Bring ROTC back to Harvard and Yale

Starting with protests over the war in Vietnam and continuing through protests over the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, many of the nation’s most exclusive colleges and universities barred ROTC from their campuses. (You may recall that some conservatives held that against Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings; as the dean of Harvard’s law school, she had argued in favor of the policy.)
It’s time for Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and those other elite universities to bring back ROTC. Some college presidents — and military officials — have argued that too few students at those top universities would be interested in military careers to make opening an ROTC office cost-effective. From The NYT:

Eileen M. Lainez, a Defense Department spokeswoman, said Monday that it would be “premature to speculate” on plans for new R.O.T.C. units.

Diane H. Mazur, a law professor at the University of Florida and a former Air Force officer, said she doubted whether the military would reinstate the R.O.T.C. at Ivy League colleges because it is expensive to operate there, particularly for the relatively few number of students the services are likely to recruit.

“I think the military is much more persuaded by output, is much more persuaded by economic efficiency,” Ms. Mazur said.

Drew Faust, the president of Harvard, said over the weekend that she was looking forward to “pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard’s full and formal recognition of R.O.T.C..” . .
The Student Affairs Committee of the Columbia University Senate, a policy-making body of students, faculty members, administrators, alumni and others, said Monday that it had formed a Task Force on Military Engagement to consider whether the university should formally participate in the R.O.T.C.

Before making any decision, the committee said, it would conduct an opinion survey and hold hearings on the issue. The committee’s chairman, Tao Tan, said the process would be driven by students, rather than faculty members.

Several Columbia students said this week that while they would not object to the return of the R.O.T.C., they did not expect their classmates to show much interest in military careers.

“Most people come here to have a specific career,” said Alex Gaspard, 18, who hopes to go to law school. “Investment bankers or lawyers.”

Regardless, it is in the nation’s best interest to include among its military officers as many of the best-educated leaders as it can find. And some of those can be harvested from colleges such as Harvard and Yale.
There has been much concern, over recent decades, that the all-volunteer Armed Forces is increasingly different from the civilian nation that it serves — more religious, more conservative. (I’m not so sure that’s true, given the Pentagon’s survey on “Don’t Ask,” which showed that most troops were quite comfortable with having gays and lesbians serve openly.) One of the ways to ameliorate that trend is to be sure that the officer corps is recruited broadly, including recruitment from the elite universities.
— by Cynthia Tucker

360 comments Add your comment

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
8:20 am

What a marvelous idea! A well educated officer corps!

It’s a good thing.

Billyboy

December 22nd, 2010
8:26 am

Everybody should be able to agree with you on this!

Good Grief

December 22nd, 2010
8:35 am

CT – I know that you and I don’t often see eye-to-eye, but I agree with you on this… to an extent. Having recently been in the university system of Georgia and having friends in other university systems around the nation, I’ve seen first hand (as well as read the reports from my friends) a rather disdainful stance taken by professors regarding our military. Considering that many of the younger students at these universities are still in the ’shapeable’ mind range, I think this is a step that the organizers of an ROTC should take carefully.

Peadawg

December 22nd, 2010
8:37 am

“Some college presidents — and military officials — have argued that too few students at those top universities would be interested in military careers to make opening an ROTC office cost-effective.”

They could give it a try but those college presidents and military officials are probably right on this one. Most students go to those uppity colleges to be lawyers, doctors, etc. But like I said…give it a try.

Tychus Findlay

December 22nd, 2010
8:38 am

I…..agree…..?

dougmo2

December 22nd, 2010
8:40 am

While I agree with this article your premise is wrong. Young adults do not wish to go to an elite school to join ROTC.

And Granny, are you implying that we do not now have a well educated officer corps? All of the officers over me were very smart people.

carlosgvv

December 22nd, 2010
8:42 am

You are absoutely correct on this. The students should be the ones to decide whether they want to consider a military career or a least do a tour of duty. Our military needs as many well educated officers as it can get. Colleges should not be dominated by either liberal or conservative thinkers. The whole idea of college is to learn to think for yourself and having the ROTC option is a good step in that direction. I spent two years in ROTC in college and it was a very worthwhile experience.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 22nd, 2010
8:44 am

uppity colleges? Yes, just remember the next time you go to your doctor that a degree from a uppity college is not nearly as good as a online degree from Univ of Phoenix.

