Miller ’12 awaits DADT decision

For the third time in three years, Katie Miller ’12 is preparing a college application.

With Tuesday’s release of a Pentagon report on how repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” — a policy that prevents openly gay men and women from serving in the armed forces — might affect the military, Miller said she may return to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Miller, who transferred this fall after coming out as a lesbian cadet, said she always intended to return to the military after college if the policy where repealed — but it is unclear when and if the government may move to dismantle the rule.

Miller hopes to return to West Point after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell;” she expects Congress to repeal DADT within a month, if at all.
Miller hopes to return to West Point after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell;” she expects Congress to repeal DADT within a month, if at all.

Miller said she read all 256 pages of the Pentagon’s report and was not surprised by its conclusions. More than half of active-duty service members polled said they think a repeal would have a “neutral” effect on working relationships within their service units. It also advises that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members not be required to self-report their orientation — a condition gay rights activists support, Miller said.

“It ends the actual debate,” Miller said. “Whatever the opposition throws out there will be anecdotal.”

Miller said she expects Congress to strike down “don’t ask, don’t tell” within the next month, if they do at all. She is working on her application to return to West Point now. The academy will notify her of its decision in May.

If Congress repeals DADT before May, Miller said she may have the opportunity to return.

Theresa Brinkerhoff, media relations chief at West Point, did not comment on the potential impact of “don’t ask, don’t tell” on admissions in an e-mail Thursday. Brinkerhoff said the admissions committee and academic board at West Point will “review all former cadet admissions packets in accordance with current policies and procedures.”

But Eugene Fidell, a senior research scholar and lecturer at Yale Law School, said he does not expect a repeal in the near future.

“We are in an odd moment because we have a lame duck Congress,” Fidell said. “I would hope Congress would mobilize and get this unfinished piece of business done, but I’d be surprised if they do before Congress goes home for good [when the session ends this month].”

Regardless of what may happen to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Miller said she misses the academy — especially the regimen and friends she had there. Miller said she visited the academy several times this fall, despite palpable hostility from some of her ex-classmates.

“It’s pretty much a big sunglasses and a jacket kind of thing,” Miller said.

Miller does not always try to keep a low profile, however: Miller said she was supposed to go to New York City recently to appear on Fox News — the latest in a string of televised interviews — but her “Sex and Gender in Society” professor, Rene Almeling, would not let her reschedule a quiz.

Almeling declined to comment, saying she does not discuss individual students.

Miller said she had been eager to appear on the network, explaining that previous interviewers had been hospitable.

“I feel like Rachel Maddow has coddled me a little and Chris Matthews was tough but kind to me afterward,” Miller said.

Miller also made an appearance at the MTV Music Video Awards this September, where she and three other LGBT ex-service members escorted Lady Gaga while wearing their military dress uniforms. Miller said she received more criticism for appearing there in uniform than she had when she resigned from the academy.

“The military trains us to be detached from emotions,” Miller said, “and it definitely kicked in that entire month.”

In addition to fielding insults from former classmates, Miller said she has had to adjust to an entirely new social and intellectual climate at Yale. While Yalies pursue personal hobbies and passions outside of class, Miller said West Point cadets follow their orders and work themselves to exhaustion.

At Yale, Miller is taking three courses, including George Chauncey’s ’77 GRD ’89 “U.S. Lesbian and Gay History” lecture. Miller also serves on the board of OutServe, a network of underground LGBT active servicemembers.

Still, Miller said, she has pursued other interests besides gay activism at Yale. This fall, she switched majors from sociology to political science and joined the women’s rugby team, which she said is a supportive community.

Mariana Arjona-Soberon ’13, Miller’s teammate and friend, said that since rugby is a contact sport, “you need to know that people have your back.”

Teammate Sophia “Yoshi” Shapiro ’11 said it has been interesting to watch Miller adapt to life at Yale and express herself more freely.

“I think I speak for everyone on the rugby team and Yale when I say I hope she stays,” Shapiro said.

Miller ranked ninth out of 1,157 cadets at West Point when she left this year, and earned a 3.829 grade point average.

Baobao Zhang contributed reporting.

Comments

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    How ironic–and, yet, unsurprising–for Yale to play the pearl before the swine. With the Admissions Committee’s collective back still smarting from several rounds of hearty back-pattery, the target of their slobberfest has all along been preparing her potential West Point return, no matter how remote the chances (and make no mistake: her chances effectively approximate zero). Disdain for dunces, I guess.

    “I came through and I shall return.”

    Boola. Boola.

  • The Anti-Yale

    What’s wrong with Yale providing a safe harbor to a ship in a storm? Rather noble, I’d say.

  • River Tam

    I’d prefer to take a student who’s actually planning on staying, but maybe that’s just me. Yale’s job first and foremost is to produce Yale graduates.

