Anti-NROTC Coalition Holds Meeting with Councils, Dems Put Up New Posters; UPDATE: Pro-NROTC Responds

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The anti-NROTC coalition (Lucha, Dems, CQA, SDS, CCAW, EAAH, Chicano Caucus, Proud Colors) have invited council members to a meeting tomorrow night, to discuss concerns about “communication.”

“Up until the past day or so,” one spokesman told Bwog, “we had no information about how the forums would work.” This is not the first time that groups have expressed concern over the transparency of the council-controlled survey process: several groups that are now part of the coalition have previously expressed doubt about the openness of it. 

In other pre-Wednesday news (the day of forum in Barnard’s Sulzberger Parlor–which, thanks to space constraints, will be the only pro-con forum held before the survey): While the pro-NROTC group has set up a table on College Walk, the College Democrats have been putting up new posters (pictured at right). Dems Media Director Avi Edelman told Bwog that the photos are of Columbia students, and that “the message is that the spirit of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell not only leads to direct discrimination, but operates by encouraging people to conceal their identities. As a school with a nearly 20% LGTBQ population, we cannot allow an organization that wants students to hide their identities.”

E-mail requests for a source on the 20% figure were not immediately returned, but Bwog will update with a source as soon as one is provided. UPDATE (3:55 PM): Bwog has been told the 20% figure comes from this year’s NSOP Diversity Workshop.

UPDATE (2:55 AM): The pro-NROTC group sends Bwog an e-mail from their alias, saying that the College Democrat posters are “factually incorrect.” Full email after the jump.


The poster put out by the College Democrats is factually incorrect. LGBTQ students would not be “legally barred from taking any ROTC-specific courses.”  Schools such as MIT have ROTC classes that are open to all students, regardless sexual orientation.  In fact, any student, even if they are not part of the ROTC program, can take these classes.

MIT has also created a fund to “reinsure” any LGBTQ student who loses scholarship money due to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which is a federal law, although so far, no student has been kicked out of MIT ROTC due to sexual orientation.  If NROTC was allowed to return to our campus, Columbia could establish a similar policy.



  1. I wondered  

    how they were going to come up with space like that last minute, seeing as we commoners have to pre-calendar things of that scale months in advance...

  2. oh god  

    the student council members are really fumbling this one ... what more can you expect from those incompetent careerist bastards.

  3. hah  

    Oh this is just priceless. Really Councils, you dug this one for yourselves. Really. What happened to fighting the war on fun? Improving transparency on campus? Having fun events? These are issues most people can get on board with. But you want to do your own goddamn thing running around with student groups who have their own shit to take care of, beating a horse that has been dead since 2004/2005. Jeez

    Oh and btw,

  4. inaccurate  

    The poster is inaccurate: self-identified LGBTQ students WOULD be allowed to take ROTC-specific courses. DADT only comes into effect when commissioning as an officer, after graduation.

    • ROC  

      Actually, the only mistake on the flyer is the word 'any'. Openly gay students would be permitted to take entry level classes, but the advanced level classes require a commitment to service.

      In other words, the class itself would be open, but no openly gay student would be able to fulfill a prerequisite for the class.

      Nice catch, huh?

      • wrong  

        I don't know where you're getting your information from, but I can tell you this isn't true. Classes at all levels are open to everyone, contracted or not.

        • . .  

          Yes, the classes may all be open, but the top classes require a commitment to service. Gay/lesbian/etc. students cannot commit to service.

          • Openly ...

            Don't ask ... don't pursue means that as long as the applicant doesn't make his or her sexuality an issue (don't tell), he or she can go through with it, provided all the other qualifications are met. I agree it's not fair that gay soldiers have to be guarded about that part of their lives, but the fact is, many gay people have served and are serving in the military. In a close environment, people often suspect who's gay but most do their best not to ask and not to pursue. There's also a growing number of anecdotes about openly gay soldiers who are not pursued.

