Apr

22

Columbia Officially Recognizes Naval ROTC

Written by

Columbia and the Navy have “agreed to officially reinstate Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Program enrollment opportunities at the University.” In a press release sent out today, PrezBo cites the repeal of DADT and the numerous student discussions as reasons for reengaging with ROTC. There are two practical details explicitly mentioned in the agreement. Provost Steele is to “establish a committee of faculty, students and administrators to oversee implementation of the ROTC program,” and it is already provided that “active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers will be able to meet with Columbia NROTC midshipmen on the Columbia campus in spaces furnished by Columbia.” The statement makes it clear that no changes will take place until DADT’s repeal comes into effect.

The press release is reproduced below. Read the full statement and PrezBo’s e-mail to the community (basically rehashing the same material) after the jump.

NEW YORK, April 22, 2011 — Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus today announced that Columbia and the U.S. Navy have agreed to officially reinstate Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Program enrollment opportunities at the University.

“Repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law provided a historic opportunity for our nation to live up to its ideals of equality and also for universities to reconsider their relationships with the military,” said Bollinger. “After many months of campus discussion, open forums, and a strongly favorable vote in the University Senate, together with consultation with the University’s Council of Deans, it is clear that the time has come for Columbia to reengage with the military program of ROTC. I believe that it is the right course of action for Columbia to formalize this recognition and thereby add to the diversity of choices for education and public service we make available to our students.”

Under the agreement, Columbia will resume full and formal recognition of Naval ROTC after the effective date of the repeal of the law that disqualified openly gay men and lesbians from military service, anticipated to come later this year.

“Columbia University and the Department of the Navy have a long and rich history together,” said Secretary Mabus. “The formal recognition of Naval ROTC by Columbia marks a renewal of that storied relationship. Columbia’s tremendous support to our men and women in uniform returning from the recent wars is overwhelming, as are the growing numbers of veterans who are woven into the fabric of this great institution. The return of Naval ROTC to campus will only serve to enhance and strengthen our institutions and continue to contribute to the success of this great country.”

On April 1, Columbia’s University Senate passed a resolution by a vote of 51-17 welcoming “the opportunity to explore mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.” University Provost Claude M. Steele will establish a committee of faculty, students and administrators to oversee implementation of the ROTC program consistent with Columbia’s academic standards and policies of nondiscrimination.

Columbia’s Navy and Marine Corps-option midshipmen will participate in Naval ROTC through the NROTC unit hosted at the SUNY Maritime College in Throgs Neck, Queens. They will join Columbia’s Army and Air Force ROTC members who will continue to train, as they do currently, with other New York area students at consortium units at Fordham University and Manhattan College. At present, there are nine Columbia and Barnard College students participating in these New York consortium units. The new agreement between the Navy and Columbia will provide that NROTC active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers will be able to meet with Columbia NROTC midshipmen on the Columbia campus in spaces furnished by Columbia.

“In recent years Columbia has proudly welcomed hundreds of talented veterans as undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” Bollinger said. “Some continue to serve in the Reserves; others are now ROTC members. They have greatly enriched the diversity of life experience and perspectives that make a university a place of intellectual discovery and their example gives me confidence that our campus can be a forum for further enhancing the relationship between our military and civil society.”

In addition to Columbia’s growing community of student military veterans, more than half of whom attend the School of General Studies, the University in recent years also dedicated a new War Memorial prominently placed in Butler Library. The memorial includes an interactive Roll of Honor website that lists the names of all known Columbians who lost their lives in the nation’s military service going back to the Revolutionary War.

The School of General Studies has taken a leading role in Columbia’s university-wide participation the Yellow Ribbon program of education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans, some 340 of whom are currently enrolled at Columbia. The school was originally founded after World War II in part to provide a Columbia undergraduate education to veterans and other nontraditional students.

