Institutional Ethics: ROTC, Yale, and the T in LGBT

I’ve always thought that being Vice President of the U.S. is the best job in America; there’s a six-figure salary, great healthcare benefits, and an excellent pension plan (and only three constitutional duties, to boot)—what’s not to love?

One of the more important tasks a prospective VP has to complete is to argue with his rival in an internationally televised debate (though, in general, the outcome rarely has much of an effect on the presidential race itself). This year’s spectacle, however, felt different—the two men both appeared more presidential than their running mates. Whatever your political orientation, I’m sure that we can agree that the proceedings threw the opposing parties into stark relief, and also that the incompatibilities in ideology were clearly articulated.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to my point: Military law as embodied by the return of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to Yale—which discriminates against transgendered individuals—is similarly incompatible with Yale’s stated nondiscrimination policies.

ROTC has had a long and storied history at Yale. The first units were established in 1926, just a few years after the end of World War I. ROTC left the university in 1972, amid the radicalism and anti-military sentiments of the Vietnam War era. It had remained banned in more recent years in opposition to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy that prohibited gays from serving openly; however, when President Barack Obama repealed that law, the Yale Corporation saw fit to officially allow ROTC units back on campus.

It now appears, however, that the administration forgot to read the fine print: though DADT did allow gays to serve openly in the military, it didn’t affect the existing policy that bans transgender individuals from service. Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia Votes to Bring Back ROTC

Rejoice, muscular patriot types, for this is not an April Fool’s joke: as of today, Columbia is one step closer to restoring ROTC to campus. After months of deliberation, the University Senate has voted 51-17 to approve a resolution to invite the training program back. According to the Spec, the only thing now standing between hipsters and hot people in uniform is the military, which still has to agree to start a program at Columbia. But our hopes are high, because frankly, we think those drug fiends and grouchy antisocial ex-smokers could use a little boot camp.

RagTime: WHOAH, WHOAH, WHOAH Edition

Fox News Talks Sex, Ivy League Style; Students Everywhere Cringe in Horror

Fox News, you never get old.

At least, not here at Columbia, you don’t.

You’ve criticized everything from our dangerous liberalism to our purported “heckling” of a student-veteran during ROTC hearings (which you reported on twice and switched around the wording the second time to…keep us on our toes?). You never fail to amaze us with your insight, and we’re so glad you like us as much as we like you. And we’re especially glad that you finally decided to get down and dirty with us, because it’s been a while since that little S&M story.

And by that we mean, it’s really flattering that you think we’re cool enough to be having sex.

It all began with this video, and this video for some reason or another began with a discussion of out-of-state voting for college students. Next came the transition into you-know-what, which was as appropriately awkward as the thought of intercourse between two Columbia students: “Besides voting,” said the anchor, “something else college students do on campus: They hook up.”

Read the rest of this entry »

RagTime: Change is Difficult Edition