            I'd like to point out that DADT is a policy mandated by federal law, not a cultural indicator. An NROTC wouldn't foster a homophobic zone on campus. The same standard of behavior would apply to CU NROTC students and personnel that apply to everyone else on campus. Gay civilians already work with the military. If Columbia NROTC hires civilians to work in their office, a gay person should feel as welcome working there as anywhere else on campus.

  5. "More Influence the Military"

    I highly respect those military leaders not only for their service but also for their protest against the DADT policy.

    However, this brings us back to a point about NROTC at Columbia. It should be made very clear that

    ***The Pro-NROTC committee is NOT IN FAVOR OF DADT.***

    One of the main points it has pushed is that WHILE DADT IS A FEDERAL POLICY, DADT can be more effectively protested by such military officers. In terms of winning popular support against the policy, those 104 military officers who signed the petition against DADT carry exponentially more weight and influence than any 104 or even 1040 signatures of Columbia civilian students.

    To be more specific, what were to happen if DADT were to be abolished? What if a homophobic environment still existed in the military? Would those who protest the return of NROTC still protest it then? Would we as a campus WAIT and SIT ON ON OUR HANDS while others enter into a system to change it? Would we only be contempt to join once all the kinks have been worked out?

    This is the complete antithesis to the grassroots strategy employed in any other political or policy movement.

    When these groups are working with grassroots campaigns and politicians in California and other states to overturn a just as discriminatory Proposition 8, they fail to explain the exceptionalism that shrouds their stance on the NROTC at Columbia.

    • oops typo  

      I meant "content" not "contempt." Though there is some irony in the typo. Just a smidgen.

    • no,  

      While I am fairly moderate on this issue, I think this argument about influencing the military from within - and general points made about pro-NROTC people - does NOT address the issue of
      a) A violation of University Discrimination Policy
      b) So are gay people who want to serve their country with honor, supposed to just pretend to be straight but quietly advocate for change from within?
      c) Can you conclusively say that participation is more likely to bring about critical self-evaluation and reform than a boycott? It seems counter-intuitive, particularly if you used the "what if everybody participated/boycotted" litmus

      • Unrealistic Litmus  

        But as many have pointed out, we have done little to advocate a larger, EFFECTIVE boycott.

        This issue has been emphasized by Scott Stewart, a Columbia alumnus and gay veteran:

        As the Columbia University Senate prepared to vote whether to invite ROTC back to Columbia, 5 members of the Columbia community with varying perspectives discussed the "Don't ask, don't tell" law by email.

        The following is an email from Scott Stewart, GS'07, an undergraduate who is a GAY VETERAN and SUPPORTS ROTC to Michael Foss, CC'03, an alumnus opposing ROTC over the DADT issue:

        Hey Mike,

        As an advocate for the return of ROTC to Columbia University, and a veteran of the armed forces who served honorably and openly as a gay man, I would like to ask that you give me more specifics on how Columbia University would better fight Don't Ask, Don't Tell by simply not having it on campus.

        When you were a student at the college, did you ever fight against DADT? Did any of your friends have debates with other students about the policy of DADT? What sacrifices did you make as a student to end DADT? My point being, this issue of bringing ROTC back to campus has brought to the forefront DADT and its gross disregard for equality. Many students are more aware and have a greater understanding of this discrimination, and have joined with the idea of bringing ROTC back to campus in order to end DADT. They understand that it isn't enough to just ignore the issue, they must face it head on and fight this change from within the military itself.

        Mike, I joined the Army as an infantry soldier in order to fight DADT. I succeed by making my fellow soldiers and commanding officers aware that a good soldier is not a monopoly owned solely by straight soldiers. While I appreciate the comments your shared about your friends in the military, I am not convinced that they speak for the entire military. I made changes, and I am sure that if your friends tried as well, they would be able to make changes as well. Have they even tried? And if so, share with me their stories. Look, change is never easy, but make no mistake, it is worth the sacrifices. Change begins with education, and education only comes through a willingness to sit down and discuss the issues, to face it head on. Simply saying we don't want ROTC here does little more than remove that willingness.

