Letters to the Editor

Letter: University should welcome ROTC

By
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To the Editor:

After reading Friday’s article (“Herald Poll: Students more satisfied with advising,” Nov. 6) concerning the results of the recently conducted BDH survey of Brown students, I was disappointed with the choice of title. While student opinion of academic advising is important, I thought the poll results addressed a far more relevant problem that Brown needs to rectify — its lack of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. It would have been more appropriate if The Herald had emphasized this issue with an article heading such as: “Herald Poll: Students want Brown to reinstate ROTC on campus.”

As quoted in the article, “a plurality of students support reinstating the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University.” This is a big ideological shift among the Brown student body from 1971, when ROTC was booted off College Hill due to Vietnam War opposition. However, the new outlook is not unexpected.  

Brown students see the value in military officers graduating with an Ivy League degree, as such an education will have positive implications on future U.S. military policy. Indeed, President Obama agrees that ROTC should not be banned from any campus, as he stated during a visit to Columbia University, and I think it is high time for the faculty and administrators of Brown to come to this realization as well.

Though Brunonians can participate in ROTC through Providence College, zero currently do so. Such a statistic is pitiful, and with the University’s commitment to increasing campus diversity, I would hope Brown might look for ways to add ROTC cadets to the student population.

The status quo, where cadets must transport themselves to PC for 6 a.m. training and where hours of military classes go unrecognized by Brown, is unattractive to ROTC candidates. If Brown does not wish to reinstall an ROTC department, I recommend, at the very least, it lure greater numbers of ROTC cadets to campus by awarding course credit for ROTC classes and offering a shuttle service to Providence College. Brown students have opined and the ball is in the University’s court to fix its dismal ROTC program.

Keith DellaGrotta ’10
Nov. 10