‘Don’t ask’ repeal could ‘lighten task’ for Stanford’s ROTC committee

The Senate voted 65-31 on Saturday to repeal the 17-year-old federal policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which barred openly gay men and women from serving in the military. The ban, which conflicts with several universities’ anti-discrimination policies, was considered a major roadblock to bringing back an ROTC program to Stanford.

“I’m delighted by the repeal by Congress of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” wrote psychology professor Ewart Thomas, the chair of the Faculty Senate’s ad hoc committee on ROTC, in an e-mail to The Daily. “I have a feeling that this repeal will lighten the task of the Faculty Senate’s ROTC committee as we discuss whether, and in what form, Stanford University should expand its relations with the Reserve Officer Training Corps programs within the U.S. military.”

The repeal does not necessarily guarantee recognition of ROTC by the university. The committee recently asked for feedback from the community on ROTC, and will not report its findings until the spring.

“The impact so far of DADT on campus debates has been multifaceted and I expect that the debate in the months following DADT repeal will be almost as contentious,” Thomas added.

The Faculty Senate formed the committee to explore the ROTC issue in March, but from its inception, some encouraged the committee not to let its findings depend on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Others said the repeal would be a prerequisite to the program’s return. Thomas said not all opposition to ROTC is rooted in the federal policy, and that concerns about continued discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military after the repeal could still exist.

But the repeal — which President Obama is expected to sign — eliminates some of the committee’s concerns, according to Thomas.

“To the degree that evidence and arguments can be adduced to suggest a decrease in discrimination within the U.S. military following DADT repeal, and to the degree that the repeal does indeed induce opposers to become supporters of ROTC expansion, the next phase of the Stanford-ROTC debate will contain fewer themes, and this, I hope, will lighten our task,” he said.

– Kate Abbott

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  • An Khe ’69

    This should be no suprise to anyone. The U.S. military has been lowering the standards for quite a few years now for reasons known only to them. Educational standards, especially on the enlisted side are waived with regularity. Criminal records are often ignored and not investigated with regularity. The caveat here is that there are some of the finest combat units in history in the U.S. military today,without peer , however there is also a dark side to the military, crime,gangs,poverty, the usually cross section of socity’s ills, which is not remedied by adequate discipline. Shortly after the Vietnam war, the military became viewed by some as a testing ground for social engineering. Example, I was an officer in the Air Defense Artillery and was held to a certain standard in the APRT-(army physical readiness test), which meant I had to do a certain amount of sit-up,push-ups and complete a mile run in a certain amount of time. This was done in order to evaluate my capability to perform to standard in my job-MOS. At some time in the ’80s, my job (MOS) became available to female officers, which was fine with me, however, the female officers that held the same MOS were held to a lower standard on the APRT. Why? Male and female officers held the same job,performed the same tasks so logically, if male officers needed to be at a prescribed level of physical fitness to effectively carry out the missions, logically female officers should have needed to be at the same level for the same tasks. It didn’t make any sense to me then,and it doesn’t make any sense to me now. It’s not a game out there,people die. I’m not sure why this is a big deal. I can tell you this though, if there still was a draft, there would be an entirely different perspective on this matter.

  • GI nostalgia

    You better bug out,
    you better get high,
    draw your weapon I’m telling you why,
    Ho Chi Minh is coming to town

  • Keith Johnson ’69

    I’m pleased to learn that there is a faculty committee reviewing the ROTC question.

    My recent experience with our sevice personnel leads me to believe, with much concurrance, that we now have the best military that we have ever had.

    Todyas paper reports that 23 % of the applicants fail to meet necessary standards. I believe that is reflective of teh miliary’s standards, and to some degree, underperformance of our educational system.

    I beleive that Stanford has an obligation, as do we all, to be “good American citizens”. This would include educating our future military leaders, and giving its students those opportunities.