        I want nothing more than to get rid of DADT, and I sense from your letter that you feel the same way. You can help me accomplish that by bringing ROTC back to the campus. To simply say "I firmly believe that Columbia can be a stronger force for change in the military by refusing to participate in the program" without so much as a hint of a better solution is, in my opinion, strengthening the military policy on DADT.

        I await your response.

        Scott Stewart
        General Studies, 2007

  6. same shit  

    If DADT comes into effect after as a participant is commissioned as an officer, then what would be the purpose of joining ROTC if you're queer? It wouldn't make sense to take classes if you aren't ultimately offered commission. Even if DADT doesn't come into play during ROTC admissions, DADT would bar gay corps members from enlisting in the military.

  7. the point is  

    currently ROTC in their recruitment policies discriminates against openly homosexual students. The university does not allow job recruiters that discriminate to recruit on campus. Ergo, ROTC should not be on campus recruiting.

  8. ...  

    god this shit is getting old.

    pro-rotc people: why don't you take all the energy you're investing here in trying to get the university to bend over backwards to accommodate ridiculous policy like DADT and instead combine forces with all the other pro-ROTC groups at other campuses and put pressure on congress to fix DADT.

    DADT is the root cause, which both causes problems for the military itself and it's ROTC programs. fixing DADT is the elegant solution. getting the university to insure students against DADT discharge is an expensive ugly fucking bandaid.

    given the stretched state of the military these days and the groundswell of pro-gay public sentiment following the passage of prop 8, i think that you probably have a timely position to fire up an anti-DADT campaign.

    strong foundations, people. not bandaids.

  9. ...

    This is a waste of time!

    It gives the councils a way to feel that they are doing something since they get all this attention on bwog and from student groups...

  10. ugh  

    DADT isn't the root cause. The root cause is military hatred. period. If discrimination against gays were truly the issue, then you assclowns would be up in arms over the blood drives as well (which do not allow gays).

  11. umm....  

    if I remember correctly, a lot of queer groups HAVE made an issue of revising policies on screening for gay blood donors - CQA had a few events on this my freshman and sophomore year, and individual members of these groups have participated in larger movements against bans on gay blood donation. so no, it's not just "military hatred", it's the military's hatred of us.

  12. And the Dems?

    Did the Dems also actively oppose the drives? Lucha?

    Did you go to the anti-NROTC event recently in the Lerner cinema? The speakers EXPLICITLY MADE CLEAR THEI ANTI-MILITARY STANCE, regardless of the DADT policy.

    • ...  

      yes, and if you work to fix DADT, they won't have a leg to stand on.

      ...and seriously, allowing a bloodmobile to park on college walk once a month is a lot less of a commitment by the university than bringing back ROTC. they're apples and oranges.

      the official stance as to why columbia has not invited ROTC back lays squarely on the shoulders of DADT. columbia's policy is good, DADT is broken. why make weird backwards bandaid exceptions to good policy, rather than work to fix broken policy so that it complies with good policy.

      asking columbia to bend it's rules and setup weird expensive shit like an insurance fund in case people get kicked out is absurd. work to fix the root of the problem!

      i swear, it's like saying "guantanamo violates the constitution, so we're going to make an exception to the constitution" rather than "guantanamo violates the constitution, so we're going to change the way we handle enemy combatants such that we're in compliance with the constitution."

      bad policy doesn't deserve exceptions, it deserves eradication.

    • Dems Support Troops  

      They helped with the anti-ROTC forum, but they didn't endorse the views of some of the speakers.

  13. well  

    i can't speak for everybody, but it is possible to oppose the military on the grounds of both the DADT policy and for other reasons, such as opposition to predatory recruitment practices being staged within communities of color; it is also quite possible that people may oppose ROTC for one of these many reasons. Your original post made it out to seem like people are simply opposing the military for the sake of opposing it, as if they're advancing the case that the military is somehow inherently evil...whereas to the contrary one can locate substantive reasons as to why people espouse the position that they do.