The University has a long history of educational programming with the U.S. military and the Navy in particular. Beginning in 1942, Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus served as a Midshipmen’s School that trained more than 20,000 officer candidates for duty during the next four years. Columbia was also a site for the Navy’s V-12 programs, which trained doctors and dentists for military service. A third program, the Military Government School, was established to train a cadre of naval officers to handle the administration of occupied territories.

Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons created a hospital in Europe to minister to the wounded, following U.S. troops first to England and later to France, sometimes operating in hospitals behind the lines and at other times in tents nearer the front. It had provided a similar service during World War I. In 1942, the medical school organized the Second General Hospital on the Washington Heights campus to treat soldiers and sailors who were sent home due to the severity of their wounds. At the end of the conflict, many veterans enrolled in the University with support from the G.I. Bill of Rights. Other veterans resumed academic careers as members of the faculty or joined the administrative ranks of the university.

In recent years this relationship has developed in many ways. In April 2010, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen began a national speaking tour focusing on civilian-military engagement and veterans’ issues with a day at Columbia that included a visit to the new war memorial, a luncheon with student military veterans and a public World Leaders Forum moderated by President Bollinger.

On Veterans Day in November 2010, with approval from the University Senate, Columbia student military veterans and current ROTC students began weekly honor guard ceremonies for the University’s American flag in front of Low Memorial Library.

“The University Senate provided an open and transparent process for multiple voices in the Columbia community to be heard on the issue of reinstating ROTC,” said Sharyn O’Halloran, chair of the University Senate and professor of political economy. “The overwhelming final vote reflected a strong consensus that the time has come for Columbia to reestablish relations with the ROTC in ways that both maintain our academic values and allow the university to play a productive role in educating the nation’s next generation of military leaders.”

———-

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community: 

After many months of campus discussion, open forums, and a strongly favorable vote in the University Senate, together with consultation with the University’s Council of Deans, it is clear that the time has come for Columbia to reengage with the military program of ROTC, subject to certain conditions and with ongoing review.  Accordingly, I am announcing today that after four decades Columbia again will recognize ROTC on campus through an agreement to reinstate a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program at the University.

Formal recognition of Naval ROTC by Columbia will resume after the effective date, expected later this year, of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law that disqualified openly gay men and lesbians from military service.  Under the agreement, Columbia’s Navy and Marine Corps-option midshipmen then will participate in Naval ROTC through the NROTC unit hosted at the SUNY Maritime College in Throgs Neck, Queens.  They will join Columbia’s Army and Air Force ROTC members who will continue to train, as they do currently, with other New York area students at consortium units at Fordham University and Manhattan College.  Provost Claude Steele will establish a committee of faculty, students, and administrators to oversee implementation of the ROTC program consistent with Columbia’s academic standards and policies of non-discrimination.

Columbia’s long and honorable history of engagement with the military includes major training programs for naval officers and medical personnel during World War II, and the founding of our School of General Studies in the aftermath of the war in part to provide a Columbia undergraduate education to returning veterans.   During both of last century’s world wars, Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons created and staffed hospital facilities in Europe for wounded combat troops, in some cases operating in the field of battle.  In recent years, hundreds of talented veterans welcomed here as undergraduate, graduate, and professional students have added to the diversity of experience and perspectives essential to making our University a place of intellectual discovery and open debate.  In recognition of those efforts, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen last spring came to our campus for a day of discussion of issues facing the military and our society.

I have confidence that, with the return of ROTC, Columbia will be an even more valuable forum for enhancing the relationship between our military and civil society in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

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44 Comments

  1. BOO  

    YAH! take that Anthrolopolgy, SOciology, MEALAC, and all other fake departments! Econ and PolySci FOR THE WIN.

  2. Anonymous

    The real reason we have GS, so at times like these Columbia can point and say "look how many veterans we have!"

