Columbia University leaders vote overwhelmingly to bring ROTC back to campus
The New York Times
April 2, 2011
More than four decades after Columbia University, the heart of the Vietnam-era student movement, banned R.O.T.C. from campus in a moment of 1960s antimilitary rage, the University Senate voted overwhelmingly on Friday to support efforts to bring the group back.
The vote — 51 to 17, with 1 abstention — came in support of a Senate resolution to “explore mutually beneficial relationships with the armed forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.” It followed a series of sometimes venomous campus meetings and found its impetus in President Obama’s signing three months ago of a bill to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality.
In the popular eye, and in history texts, Columbia’s relations with the military have been more or less defined by the decision in 1969 to ban R.O.T.C. The move came at the end of a period of pitched student activism — the Spirit of ’68, as it was known — that included student strikes and the occupation of Hamilton Hall, a main academic building. On Friday, the sense of generational turnabout in the Senate vote was not lost on the students of today.