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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Alums in service support ROTC reinstatement

Monday, March 14, 2011

To the Editor:

As just some of the proud Brown alums who are serving or have served in the military, we were heartened to learn that the University is considering modifying its Reserve Officers’ Training Corps policy. We were especially excited when President Ruth Simmons organized the Brown Committee on ROTC as a sign that Brown, like our sister institutions, was honestly exploring the options available. We welcome this conversation and believe the time to reinstate ROTC on Brown’s campus has arrived.

As stated in the Plan for Academic Enrichment, Brown aspires to ensure all students are “offered the best education possible through opportunities to craft their own educational paths.” Without question, Brown offers an incredible range of opportunities to its undergraduates, but this alone is not what makes the University unique. Rather, Brown is distinctive because of the unparalleled freedom the University gives students to make their own decisions. We believe Brown can better live up to this aspiration by allowing students to decide for themselves whether to participate in ROTC.

We are better people because of our service in the military, and we believe Brown’s students, and indeed the commonweal, will benefit from increased opportunities for Brunonians to serve. We know from experience the challenges and opportunities for development that come with military service. We know the import of the values of selflessness, discipline and determination that military service instills. Moreover, we believe the qualities that are the hallmark of a Brown graduate — passion, intellectual curiosity, diversity of perspectives — benefit the military as an organization. Allowing ROTC to return to campus would provide additional opportunities to students and be a step toward more fully achieving Brown’s mission to “serve the community, the nation and the world.”

We understand that, like almost all decisions, there are benefits and costs to be weighed. However, after following this issue for years, we encourage the University to reinstate ROTC on campus immediately. Surely, Brown can find the right partnership with our nation’s military, the way other schools have, that affords Brunonians the highest level of opportunities while enhancing Brown’s unique curriculum. No one is more qualified than the individual students to determine whether participation in ROTC is the right decision as they chart their own educational path. Let us live up to our values and once again demonstrate our trust in the individual by allowing them to make that choice.

Ever True,

Doug Kechijian ’02

Charles Pollak ’03

Eric Neuman ’04

Jyri Wilska ’04

Scott Quigley ’05

Matthew Goracy ’06

Michael McBride ’06

Nicholas Morrell ’06

Evan Pettyjohn ’06

Christopher Rigali ’06

William Wilson ’06

Christopher Pollak ’08

Alexander Fye ’09

John Noh ’10

Sean Quigley ’10, former Herald opinions columnist

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