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Ivy Leaguers in the Foxholes

ROTC back at Columbia?


Columbia kicked ROTC off its campus in 1969, but now there’s a movement to bring it back. “Military service is a form of public service,” says professor Allan Silver, a pro-ROTC leader. “Columbia students can’t be responsible citizens while having no connection to fellow citizens who are prepared to serve in uniform.” In 2005, the University Senate shot down an effort to bring it back. But then alumnus Barack Obama called for a repeal of the ROTC ban during an on-campus forum in September, giving the idea a boost. University president Lee Bollinger opposes a shift, citing the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, which violates the school’s nondiscrimination rules. But if the Obama administration repeals the policy, things might change. “If the students say they want it, I think Bollinger will be receptive to it, if ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is no longer an issue,” says pro-ROTC professor James Applegate, who chaired the University Senate’s 2005 ROTC committee.

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