    • Ben Feibleman

      Wow. Way to be courageous, ANONYMOUS. You are such a coward, to go and tell a whole 20% of your fellow Columbians that they are not worthy. Do you ever wonder what people say about you behind your back? They might start off with your not having a spine, and being a poster-child for elitism. I challenge you to grow balls, (or ovaries, if that is the case), and come to GS graduation and tell us we do not deserve it----without hiding behind a veil, you coward. I encourage you to look me up and meet some of my GS peers and have a real conversation about what you just wrote. Maybe getting to know us would show you that the only thing that makes us different is that we did not go to college straight out of high school; some of us had other things on our plates, like family responsibilities, maybe even a lack of family to pay for our school, (who is paying for yours?) or maybe because we were too busy trying to survive and get home safe from a war zone. If that is not good enough to excuse our delay, then no thanks. ---(Seriously, what a horrible thing to say.)

    • Ben Feibleman

      Replace "veterans" with "black", then tell me it is different.

    • Anonymous

      Some of the smartest people I ever met were GS. Take a look at this guy, who, while you celebrating the freedom to drink a beer without your parents grounding you, this guy was testifying on Capital Hill to END A WAR. It is only a guess, but I would bet that if we put both of your admissions essays side by side, you would not want them to have to choose between the two. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A7S5tMfVpM

      What did you write about? What did you do to really EARN your place at Columbia? If you just say good grades, scores, a little volunteer work, and a study abroad program, then I would say there are 1M Chinese students who could happily take your place. In the meantime, for anyone who liked Jason's speech, feel free to join the Jason Lemieux PhD Initiative:
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Jason-Lemieux-PhD-Initiative/202903599732793

  3. Only one thing to do

    CELEBRATE LIKE THIS: http://bit.ly/hSY4jw

  4. Anonymous  

    “The University Senate provided an open and transparent process for multiple voices in the Columbia community to be heard on the issue of reinstating ROTC.”

    That's a flat out lie. Unless multiple voices means Prezbo's chorus of ROTC-supporters and transparent means "we didn't even try to hide our bullshit procedures".

    • Actually  

      It's the truth.

      A survey was sent to multiple schools (CC, SEAS, GS, Barnard, and SIPA) i.e. multiple voices and three public townhall sessions were held. The transcripts of these sessions were and still are available via internet. There also was an email address that you could email your concerns/support.

      Senate plenary sessions are public and have press in attendance.

      His statement is entirely truthful.

      If you don't like the decision or the process (which represents the opinion of the majority of the student body that is effected by it), no one is asking you to stay. Drop out. We don't your dissenting types here.

      • really?  

        you don't like "dissenting types"? i didn't realize we could major in dogmatism here

        • Anonymous  

          There is a difference between dissent and disagreement. Disagreement is productive while dissent is not.

          Dissent is the dogmatism of opposition. Dissent is unproductive and does nothing but degrade the intellectual conversation. Dissent often seeks not to get at the truth, but rather to express dissent for the sake of dissent.

          As you can see from the comment to which I was replying, the commenter had no grounds from which to disagree. The commenter's remarks were that of dissent; and did not hold any productive value as a comment stemmed from disagreement would have possessed.

          Had the commenter tugged at ideological differences between the military and Columbia, or even played up several of the other prominent bases from which to disagree with the reinstatement of ROTC, such a comment would have been one of disagreement. But instead, the commenter chose to dissent, which added nothing of value to the intellectual discussion.

          I am tired of these dissenting types. And it is not because I wish to propagate a dogmatic ideology on this campus, but because dissent is as dangerous as dogmatism.

          • no,  

            dissent
            verb (used without object)
            1.
            to differ in sentiment or opinion, especially from the majority; withhold assent; disagree (often followed by from ): Two of the justices dissented from the majority decision.
            2.
            to disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; take an opposing view.
            3.
            to disagree with or reject the doctrines or authority of an established church.

            (from dictionary.com)

            it sounds like you just don't like backtalk. neither does the military, so i guess you're in good company.

