Two More Voices on ROTC

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Latest from the ROTC debate which is getting more and more attention from the national media: check out two recently published articles by important members of the Columbia community.

Yesterday Katherine Franke, Professor and Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at the Law school, wrote an opinion piece for the Huffington Post. In it, she spoke out against increased military engagement:

Now, as a generation ago, I would object to the conferral of Columbia University credit for ROTC courses taught by instructors who have not received an academic appointment. Now, as a generation ago, I would object to the furnishing of space and related facilities to the military for the administration of the ROTC program. Now, as a generation ago, I would object to the integration of military training and values into the fabric of civilian teaching, learning and research at Columbia.

And today, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Jacques Barzun, CC ’27, former provost, professor of history and literary luminary, gave a Core-tastic defense of ROTC:

Pericles concluded his remarks in ancient Athens by reminding his people that in detailing the merits of their city-state (in contrast to the characteristics of neighboring Sparta) “we are contending for a higher prize than those who enjoy none of these privileges.” A citizenry’s willingness to serve in its defense makes a “government that does not copy our neighbors, but is an example to them.” Most will choose not to answer the call—that is acceptable, the natural result of relying on an all-volunteer military. What is not acceptable is denying the army the opportunity to even make that call.

Hint: You can get past the WSJ pay-wall by searching “Jacques Barzun” in Google News and clicking the link there.

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  1. Anonymous  

    when will this finally be resolved??

  2. Barzun

    That guy is 104! Will I still be able to write at 104?

  3. Spartacus

    Too bad Barzun forgot about the slaves who did most of the dying for Athens in war and got none of the voting privileges.

    Oh well, that's what happens with Whiggish history. Noblesse oblige my balls.

  4. Barzun  

    has an incredibly intelligent and eloquent defense. Franke is liberal gender garbage.

    • Anonymous  

      "liberal gender garbage"

      sexism ca. 2011

    • son on barzun...

      The basketball team discriminates on ability. NCAA has transgender athletes. ROTC still discriminates on sexuality, which has nothing to do with your ability to follow commands, and such discrimination is openly against the rules of the university.

      But opinions are cool stories, bro.

      • ROTC not against rules

        The non-discrimination policy only bars 2 things: unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment. Military trans policy is lawful and upheld by the courts. ROTC wouldn't allow, or be allowed to practice, discriminatory harassment.

        Anyway, the military transgender issue is more complicated and nuanced than DADT. Regardless, the bottom-line is that lawful discriminatory practices, of which Columbia has many, are discretionary. Further, Columbia's non-discrimination policy contains a superseding provision that nothing in the non-discrimination policy will abridge the University's educational mission. So, if Columbia decides to add ROTC to the educational mission, then the entire controversy will be moot.

        You can fairly argue against ROTC at Columbia based on your personal beliefs, values, or principles, but you are wrong to claim ROTC would be "openly against the rules of the university".

  5. Van Owen

    potus can blow this..

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