Taking a break today to give Ullr a chance to replace the snow I scraped off the mountain yesterday, I’ll take a chance to answer some email:
My thanks to Eric Chen, former spokesman for Advocates for Columbia ROTC, who recently wrote inquiring about my views regarding his university’s treatment of ROTC and the broader issue of some elite campuses’ active shunning of the military.
Columbia University—and many other elite schools—of course objects to DADT. This is the chief reason cited for banning the military from recruiting on campuses (also why they bar ROTC). The military has an unacceptable policy toward gays, the logic goes, so just as any other prospective employer with an anti-gay policy, the US Armed Forces are not welcome. Sounds reasonable.
On the other hand, the federal government has decided (through the Solomon Amendment), “Fine, then we won’t give you funds.” This also sounds fair. Eric, an Army veteran himself (thank you, Eric) and current student at Columbia, wanted to know my opinion “particularly as gay servicemember”.
There will be many opportunities to discuss DADT and Solomon (in fact, SCOTUS is currently reviewing it). However, the more I researched this specific issue, the less I thought it had to do with either the military, homosexuals, or DADT. To me it sounds more like Columbia, et. al., wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Look at it this way: If a university is receiving grants from a company or organization it finds repugnant, should they expect the right to deny the company’s recruiters on its campus while at the same time demanding a continuation of the funding? How is this different?
If the faculty of Columbia or any other institution is so offended by what the federal government does (in any way or for whatever reason), they should have the courage of their convictions and put-up or shut-up. Criticize that policy all you want, but when you come hand outstretched to the federal government, you should expect to follow their rules if you want the funding. If Columbia University doesn’t want the federal government on its campus, fine. But they shouldn’t expect federal dollars.