Widgets Magazine


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by overtly anti-military groups in response to the loss of their excuse that ROTC should not be allowed until DADT is repealed.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

  • Zoe Brain

    As long as someone who is Transgendered or Disabled can pass the exacting physical fitness requirements of the Stanford Cardinals, of course they can compete!

    Just because someone is disabled by severe dyslexia doesn’t mean they can’t be a running back. Just because someone was born with mixed XY/XXY chromosomes and stunted genitalia doesn’t mean they can’t kick a field goal.

    The discrimination in the US Military is not based on medical issues. That’s a separate area. No, Intersexed and Transsexual people are administratively discharged, even though they may pass all physical and mental tests of efficiency. It’s not what they do, it’s what they are that is unacceptable.

    Nonetheless I believe the ROTC should return to Stanford for the good of the nation. The US Officer corps has been thoroughly infiltrated by default by the most extreme religious conservatives, Many are openly Dominionist, seeking the replacement of a secular form of government with a theocracy. Unless more liberal in thought, if not in the political sense, officer candidates are brought in from places other than Liberty University and similar institutions, we have a problem.

    And to Dustin Barfield, one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children – thanks for past and future services.

  • Danny Colligan

    You seem to think that opposing ROTC setting up a military base on campus is a referendum on the personal characteristics of ROTC cadets. It’s not; it’s about opposition to militarism as an institution. That’s a fundamental distinction you fail to make. I really don’t know how many times I have to say this.

  • Eva Kaus

    Dear Mr. Barfield,
    I do not know your rank so I do not know how to address you. You have my respect for your service. You honor this great nation with your sacrifice. I to served many years in the US Armed forces. I was on active duty in the 101st ABN Div (Air Assault) and was then commissioned in the USNR, finally going into S2 status as a Lieutenant. I know you honor my 12 years of service as well.
    I am also a transsexual. I am unable to be part of a military to which I gave 12 years (I left on my own), defending a country that would allow those I protected to deny me a job, housing or use of public accommodations. I contiue to honor this country with my stance on basic human and civil rights.
    The ROTC should NOT be allowed back on campus. Your arguments are the ones that are weak and transparent. The schools stands for equality for all, including those who do not conform to the gender binary. As Ms. Brain stated, if you can meet the qualifications for the position, you should be hired. Any organization that declines to stand by those values should be refused access to the school. While I do accept that we, as a nation, need to dilute the theocratic thought of the military, I am concerned about rewarding an organization that openly discriminates against those fully capable of service. There are many groups barred from use of the campus. I suspect that all, or most, of them are groups that discriminate in some fashion or another.
    I suggest that you not continue to wrap yourself in the flag of a venerable instutition. You say, “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 disagree in the strongest terms. It is not about the men and women of the Armed Forces. It is about the institutional policies of the Armed Forces that have put qualified LBG Americans with desperately needed skils out of service to their nations and continue that policy with “T” Americans. Hiding behind the servicemembers is weak and transparent.

  • Deceitful

    Dustin, your characterization of ROTC as a “student group” is highly deceitful. No one is arguing that ROTC cadets shouldn’t “exist” on our campus, or that they shouldn’t form a voluntary student organization, or that they shouldn’t enjoy all the benefits that other groups of students who register with the ASSU enjoy.

    The prospect of the return of ROTC is about the establishment of a US military training facility, and opposition to the establishment of such a facility is not based on the characteristics of ROTC cadets or any of the other straw men you use in your article.

  • Fact Check

    “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.”

    I’ll speak to the question of transgender athletes, given that I’m familiar with it: Your statement is blatantly false, given that transgender athletes /are/ allowed to compete on the Stanford Cardinal Football team.