There’s a good piece up on “Business Insider” about the climate for military programs on campus like ROTC and NROTC. The piece, written by Yeganeh Torbati, is entitled “On Ivy League campuses, military brass find a warmer welcome” and we figured we’d share it with our readers. As our loyal readers know, Ivy Coach is firmly committed to helping veterans of our United States armed forces earn admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams after their dutiful service. In fact, we work with select veterans each and every year on a pro bono basis. We used to help other underrepresented groups too on a pro bono basis but we decided some time ago that we wished to devote all of our pro bono resources to the men and women who courageously serve.
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was shameful, discriminatory legislation against LGBT Americans. But now that it’s off the books, we’re sure glad Ivy League colleges have embraced the military on their campuses. Students interested in serving, and those who’ve already served, benefit these schools immeasurably by their presence on these campuses, by their unique perspectives and experiences.
Anyhow, the piece up on “Business Insider” focuses on hostility such programs encountered years ago — at schools like Yale — that led to the ends of these programs. But the programs are back at so many highly selective schools now and they’re back in full force (particularly after the end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy). As detailed in the piece (and Secretary Carter’s alma mater is Yale), “On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited his alma mater for the first commissioning since the Vietnam era of cadets and midshipmen who participated in the program for all four years of college. The ceremony is the latest evidence of a sea change in the attitude of elite universities, which shunned the military for four decades in part because of its controversial ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy for gay personnel. Now they have come to realize that their graduates should have as much influence on a major instrument of American power as they do in the halls of the White House or the trading desks of Wall Street.” We do wholeheartedly agree!
And what kind of growth have these programs experience on Ivy League campuses? As reported by Torbati for “Business Insider,” “The Navy and Air Force ROTC programs returned to Yale in 2012, after the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ ROTC has made similar inroads across the Ivy League and on other elite campuses. A Navy ROTC branch is set to open at Brown University this fall. There were 122 Navy ROTC midshipmen spread across six Ivy League campuses in 2016, compared to 53 at three Ivy League schools in 2011, according to Navy data. There were 42 Air Force ROTC cadets in the Ivy League in 2016, compared to 28 in 2011, according to Air Force data. The class of 2016 at Yale includes 10 Navy midshipmen and four Air Force cadets out of 1,300 graduates.” This is progress indeed!
Ivy Coach salutes these Ivy League schools. And we in particular salute Brown University for their new NROTC program. We’ve been critical of Brown’s record in the past with respect to those wishing to serve and those who have served. But this is a step in the right direction indeed. Ivy League colleges benefit from having such programs on their campuses. They benefit from having veterans on their campuses. These are the very kinds of students who add unique, wonderfully diverse perspectives to class discussions. So way to go Brown and way to go to the other seven Ivy League colleges for this continued progress.