          • Anonymous  

            I wasn't aware that dictionary.com was the authority on all sorts of issues.

            Last year our very own Michele Moody-Adams gave a lecture on the difference between dissent and disagreement and explained how dissent has inherent dangers. You should have been there. It was interesting and it would have done you some good.

            I am aware of what the dictionary definition of dissent, however, it can also be used in a more technical fashion.

            And finally, as you can see from my other comments. I do not oppose disagreement, I actually encourage it. But I find dissent, in the technical sense that I and prominent intellectuals choose to use it, as dangerous as sheer dogmatism.

            It's like politics. If you go too far left you stumble unto total socialism and if you go too far right you stumble unto fascism. Both of which are extremely dangerous and counter to a free society.

          • Anonymous  

            *I am aware of the dictionary definition of dissent.

          • you and public intellectuals  

            Against dissent:
            "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can
            shield the people from the political, economic and/or military
            consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for
            the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the
            truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension,
            the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State."
            -- Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels

            For dissent:
            "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
            -- Howard Zinn

            "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of
            the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has
            ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all
            objectivity - much less dissent."
            -- Gore Vidal

            I'll take dissent, thanks.

          • Oh, wait; there's more!  

            In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.
            -J. William Fulbright

            No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.
            -Barbara Ehrenreich

            We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
            -Edward R. Murrow

            Wait--there's even a former Columbia president weighing in!

            May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
            -Dwight D. Eisenhower

            And I could go on.

            The sad thing is: you were right. The ROTC hearing process was open and fair. Every voice had an opportunity to be heard. But then you had to go all fascist on the "dissent is unproductive" front, and irrational on the "I don't care about your dictionary definitions" front. Who are you, Humpty Dumpty?

            "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
            -Lewis Carroll

          • Anonymous

            I'm not a fascist. And as a Columbia student you should be aware of the fact that some words are flexible. If you still disagree, go read Nietzsche and see how he provides contextual definitions of the words they he uses. There are occasionally ideas that are incapable of being expresses through convential methods. As such, one can play with the subtle distinctions between what are seemingly synonyms. In a dictionary sense, yes disagreement and dissent mean very much the same thing. However, as I have made abundantly clear, dissent can be used to define baseless disagreement for no other higher purpose but of that to oppose. It is ignorant and dangerous. I am not alone this. As I mentioned earlier this is a distinction that i I have borrowed from Michele Moody-Adams.

            Your responses show that you do not understand my position. To sum it up: dissent can be defined as: baseless disagreement with no other intention that of a reactionary disagreement. It is dangerous. I am not alone in making this distinction. If you'd like an example of dissent and its consequences, you simply need to observe the Tea Party. It is institutionalized reactionary dissent. And finally, I am a proponent of disagreement (which is synonymous with the way dissent is used in your quotes above) and I believe it is necessary for a free society. Dissent is dangerous as it masquerades baseless claims as legitimate criticism and often discredits the legitimate claims of the opposition or it imports too much ignorance into the intellectual debate that said debate is stifled and ceases to have value.

            Have you ever argued with a 4 year old? There is no argument to be had. I fear, and I believe rightly so, that dissent has the capacity to degrade what can be an intellectual conversation to one that resembles the bickering of young children. This is quite different from a scenario in which two learned people, with mutual respect for eachother, engage in productive debate and whose disagreements with one another are founded on something.

          • Anonymous  

            And yes. I don't like backtalk. It's fruitless, childish and has no place in an intellectual discussion.

          • homie

            you don't have a place in intellectual discussion, don't like backtalk? maybe you should back out: we don't do with ignorant types here.

          • Anonymous

            Balktalk is baseless and fruitless. It is childish. I hate how all of you morons completely misunderstand my point.

            I FULLY SUPPORT INTELLECTUAL CONVERSATION. I SUPPORT DISAGREEMENT BECAUSE IT HAS BASE AND INTELLECTUAL PURPOSE.