  • wtf

    This is abhorrent, especially because transfer admissions are so much more competitive than freshman admissions. Katie Miller took a spot away from someone who really wanted (and definitely deserved) to go to Yale. She could have picked any other school as her “safe harbor” but chose instead to steal an opportunity from someone else, an opportunity she didn’t even plan on keeping. I understand her reasons for transferring completely, but I disagree with her methods. This is unjust, and as someone who clearly values the military’s ethics, I can’t believe she doesn’t feel this way too.

  • openfaced

    On the other hand, by coming to Yale she draws more attention (national media attention, at that!) to DADT and potentially contributes, if indeed it gets repealed, to its repeal… Who knows how her story would have been received on a national level (if it would have been publicized to the same extent) if she hadn’t gone to a “name” school.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Hospitality isn’t offered conditionally. A ship in danger isn’t asked to commit to a number of years in safe harbor before it is granted entrance.

  • 11

    Admitting her isn’t just a benefit to her… it’s a benefit to all the undergrads that get to meet her and interact with her. And it’s a benefit to Yale bc we get recognition for having an important young activist on campus. I don’t see how admitting her was a bad decision.

  • The Anti-Yale

    11,
    Your points are well taken. It is also an important act of kindness, courage, and leadership on the part of a great University to admit someone who our government’s cruel and unusual policy stamps with the label ‘pariah’.
    PK

  • ReneAlmeling

    The way the author reports my “decline to comment” is misleading. I was not asked about allowing Ms. Miller to reschedule the quiz, but about the military’s policy and the experience of having Ms. Miller in class. Our email exchange is reprinted below.

    My grading policy is designed to ensure fairness to all of the students in my class. It is worth noting that Ms. Miller’s residential Dean also declined to provide a Dean’s Excuse, citing Yale policy covering excused absences.

    Rene Almeling
    Assistant Professor of Sociology

    ________________________________
    From: Juliana Hanle
    To: Rene Almeling
    Date: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 1:39 PM
    Subject: brief Yale Daily News question about Sex and Gender in Society

    Professor Almeling,
    I am covering a YDN article on Katie Miller’s first semester at Yale and the possibly imminent repeal of DADT. I would really appreciate being able to ask you, very briefly, about DADT in the context of your course and what it has been been like having Katie in class this afternoon.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,
    Juliana Hanle
    202-445-9600
    ___________________________________
    From: Rene Almeling
    To: Juliana Hanle
    Date: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:29 PM
    Subject: Re: brief Yale Daily News question about Sex and Gender in Society

    Dear Ms. Hanle,
    Thank you for your interest, but I do not comment about individual students in my classes.
    Best,
    Rene Almeling

  • JacksonJackson

    She went to West Point on her terms, not theirs. She came to Yale, briefly, for her own reasons, and not because she wanted to be a Yalie. I actually worry what she would do as an Army officer — execute her orders, or figure out what’s best for her?

  • The Anti-Yale

    Questioning authority brought about the end of the Viet Nam War. It ended the Iraq WOMD rhetoric. It is now in the process of exposing the Afghanistan blunder. (All, btw, deceptions exacerbated by male hubris.)
    I’m all for Ms. Miller’s independent thinking.

    PK

  • LogicalComments

    @Rene Almeling: “I do not comment about individual students in my classes.” That is all you said. It’s always better to talk to the reporter so you don’t get further quoted out of context. That’s why people talk to Bob Woodward.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “The military trains us to be detached from emotions,” Miller said,

    IT SURE DOES.

    THAT”S WHAT MURDERING PEOPLE TAKES.

    FROM HIS RECENTLY RELEASED (after 100 years) AUTOBIOGRAPHY,
    HERE IS MARK TWAIN’S ASSESSMENT OF THE U. S. MILITARY [circa 1906) after a notorious act of butchery against 900 unarmed Philippino men, women, and children, huddled 200 feet down in the cavity of an inactive volcano:
    ” UNIFORMED CHRISTIAN ASSASSINS.”

    Only the “Christian” has changed.

  • JacksonJackson

    She didn’t “question authority.” She put #1 first at West Point and here.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Who DOESN’T put # 1 first?

    Even Mother Theresa’s so -called ‘altruism’ was an affirmation of HER OWN belief (not someone else’s) in a particular creed.

    Those who sacrifice their lives to save their buddies in wartime battle do so out of a decision by the SELF to be SELFLESS.

    Those who put the team or the squadron or the country FIRST do so because their SELFHOOD (their Number Onehood) dictates it.

    Parental sacrifice?

    That may be chemical, although the desire for immortality may also be a decision, albeit subconscious.

  • JacksonJackson

    Anti-Yale, You are a pretentious idiot.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Not pretending anything. Am quite serious, actually.
    Idiot?

