The Corporation instructed the University to create an office to support veterans and students interested in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at its meeting this weekend.
The Corporation also affirmed Simmons’ recommendation to maintain the University’s campus ban on ROTC programs and endorsed her recommendation that the University explore ways for Brown students to participate in ROTC programs at nearby campuses. Simmons released her recommendations in an email to the campus community Oct. 19.
Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron said the Corporation’s “thoughtful and ultimately beneficial” decision reinforced Simmons’ message of expanding opportunities for students interested in ROTC. “We should be thinking about the kind of support we offer servicemen and women on campus, and this office is an outgrowth of that,” Bergeron said.
Details of the new office have not yet been determined, but Bergeron said it will be an extension of the current ROTC liaison within the Office of the Dean of the College.
Jonathan Tollefson ’15, a member of the Brown Coalition Against Special Privileges for ROTC, said he thinks the decision to expand support for ROTC is “undercutting the University’s stance against discrimination as a whole.”
“You can’t really get around the fact that participation in the military is categorically denied to transgendered individuals,” he said.
Andrew Sia ’12, a member of the Students for ROTC organization, said he was “pretty disappointed” in the Corporation’s decision not to lift the ban on ROTC. The University could have been the first in Rhode Island to provide Naval or Air Force ROTC programs, he said. “We could have been a leader and improved our state’s relations with the military.” Sia said he approved of the decision to create a ROTC office but questioned its usefulness.
“I’m glad they’re making at least a little bit of effort with the office,” Sia said. “But if students have to travel and make a two-hour round trip to (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) , for instance, I’d be really interested to see how the office can help students participate.”