This year, Wesleyan has its first ROTC trainees ever – Marty Buxton ’12 and Lowell Wood ’12. According to an Argus article, Wesleyan has never had an ROTC program because of lack of interest. The students travel to UConn and Sacred Heart for their classes.
Despite our anti-war slant – I remember seeing the “Divestment Office” tent next to Admissions as a prefrosh – Buxton and Wood said that students and professors have been supportive and respectful of their service.
The ROTC program has been praised for inspiring leadership in students, and its payment of college tuition. However it is also fraught with controversy – in my high school, parents could sign a waiver against having ROTC contact their students and ROTC recruiters were eyed with suspicion when they visited our cafeteria.
A New York Times article in the Education Life section shows that renewed interest has become a trend on many college campuses – however, unlike Wesleyan, these elite schools – Harvard, Yale, Brown, Tufts, among others – outright banned the presence of ROTC in the 1960s. Some of the schools try to support students that take ROTC courses at other campuses, and provide transportation. Harvard, however, still has a strict ban and does not provide transportation. President Drew Faust says that the reason for the ban’s continuance is not pacifism; the army’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy does not align with the university’s anti-discrimination stand.
Should these schools lift the ROTC ban? Discuss.