Republican State Sen. Rod Adair has made a pre-emptive strike against counter-recruiters and “people like Ward Churchill, other people, [who] will get into an institution and create an irrational and emotional atmosphere and suddenly propose that ROTC be banned, or that recruiters not be allowed on campus,” passing a new law to mandate full military recruiter access to schools.
To view the final version of SB566 regarding military recruiter access on college campuses, click here.
LAS CRUCES — A bill that takes effect June 15 will make New Mexico’s college campuses a bit more welcoming to military recruiters.
Senate Bill 566, authored by Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, requires that university and college campuses allow on-campus recruitment opportunities for the U.S. military.
While there have been no instances of a university prohibiting military recruiters on New Mexico campuses, Adair said it is still necessary to have that protection written into the law.
“I’ve just seen trends around the country where faculty … people like Ward Churchill, other people, will get into an institution and create an irrational and emotional atmosphere and suddenly propose that ROTC be banned, or that recruiters not be allowed on campus,” Adair said. “I think those kinds of things are injurious to the country at large.”
The argument to bar military recruiters from some college campuses is not a new one. The practice became somewhat common during the Vietnam era as a form of protest.
However, the most recent push to ban military recruiters doesn’t stem so much from the war in Iraq as it does from the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A host of universities throughout the U.S., including Yale and Harvard Law School, enacted a ban in 1994 against military recruiters.
In a brief to legislators, Tanya Garcia, from the New Mexico Higher Education Department, wrote that military recruiters were not restricted on the campuses of New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, nor any other institution of higher learning.
“An administrator of the New Mexico Association of Independent Community Colleges stated that, while policies may vary from one public college to the next, no institution bars military recruiters from their campuses,” Garcia wrote.
Garcia added that all state universities and colleges maintain an open-door policy for all recruiters.
However, Adair said while recruiters may not have ever been barred here, there were still reasons to be concerned.
Adair declined to name any particular college or university, but said there were indications that this could have become a problem had it not been for the passage of this bill into law.
“There is always the danger and we have to be vigilant. I’ve seen, not enough to be overtly alarmed, but enough to be fore warned,” he said.