President Ruth Simmons has convened a committee to review Brown’s policy towards the Reserve Officer Training Corp program, according to a University press release from mid-January. In an e-mail Tuesday morning to the student body, Undergraduate Council of Students President Diane Mokoro ’11 wrote that the committee will be chaired by Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and invited students to apply for two seats reserved for undergraduates on the committee.
According to the e-mail, Simmons convened the committee to make recommendations on the future of military education and recruitment on campus.
The recent repeal of the United States military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy “has resulted in much conversation regarding the place of military education on campuses across the country,” Mokoro wrote.
“There have been whispers about it for at least the last year,” Mokoro told The Herald. “The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was maybe the last straw.”
One of the committee’s primary goals will be to determine whether or not it would be possible to reinstate ROTC at Brown “under terms that would be appropriate today,” according to a statement of purpose sent to Mokoro by Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron.
Two seats on the committee are reserved for undergraduate students, who will be selected by a board of UCS members.
“We don’t want somebody who hasn’t engaged with the issue at all,” Mokoro told The Herald. “At the same time I’m not sure that the perfect candidate is somebody who’s served in the military and has all that experience… I don’t want them to be questioned for bias.”
“I want somebody who’s relatively in the middle,” she added.
Mokoro said the committee will serve as a way to gauge the feelings of the Brown community and will issue a recommendation on the reinstatement of ROTC. “I see the committee as an attempt to review the culture of Brown and how it relates to the culture of ROTC,” Mokoro said.
ROTC was removed from Brown’s campus in 1969 by a faculty resolution, and the Corporation reaffirmed this decision in 1981 after a review of the policy. In 2002, Professor of English Paul Armstrong, who was then dean of the College, reiterated that students could not receive credit for ROTC political science courses.
Although Brown does not currently have a branch of the ROTC, students may join the Patriot Battalion Army ROTC at Providence College.
Universities around the country have reconsidered their policies on ROTC and recruitment on campus following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Administrators at Columbia and Harvard have issued statements applauding the repeal and stating they will work toward greater cooperation between universities and the military, according to a Jan. 7 article in The Dartmouth.