Other than an unnecessary attack on colleges, some of which have been around longer than this country, I remember seeing ROTC on campus in my day. Vietnam was still fresh but diversity and opportunity is rarely bad. They should have the opportunity to return to campuses.

T-Town

December 22nd, 2010
8:44 am

With an AP report showing that over 23 percent of new serviceman and women failing the military entrance exam, there is no better time than the present to bring it back.

Sid Farcas

December 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

WOW tuck, you wrote something that I finally agreed with! It’s a Festivus miracle! You are still a liberal hack but, you done good here. Have a Merry Christmas Tuck and remember, rather you, Granny, or Kamchak the Slapnut likes it or not the Tea Party is not going away. We are only growing.
See ya’ next year!

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
8:47 am

dougmo2

No. But it occurs to you. Why?

Jimmy62

December 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

I would debate whether the education offered at Harvard is really all that superior to that offered at a school like Georgia Tech, or the University of Texas. That said, the people that go to Harvard think of themselves as elite, and their nepotist impulses have created a ruling class that is majority Ivy League. Like it or not, that’s the way it is right now. And we should do all we can to make sure those “elites” stay grounded and stay connected to the military. The last thing is we need is an entire polity that couldn’t care less about the military.

Also, DADT is their stated reason for getting rid of ROTC, so now that DADT is gone, they either reinstate ROTC, or admit they are liars and just don’t like the military.

JimW

December 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

Granny, Many colleges and universities turn out well-educated graduates who would make fine officers, if they choose to join the Armed Services.

I do agree that ROTC should be brought back to the elite Ivy League schools to see how it goes. The results may be pleasantly surprising, but like Peadawg I’m concerned that it may turn out to be cost-prohibitive if the programs only attract a handfull of officer candidates.

godless heathen

December 22nd, 2010
8:52 am

I recall Charles Winchester III, a Harvard Man, served his country well in Korea. We need more of that commitment from the Blue Bloods.

kayaker 71

December 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Granny,

What an elitist statement. After serving in the military for nearly 35yrs, it is apparent to me that the officer corps is well educated as a whole and certainly more so than the average. Most officers are not commissioned until they have a degree or the equivalent. A lot of the most promising in the officer corps are sent for advance degrees to upper crust educational facilities, ie Harvard, Columbia, etc. David Patraeus has a PhD in world politics. So don’t pass judgment on them. They are probably some of the finest Americans that we have, serving in thankless jobs at a pay scale that is much lower than their civilian equivalents.

JohnnyReb

December 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

The Military should save their money and NOT reopen offices at the liberal indoctrination centers. It will be an extremely short period after the 2012 elections put a Conservative in the White House that the self-crowned elites once again find some reason to oppose the recruitment centers. Besides, their absence appears to be having no affect.

ctucker

December 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Good Grief@8:35, I’ve seen the disdain of the military from some members of the academy, too — even though some of the brightest young people I’ve ever met were students at the service academies. (I used to serve on a committee to judge applicants for the Rhodes Scholarship; the service academies always prepared their applicants very well.)

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
8:57 am

kayaker 71

boy you can read more into a casual comment than Liz Smith or Army Archerd.

Lighten up dude.

JohnnyReb

December 22nd, 2010
8:58 am

BTW, reinstating the Draft would cure a whole boatload of social problems. If you have been in the military you understand that statement. If you don’t understand the statement, you could be in the group that needs the training.

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

JohnnyReb

I would support a year or two of national service for all.

TnGelding

December 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

I agree with the Pentagon; too expensive with little interest; a waste of time and money

Our armed forces are the best educated and trained members of our society. When a general retires after 30 years they would have spent many of those years sitting in a classroom.

kayaker 71

December 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

Granny,

How would like to enlighten us on your “casual comment”? You sound like Bozo when he says, “I really didn’t mean to say that”. Tell us what you really meant to say.

