ROTC Update and Roundup
Written by Bwog Staff
Tonight from 8 PM to 10 PM in 417 IAB, the Altschul Auditorium, will be the last of the University Senate Task Force on Military Engagement’s public hearings. The hearings will be open to the media.
Tomorrow night, the Task Force’s survey is scheduled to end at 11:59 PM. We encourage you to have your say! The survey is quite nuanced and allows you the option to express uncertainty or divided views, so it is not simply a matter of being “for” or “against” ROTC.
- We’ve covered the first and second hearings.
- The second batch of e-mailed responses has been posted and the first two hearings have written and audio transcripts.
- At the second one there was some controversy regarding remarks and out-of-turn audience responses.
- There has been an explosive response across national media: The story has made the NYPost, Fox News, and the Daily Mail in England, as well as countless blogs. A reporter from the Post was the only non-campus journalist present at the hearing.
- There have been strong reactions to the story’s publicity. Another vet enrolled in GS advises calm on HuffPo, the task force’s process is criticized at the NY Daily News, and Columbia is called “disgraceful” in a NYPost OpEd.
- The Senate issued a statement in response. They are currently not talking to press outside of the university.
- On Saturday, February 19th, some faculty, led by Professor Allan Silver, released a statement of support.
- The Spec published a full-page spread of opinion pieces for and against the ROTC.
- The Editorial Board of the Spec also came out in favor of a return.
Senator Ron Mazor, student co-chair of the task force, spoke to Bwog yesterday, and emphasized that the catcalling in question was not at all indicative of the task force’s proceedings over the past weeks. Speaking particularly of Tuesday’s townhall, he said “that ROTC hearing was very civil, very thoughtful, and very respectful for the most part. What happened to Mr. Maschek was an outlier over the evening… it happened towards the waning hours of the event and did not repeat itself.” This has been echoed by all those in attendance at the hearing. He notes a “bit of a spike” in website and survey traffic, but a significant number of requests for interviews from the national media—all of which have been refused. This is evidence of the markedly differing reactions between those on-campus and commenters across national media. The senator also explained that he had spoken at length with Provost Steele, who is delivering opening remarks at tonight’s hearing, about the publicity the final hearing is expected to attract. He emphasized that the Senate is the body which is responsible for the issue of ROTC at a university-wide level: “We’re the one’s who are handling the issue in an immediate sense. Public Affairs, the university at large—we are a body of the university, but they are not the ones who have been involved in the issue.” The task force’s final report is due March 4th.