  14. ...  

    ROTC's scholarship is need-based, not merit-based.

    Columbia already has a need-based scholarship program.

    The amount of additional scholarship money one would receive from ROTC would be negligible, and it's not worth making an 'exception' for in our anti-discrimination policy.

    • wrong again  

      ROTC's scholarship is commitment-based. That is, contracting for active-duty gets you more money than contracting for reserve gets you more money than contracting for national guard.
      Please guys, if you don't really understand the details, don't pretend you do.
      Furthermore, there are many Columbia students that don't have their full need covered by a grant because they are transfer students, so they turn to the ROTC to meet their needs (like I did!).

  15. makesmyheadhurt  

    okay, so the logic here is:

    20 % of our campus is openly queer (is that the right PC term? sorry.)

    this 20% cannot be commissioned as officers in the armed forces


    let's prevent the remaining 80% of our students from having that opportunity

    listen, if this is an issue, take it up with the Navy, and in the mean time let the other 80% join..

    then again, this is a moot point, since people don't usually up and decide to join ROTC during college.. they'd look into it before hand

    also, if you have a shot at columbia, you'd be pretty set for an academy, which, if you're serious about a military career is a better way to go

    • equivalentargument  

      okay, so your logic here is:

      20% of our campus is openly "colored" (not sure if that's the right PC term, sorry).
      Suppose this 20% is not allowed to join a group on campus.


      let's prevent the remaining 80% of our students from joining that group.

      listen, if this is an issue, take it up with the uppity black folks, and in the mean time, let the other 80% enjoy the group.


      Seriously, discrimination is fucking discrimination. If ROTC banned black people from joining, I don't think you'd be spouting ignorant bullshit like you just did. Gay or straight, black or white, the university's anti-discrimination policy means something. Period.

      • pro-ROTC/anti-DADT

        Columbia can and should oppose discrimination while supporting NROTC at Columbia.

        You know, the discrimination policy says we can't discriminate against students with "military status", either. I believe there's also a conditional of 'unlawful' discrimination in Columbia's discrimination policy; unfortunately, DADT is a federal law.

        Regarding your analogy to black people, the affirmative action case led by Prezbo that won in the Supreme Court a few years back won largely because of the 'friends of the court' brief filed by military leaders. It is an irony regarding DADT that the military has otherwise been a progressive leader with the advancement of women and minorities.

        Columbia won't be the first school with an ROTC and a robust discrimination policy. CU can do something like this that promotes the benefits of ROTC on campus while emphasizing opposition to DADT:

      • openly queer  

        no, he or she is saying that whether ROTC exists here or not, that 20% cannot join armed forces. Having ROTC here doesn't change that fact, it just stops the other 80% from joining.

  16. ugh  

    the dems are just being self-righteous, now that the election over they don't know what the hell to do with themselves

  17. again  

    dems being self-righteous

  18. policy  

    To all the anti-ROTC peeps, would it not be better to lobby the federal government in some way to get an executive order or act of Congress to reverse DADT instead of merely banning it from our campus? That hardly addresses the larger problem of conscience at stake here, namely discrimination against homosexuals. To ban ROTC from our campus does nothing to resolve the issue at large, but gives us a reason to expiate ourselves of our lack of further action. Also, we haven't had DADT here since the riots which predates DADT by a lot, so why the previous aversion?

  19. demonstrating  

    your sexuality in the military...
    Think about that sentence...

  20. Gays are idiots  

    "DADT prohibits any LGBTQ individual from demonstrating his or her sexuality in the United States military."

    Just think about how stupid that sentence is... You join the military to serve your country not to be gay with each other... Demonstrate your gay promiscuousity and spread your stupid AIDs elsewhere you idiotic homosexuals

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