On the surface, the issue facing the Columbia University Senate is whether to suspend the University’s non-discrimination policy to facilitate the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. An email calling on Columbia alumni to sign a petition intended to influence the Senate’s vote said,
Although people have different reasons for opposing the return of ROTC, this petition focuses narrowly on the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If reinstated, the ROTC will become a formal Columbia program that is allowed, indeed mandated, to discriminate against gay men, lesbians, and bisexual.
But the deeper conflict is over the relationship between military recruitment and our university’s and colleges. Unlike the CUNY students who have organized and taken direct action to remove recruiters from their campus, Columbia has barred them and, after a yearlong study, is considering inviting them back.
On April 5, the Columbia Law School Center for the Study of Law & Culture along with Outlaws: the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Students’ Association will host "Guarding the University: A Teach-In on ROTC, JAG, and the Relationship Between the Military and the Academy." The teach-in – scheduled for Tuesday, April 5th from 5 to 8 p.m. in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102 – is open to the public and the press.
The University Senate expects to address the issue at its last plenary meeting of this academic year on May 6.