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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Distance deters ROTC participation

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To the Editor:

The goal of Students for ROTC is to remove any and all stigmas, prejudice, bureaucratic obstacles and other disincentives for Brown students to join the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. As a leading member of that organization, I take issue with the assertions made by Julian Park ’12 in his recent editorial (“Keep ROTC out,”Feb. 25). Park states that current University policy in regards to ROTC does not “limit the individual freedoms of … students,” and insinuates that the low rate of participation in the ROTC program at Providence College is due to a lack of interest among Brown students, rather than as a result of University policy. This could not be farther from the truth.

Currently, Brown makes it impractical for even the most interested students to participate in the ROTC program. Lack of adequate transportation is the biggest deterrent. Providence College is three miles away from Brown, and while this might not seem like a very long distance, the majority of Brown students do not have cars on campus. In order to get to Providence College in time for 6 a.m. physical training, a Brown student would need to walk to Kennedy Plaza by 5:20 a.m. Next, he or she would need to take the number 50 bus for 16 stops, then proceed to walk for another 19 minutes before reaching Providence College. This 45-minute one-way trip is the reason why many Brown students — myself included — who have expressed interest in joining ROTC, ultimately do not join.

“The Coalition Against Special Privileges for ROTC” is a misnomer. The unreasonable distance that students must travel to attend ROTC classes, as a result of University policy, is absurd. We, the Students for ROTC, are not advocating for “special privileges,” but rather for the same freedom of access for ROTC that is afforded to other extracurricular programs. Keeping ROTC off-campus unjustly penalizes students in the program, depriving them of valuable time and energy that many industrious Brown students cannot afford to sacrifice.

Andrew Sia ’12

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