Letter: With DADT gone, plenty of objections to ROTC remain

by Danny Colligan

Dear Editor,

Kurt Chirbas’ article in yesterday’s Daily contains a misleading narrative, which goes something like, “Since DADT was the only obstacle to Stanford devoting its resources to a ROTC program, and DADT has been repealed, now we can talk about accommodating the military” (“Debate marches on,” Jan. 5). In fact, DADT was never a reason for the expulsion of ROTC from campus.

Imani Franklin, being a member of the ROTC ad hoc committee, should know this but doesn’t appear to. To quote from the committee’s own document: “The majority [of the 1968-9 committee] felt that the personal conduct standards of the three services ‘can seriously limit the student’s free participation in all facets of intellectual inquiry and legal political activity.’” It concluded that a formal, on-campus ROTC program was inconsistent with the definition of Stanford University as “a community whose members…have a primary commitment to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, in an environment of free intellectual activity.” Plainly, this has nothing to do with DADT.

Furthermore, I wonder if the committee even looked at the letter that I wrote to it or if it went straight to the trash bin. I raised several points that would pose a problem for ROTC’s return: 1) ROTC violates a student’s right to confidential counseling and advising; 2) ROTC restricts academic freedom by prematurely determining a career path and major for students; 3) undergraduates should not have their major determined by those who fund their education, as ROTC demands; 4) the power to set up teaching facilities on campus in exchange for scholarships sets a dangerous precedent for academic control of the University; 5) the necessity of the current constitution of the U.S. armed forces is in doubt. (I have an upcoming article in the Stanford Progressive elaborating on these points, but one can read it now at rotc.stanford.edu.)

I repeat, these are the objections that appear in my letter only. Apparently others, such as SSQL, also have their own issues with Stanford accommodating the military. I don’t suppose Stanford would want to be known as the university that is oh-so-progressive on gay rights but is all too willing to throw transgender students under the bus?

The Daily’s graphic of a soldier on a multicolored backdrop is entirely appropriate for the situation. Perhaps the U.S. military should paint rainbows on their cruise missiles so that when the families of the strike victims discover the charred bodies of their loved ones, they can reflect on the lofty ideals of egalitarianism and humanity that now permeate the armed forces.

Danny Colligan

President emeritus, Stanford Says No to War

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