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Op-Ed: To those who would seek to prevent the return of ROTC at Stanford

I am a United States Marine and a two time combat veteran. I am a proud member of our nation’s incredibly brave and honorable Armed Forces, and many of my dearest friends are part of the ROTC program, which on its own provides another very valuable and diverse aspect to our school. As such, I must say that I would never so much as consider such a shameful insult to the men and women who have committed themselves, often at the mortal risk to their very lives, to the defense of our nation’s interests — not the least of which is our freedom from tyranny and oppression.

I would also encourage one to consider the impact that it makes on a student’s well being and self esteem to know that, though they commit themselves to such an incredible sacrifice for the good of a group of people, that same group wishes to discredit them and refuses to acknowledge even their right to be a part of the campus. And if it is the inclusion of such groups that you seek, is it the best idea to keep open minded, intelligent students like those at Stanford from serving in the Armed Forces, where they will likely have much more impact on such policies?

I understand your argument about transgender and disabled persons and the military, and I disagree with it. The argument about disabled persons is particularly weak given the nature of the job done by military personnel. And as for the argument about both groups, I hope that you will also be voting to disallow such groups as the Stanford Cardinal Football team from representing us as well until they allow transgender and disabled persons to compete. And yes, it is very much the same thing, with the exception that in the military, lives are on the line, not points.

The support of ROTC on campus should not affect the well being of these groups any more than so many of the campus programs you already so fervently support, and by toeing this line, you are buying into an argument that has been crafted by overtly anti-military groups in response to the loss of their excuse that ROTC should not be allowed until DADT is repealed. It is a weak, transparent argument and is unfairly and unevenly levied against our brave men and women in uniform by those who would prefer to see our country be without them.
I hope for the return of this valuable, diverse, honorable, patriotic and committed student group to our campus along with all the benefits it will bring to our student body, including exposure to different and important viewpoints, to people who have committed themselves to a very different and meaningful lifestyle, and the prospect of closing the understanding gap between our Armed Forces and our civilian citizens, creating a more understanding and productive society. I for one believe that we owe it to the students who commit themselves to our nation’s defense to, at the very least, acknowledge them as an equal part of the campus, and I welcome the benefit that such a group will bring to our vibrant, diverse campus. I will be voting for ROTC and I hope you will, too.

Dustin Barfield ’12

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