JohnnyReb

December 22nd, 2010
9:00 am

Granny, I’m not sure your vision of National Service equals Military Service.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

I would suspect, since DADT has been trashed, these colleges now have been given an “out”. ROTC pays for an education and these colleges than have dissed the military can smell the money. I would give these institutions the same respect that they have handed the military for years.
I don’t think I want a Bill Clinton or Barrack Obama as my platoon leader. Although, Barry does seem to be butter-bar material.

Flyin' Bryan...USAF

December 22nd, 2010
9:04 am

Well educated officer corps? I don’t give a crap if you can explain to me quantum physics while in the heat of battle…I only care about you being able to take out the enemy with your firearm at 50 yards, sir/ma’am…

“Educated officer”…that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one!

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

JohnnyReb

For those for whom military service is appropriate that would be one of the options, for those who wouldn’t fit that mold, there would be other options.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

granny godzilla@8:59
“I would support a year or two of national service for all.”
I think you would get a bigger fight over that than DADT. Generally speaking, most service members in my group remember the draft days, and are not interested.

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

Kayaker 71

I meant a well educated officer corps is a marvelous idea.

You have a problem with THAT?

TnGelding

December 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

We simply can’t afford an all-volunteer army and the dependents it brings with it. Young, unmarried men were meant to die in unnecessary wars declared by foolish “leaders.” The damage to society by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will endure for generations, even though the number of casualties are relatively few.

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Joel

There are things worth fighting for.

So would you or wouldn’t you like to see everyone do a year or two of national service or not?

Your post doesn’t say.

dougmo2

December 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

“What a marvelous idea! A well educated officer corps!”

That’s why Granny, next stupid question .

Good Grief

December 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

godless @ 8:52 – nice. We needed a M*A*S*H reference today.

CT @ 8:54 – I understand. I went to NGCSU, the military college in Dahlonega, for my undergrad studies. I was in classes with cadets who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though some of the professors were quite petulent about their service, some of these men and women were the brightest at the school, even after sacrificing to serve this country, many still held an amazingly positive outlook.

As an aside, CT, even for all the disagreement we’ve had, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and Happy New Year. God Bless.

joe

December 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

I so trust Bubba with an M16 in his hands than say…Winston Bradbury Howell III. I’d also trust Bubba’s instinct on the battlefield to lead a battalion against an enemy over the “smarts” of Winston any day of the week. Same could be said for that of Bonnie Lou over that of Buffy.

TnGelding

December 22nd, 2010
9:13 am

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

You’d better familiarize yourself with the workings of our military. If anything, a lot of money is wasted on educating troops that will be killed. When a unit is called up for deployment the first thing it does is start training anew. It also has the toughest, fairest and most competitive promotion policies in the world. If you don’t produce, you don’t get promoted and will probably end up being discharged in the not too distant future.

Van Jones

December 22nd, 2010
9:13 am

Amen, Sister!

JohnnyReb

December 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

Granny, I think you would find the ones that don’t fit the military mold are the ones that need the traning most.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

granny godzilla@9:08
“and are not interested.”
What does that say to you? I came in after the tail-end of the draft and the quality of recruits were less than satisfactory. The things worth fighting for; will be fought for, without a draft.

Honest Broker

December 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

To T-Town, “With an AP report showing that over 23 percent of new serviceman and women failing the military entrance exam, there is no better time than the present to bring it back.”

I believe this report was about high school folks taking the entrance exam. Those in the service essentially passed the exam.

TnGelding

December 22nd, 2010
9:18 am

Thanks, Broker, I missed that misrepresentation. I was aware of what the article had stated, tho.

jt

December 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

Hank Paulson, Bernake, Obama,George Bush,…………

all products of Harvard.

God help us.

Beretverde

December 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

Why should the rich and elite of the Ivy League share the burden? The elite pay their fair shares in taxes and that is enough! My god EVERYONE knows you can’t get rich in the military. Besides, why should one sacrifice oneself, when the lower classes can do it for them? Now that Vietnam memory is fading, the Ivy Leaguers are shaking in their boots now that they can’t hide behind the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell lie (congress induced not military).

