columbia non-discrimination policy - can we find it acceptable for Columbia military students to be forced to go to Fordham or Manhattan College in order to be military?

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