According to a resolution recently presented to the Academic Senate, 17 UCSB professors want to ban military recruiters from campus and review the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Their stated reason: The Defense Dept.’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy discriminates against homosexuals and violates an individual’s First Amendment right to discuss his or her sexual orientation.
However, at least one of the resolution’s signers, Charles Bazerman, offers a different rationale for the proposal. He told the Nexus earlier this week that the resolution is also an anti-war effort.
Call us a bunch of neo-cons, but whether or not one agrees with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy or the war in Iraq, students at UCSB should have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not they want to associate with a military recruiter.
By assuming the average college student can’t say, “Sorry, not interested” to a recruiter who may approach, the Academic Senate insults our intelligence and, ironically, infringes on the same individual rights it purports to be protecting by asking that recruiters be banned in the first place.
As far as forming a committee to review “… whether ROTC and affiliated programs meet campus principles of nondiscrimination,” fine, but only as long as such a study doesn’t bear the same ulterior motives as the Senate’s proposal to ban recruiters – an unlikely prospect given the likely political leanings of anyone wishing to see such a regulation passed.
The mishandled war in Iraq has taken a heinous toll on young American lives for dubious benefit – an opinion with which reasonable people can disagree. But for an institution of higher learning to impose a particular viewpoint – which the adoption of this Academic Senate resolution would accomplish – is an unwanted mix of politics and education.