Columbia University Leaders Vote To Drop ROTC Ban

NEW YORK (AP) — Student and faculty leaders at Columbia University have voted to welcome the military’s ROTC program back to campus four decades after it was banned during the Vietnam War peace movement.

The University Senate voted 51 to 17 with one person abstaining Friday to “explore mutually beneficial relationships with the armed forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.”

The vote was reported in The New York Times.

Columbia is the latest in a string of Ivy League schools to consider overtures to ROTC following the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which many universities considered discriminatory.

Harvard University officials announced last month that they would formally recognize the Naval ROTC 40 years after the program was banned, and Yale and Brown universities are considering lifting their bans. ROTC has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

Columbia banned ROTC in 1969 amid student outrage over the Vietnam War. The move came during a period of campus unrest that included student strikes and the occupation of a main academic building.

Militant members of Columbia’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society helped form the radical Weathermen.
At least one former Weatherman was critical of Columbia’s decision to bring ROTC back.

“The U.S. armed forces are a blight on the planet,” Brian Flanagan told the Times. “I don’t support soldiers — I think they’re war criminals. So obviously, I’m against ROTC coming back.”

Columbia’s University Senate, which helps set university policy, voted 53 to 10 six years ago to keep ROTC out. The decisive issue this time was the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • militaryoffcampus

    Actually, the U.S. military officers who are trained at U.S. universities have been violating the human rights of civilians in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years. So Columbia University should not begin to institutionally collaborate again with the U.S. war machine by doing the kind of training of military officers on Columbia’s campus that is already taking place at other U.S. university campuses. Perhaps the individual students at Columbia who wish to enroll in an ROTC should just transfer to U.S. university that already has a ROTC program–or just apply to West Point?

    • Lea C.

      Maybe you should just know what the hell you’re talking about-or just shut up?

  • RNYC

    Careful! Columbia might be accused of actually doing something patriotic.

  • Robert Senn

    colubie you did not want us back in the 60s but now you want us STICK IT UP YOUR BIG FAT BUTTS THANK YOU

  • John Dalton

    Brian Flanagan:

    The radical nature of your comment is embarrassing and explains why you are not part of any major… any major anything actually–you don’t seem to have any qualifications or credibility.

    CBS New:

    Given Brian Flanagan’s absolute irrelevance, the inexplicable feature of this article is your motivation to quote him and create the false impression that he is now or ever was the center of a discourse regarding the ROTC.

    Be mindful of the fact that there are readers online who read… and think.

  • Justan Okello

    So, It’s still OK to violate other’s rights if they’re not on the left? Brian Flanagan told the Times. “I don’t support soldiers — I think they’re war criminals” Great quote coming from someone who advocated killing innocent people because they didn’t agree with his anti-war beliefs…

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