            I do not support dissent and childish backtalk which are baseless opposition.

      • Anti-ROTC GSer  

        Try "affected" instead of "effected".

        And, sorry, but your essential premise is untrue and resembles some shoddy political platform of your own.

        PoliSci major, perhaps? Future leader of the free world?

        Spare us!

        • Anonymous  

          You have my sincerest apologies for an insignificant lapse in my typing skills.

          Nonetheless. I'd ask you to enlighten me as to how my "essential premise is untrue and resembles some shoddy political platform of [my] own."

          Nothing I have said is untrue. There was a survey sent to the five schools. There were townhalls and the transcripts pertaining to said townhalls are available online. And, finally, Senate plenaries are open to members of the university and there are members of the press in attendance. All of that is true.

          I spy no political platform. I am not a PoliSci major.

          As I said in my earlier comment. I am tired of this unproductive dissent. If someone has something of value to add to the intellectual conversation, I am very interested in hearing it. But if you are going to craft a scarecrow of an argument and baselessly claim that my statements (which are true and valid) are untrue, you should spare the people who actually belong at an institution of higher education.

          It's like the Tea Party. Look at how ridiculous they are. Look at how little they add to American politics. They are institutionalized dissent. Both your comments and those of the commenter to which I was replying are equally as unproductive and equally as shameful.

  5. this is the way  

    that we love like it's forever
    then spend the rest of our lives
    but not together

  6. where  

    is all that music and cheering coming from outside of EC?

  7. i hope  

    at least Fox News is happy because today "the spirit of '68" as some people--including those high up in the University--like to toot, has died. hooray?...

  8. The spirit of 68  

    is dead.

    And it couldn't have come too soon.

  9. you know

    what this feels like? all of the comments online remind of when the bush administration was preparing for war and everyone was initially like "yeah! do it! yay!"

    wonder how this will turn out years from now.

    good luck, columbia.

  10. Officer McGruff

    They are here with beer

  11. Spirit of 68 is alive!

    The spirit just switched sides and works for Columbia's ROTC advocates now.

  12. Who Columbia Rules

    The kids are not alright and it's a damn shame.

    "But I find dissent, in the technical sense that I and prominent intellectuals choose to use it, as dangerous as sheer dogmatism.
    It’s like politics. If you go too far left you stumble unto total socialism and if you go too far right you stumble unto fascism. Both of which are extremely dangerous and counter to a free society."

    I hope the ROTC does a good job of protecting you from politics, they can be so scary and dangerous.

  13. Know Your Geography  

    "Throgs Neck, Queens" does not exist. Throgs Neck is in the Bronx, fyi.

  14. This Columbia Student  

    thinks that this is a joke, and that it will unleash unforeseen animosity. The ROTC coming back to this campus will reveal the demagoguery and BS rhetoric on this campus for what it really is, BS. I have many gripes against the way in which this was handled. My first gripe is with those who are angry at dissenters. What do you think colleges and universities are for? They are breeding grounds for social movements and dissent. Secondly, when people claim that there will be discussions and learning from with those in the navy about real substantive changes in approach and policy, they can check their bs as well at the door as well. Idealism will not win over militaristic efficiency and pragmatism. Those who think otherwise are dead wrong and should go back to their respective cloud 9s. Whatever sham policy or curriculum that they seek to institute here will not change who they are or the policies they implement.

    People think that the poll honestly reflected an already disinterested undergrad student body, then they are wrong. The size of poll made it glaringly clear that the amount who participated in the poll, is a far cry of the total amount of students in attendance at this institution. I thought it was laughable to hear some of the arguments for its return along with Bollinger's letter.

    The intent to serve your country is available in the form of voluntary reserves. I do not need a recruiter or any ROTCer or Veteran in my face to telling me to join. There is no discussion, just indoctrination with efficiency. End of story.

    Enjoy the coming can of worms you just opened idiots.

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