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Letter: ROTC should not have campus presence

To the Editor:

I appreciate and agree with Herald Opinions Columnist Peter Makhlouf’s ’16 strong opposition to the Brown faculty’s approval of a resolution to establish partnerships with Navy and Air Force ROTC units at Holy Cross.

There is, as he says, an admirable tradition of anti-war and anti-military organizing on the Brown campus. This tradition made a difference in 2011, when the Brown Coalition Against Special Privileges for ROTC exerted effective pressure against the push to overturn the 1969 policy of University neutrality regarding ROTC. That 1969 policy was substantially reaffirmed in the Report of the Committee on the ROTC issued in June 2011. 

Whatever our individual views on the history of U.S. military intervention and current policy may be, we should oppose giving the military an institutional presence at Brown. Such a presence compromises any university’s ability to function as a source of independent critical research and teaching. There are ways of supporting students interested in the military, and of supporting veterans who want to study here, without giving the Pentagon a permanent formal role in our academic programs.

William Keach

Professor of English

Feb. 9


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