Faculty members will vote tomorrow on a resolution that seeks to ban military recruiters from the UCSB campus.
During a special meeting of the Academic Senate, which will be held Friday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Girvetz 1004, the senators will vote on a proposal written by Thomas Scheff, sociology professor emeritus. The senate’s vote, however, is only a recommendation that will be sent to Chancellor Henry Yang, who will ultimately make the final decision on the proposal. Arguing that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy conflicts with the university’s rules against discrimination, Scheff presented his resolution to the Academic Senate in January after collecting signatures from 17 professors.
“I realized that other kinds of recruitment on this campus are governed by the policy of nondiscrimination,” Scheff said. “It’s very clearly written that anyone recruiting for people must adhere to the nondiscrimination policy. Nondiscrimination against homosexuals is clearly stated in the policy.”
The university’s nondiscrimination policy states that the university will not discriminate against – among other things – race, religion, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation in its employment and admissions practices. It also states that groups will not be discriminated against in university programs and activities. University administration, faculty, student governments, residence halls and apartments, programs and all groups operating under the authority of the UC Regents are governed by the policy.
Scheff said he believed the upcoming vote would be close. He said although he will be attending the meeting, he does not know how many other supporters will show up.
“I’m hoping that there will be a good turnout at this meeting and that there is enough faculty there to discuss the matter,” Scheff said. “I’m not sure about Chancellor Yang’s actions because it’s still hard to say. I sense that he might be sympathetic to the resolution.”
Faculty, however, are not the only ones in support of Scheff’s resolution. Last Tuesday, Associated Students’ Student Commission on Racial Equality (SCORE) organized a rally where roughly 20 students arrived unannounced to Yang’s office and demanded he sign a petition pledging his support of Scheff’s resolution.
Fernando Ramirez, a member of SCORE and a fourth-year political science and Chicano studies major, said there is considerable student support for the ban, as over 18 other campus organizations have signed a petition in support of the proposal.
“SCORE’s concern is that the students feel safe on campus, but some students have told us that recruiters on campus make them feel harassed,” Ramirez said. “Many of the students who came to us were wearing their shirts that advertised their homosexuality at the time of the harassment. Recruitment on campus is in noncompliance with nondiscrimination policy and we’re asking the university to fairly act on the policy.”
Ramirez said representatives of SCORE would be present at Friday’s meeting.
“We’re encouraging all faculty to go and support student safety, but we anticipate that no matter which way it goes it will be petitioned to a campuswide vote,” he said.
Not all students favor the measure. Sally Marois, College Republicans acting chair, is leading some students in opposition to the measure.
Marois said that because UCSB is publicly funded, government issued policy such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be applicable to campus.
“Even though it may be a human rights issue and it would be nice to integrate people openly, there is a compelling government interest in keeping the military efficient,” Marois said. “In some ways, that is more important than making it look diverse or making everyone happy within it. But the homosexual community is not alone – tall, overweight, disabled – the military has to break all identities down because we need to be protecting our soldiers first; then we can work on everything else. You have to look at it as a bigger picture when changing it.”
Marois said the College Republicans felt those supporting the ban were attempting to confuse the issue at hand with accusations of harassment.
“The allegations by the queer community that they are harassed by recruiters seem like a sub-issue that may need to be dealt with by properly looking at if they are actually being harassed,” Marois said. “If they are, it is a bit of a problem, but banning recruiters is not the answer.”