It’ll be a cold day in hell when I see Harvard-Columbia-Brown students serving this country!

markie mark

December 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

hey Godless….Charles was drafted and ended up at Tokyo General Hospital…..it was only after he made an ass of himself by destroying a General while playing poker did he end up in a M.A.S.H…….

Fred

December 22nd, 2010
9:23 am

Granny Godzilla:

Do you have any teas leaves or chicken bones I can borrow? Everyone else seems to be using them to “interpret” your posts and I’m feeling a bit left out. Or maybe I’m just stupid because I took what you wrote at face value without trying to add my own words to it.

I agree with your 2 year service idea. Those who can’t serve in the military because of religious or moral convictions against military service, could serve in the Peace Corps or some other similar humanitarian group (WHO comes to mind).

God Bless America... and no one else

December 22nd, 2010
9:23 am

As a currently serving officer, I would rather NOT see ROTC reinstated at these schools. They were ready to abandon the nation and its military when they didn’t agree politically, and the Armed Services were able to build the finest officr corps in its history without them. Now that they are happy with the DOD, they want to join the club again? No thank you.

If a graduate from one of these schools wants to serve, they still have a method open to them — enlist and go to OCS.

The alarm clock is ringing now.WAKE-UP you fools

December 22nd, 2010
9:24 am

It will not matter whether the members of our military are gay or not, untill we start seeing the openly gay members come back in body bags. The liberal people of this country will say that, this is wrong. We cannot let our gay members be the ones getting killed.
Now we are wanting to put ROTC offices in the most liberal schools in this country. I agree we need to give our young people a chance to advance in our military as soon as they are ready to join.
If we do not train our young people to stand up and protect this country from our enemies. The problem is, our enemies are some of the same people that are teaching them before they get to the age for ROTC to train. Our president spoke of his own military that will be stronger and better funded than our military we know of today. We let him be elected by people that could do nothing more than mark one spot on a ballet. The only time in their lives they ever voted. Many of them use a lamp post marking as a address to get a voting card. Our president is destroying our national dafence with this treaty he is ramming through now. There is nothing one person can do with his own opinion. All we do here is give our opinions. It will take only a few to finish destroying this country and it will take the greater part of this country to save it from ourselves. This country is going to have to change from a for me, to me, only me group of people to a for us, to us, all of us to do it place for the people.
Marry Christmas to all of you and if you are not into that Mary whatever you belive in. Just remember one thing, in the end, we all will end up in the same place. HISTORY.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

And Granny, are you implying that we do not now have a well educated officer corps? All of the officers over me were very smart people

Of course when I read the above, I took it as a commentary implying that the armed forces had educated smart officers and dumb troops. Why do some people imply that our troops are so much dumber than officers? Enjoy your witch hunt….

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

fred@9:23
“I agree with your 2 year service idea. Those who can’t serve in the military because of religious or moral convictions against military service, could serve in the Peace Corps or some other similar humanitarian group (WHO comes to mind).”

Agreed. plenty of options for those who feel the calling to serve humanity. Especially for those that feel antsy about uniforms, rules, discipline, and nasty dangerous weapons.

Dan

December 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

It’s a no brainer,not only could the military benefit from the well educated, but the “elite” academic society could benefit just as much from some of their ilk serving in the military. Not to mention the fact that to do otherwise is hypocritical

Pablo

December 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

If I were to pay for the type and quality of the education I received in the military, I could be easily speaking in tens of thousands of dollars. Our military officers are THE best trained in the world, and they have to be college graduates to begin with. But, who is going to consider joining ROTC in an ivy league school, when all they hear from the mouths of people who would not be able to recognize anything military in nature even if it came and slapped them in the face is that the military is the scum of the earth?

Dan

December 22nd, 2010
9:29 am

Pablo thats why I believe it would be a good idea, it may work towards changing the ignorant attitude you speak of. They are all for tolerance as long as it is their perception