    Idiot as a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs (“person lacking professional skill,” “a private citizen,” “individual”), from ἴδιος, idios (“private,” “one’s own”).[4] In Latin the word idiota (“ordinary person, layman”) preceded the Late Latin meaning “uneducated or ignorant person.”[5] Its modern meaning and form dates back to Middle English around the year 1300, from the Old French idiote (“uneducated or ignorant person”). The related word idiocy dates to 1487 and may have been analogously modeled on the words prophet[6] and prophecy.[7][8] (Wikipedia)

  • The Anti-Yale

    PS:

    Maybe it’s not a big issue for YOU in the secular world, but the debate about altruism has plagued me since my divinity days (1976). I simply do not believe there is such a thing. It is a tautological impossibility; for, it takes a SELF to decide to be SELFLESS.
    If you a SELFLESS because you have no boundaries (i.e have not formed a SELF) and allow others to invade and run your life with imperatives like “patriotism,” “teamism,” “saintism,” that is a different matter.

    PK

    PS I think you actually meant “stuffy bore” not the vague cliche “pretentious idiot”.

  • JacksonJackson

    Anti-Yale’s replies actually make my point. This guy spends his time posting about his Good Old Days on the comments board of a student newspaper at a place where he was not even an undergrad. He wants us to know just how good he is at Greek and Latin. And he talks sh*t about moral philosophy.

    My point about Miller is this: DADT is a stupid and cruel policy. (Stupid because it is bad for the military, and cruel because it excludes people for reasons that should not matter.) But that does not excuse the very cynical, duplicitous approach she has taken. She went to West Point knowing that she could not follow their rules. She came to Yale just to use it as a rest stop on the way back to West Point (she hopes). Anyone who participates in an organization has to, at some level, ask themselves whether they are comfortable with its core mission and values. If not, go elsewhere. It’s an all-volunteer Army. If you don’t like the exclusion of gays, fight it in the political process. Don’t go into the Army claiming you have some moral right to ignore the law because you disagree with it. Now the pretentious idiot will doubtless come back and rant about the Vietnam War or tell us how much Sanskrit he knows. That’s nonsense. The question is whether she is just cynically milking the system for what she wants. I’d say yes. I’d have a lot more respect for her if she had stayed at West Point, neither asking nor telling until they changed the law; or resigning and dedicating herself to an education elsewhere. By the way, nobody ever points out that she resigned at the point where she had gotten as much free education as possible without incurring any obligation to the Army… you stay at West Point past a certain date and if you quit, you are an enlisted man with a 3-year service obligation.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “a place where he was not even an undergrad”

    Fee, Fie, Foe Fum; I smell the blood of an elitist son.

    PS:

    I never took Greek or Latin at YDS. Whether your secular musings provoke them or not, some of us find ethical questions in the issues raised on this secular board.

  • JacksonJackson

    Anti-Yale: neither of my parents even went to college.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Since we are bragging about our impoverished backgrounds: My mother never finished high school, although she became a life-long reader of worthy volumes. her great great grandmother was a Pequot squaw. My father had to leave college after a year because his mother had been killed by a drunk driver, his father had abandoned the family and there was no money left .

    My mother’s family was so poor during the Depression that one Sunday all they could afford for Sunday dinner was stuffing.

    I was born in New Haven ( at what is now Yale-New Haven Hospital). My maternal grandmother lived in a ghetto apartment with no hot water and no elevator on a third floor, two blocks from Yale (Elm and State) until she was 70. I lived the first 19 years of my life in Mt. Carmel and when I returned to graduate school lived as an apartment superintendent for 10 years, three in the wealthy section (Everit Street) and seven in the poor section (Elm and Howe area.) I worked with the first known female prostitute to transmit AIDS in the US for two years after leaving YDS, circa 1984/5.

    Don’t paint me as an elitist pedant engaging in academic one-upsmanship.

    If you want to know my values see my blog at http://mayorofcamelshump.blogspot.com

  • SY10

    How many blogs does Paul Keane have? And how many have just one post and were created solely for the purpose of his ravings in the YDN comments section?

  • The Anti-Yale

    2 for the ravings; 18 for my personal satisfaction.

  • JacksonJackson

    PK really has only one subject: himself.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Guilty as charged. And so does everyone else.

  • The Anti-Yale

    PS
    On an anonymous board, viewers read on two levels: 1) for CONTENT
    2) to INFER the identity of the poster ( or at least the dimensions of his/her character ).

  • JacksonJackson

    PK: No, not everyone is a narcissist. No matter what anyone says anywhere on this board, your reaction is to trumpet your alleged history and accomplishments. Pathetic.

  • The Anti-Yale

    What accomplishments?
    By Mercantilia’s standards I have accomplished nothing. A clothing salesman at Filene’s or a secretary (oops! Administrative Assistant) at Yale makes more money than I do.

    My “history” is factual, beginning 12/28/1944 at Grace-New Haven hospital and, according to deathclock.org, ending 8/7/2025

  • The Anti-Yale

    oops. forgot the hyphen death-clock.org

  • The Anti-Yale

    “No matter what anyone says anywhere on this board, your reaction is to trumpet your alleged history and accomplishments. Pathetic.”

    My first 5 comments on this thread alone (below) do not meet your two criteria (above). You just don’t like me is all.

    That’s life.

    PK

    1. What’s wrong with Yale providing a safe harbor to a ship in a storm? Rather noble, I’d say.
    2. Hospitality isn’t offered conditionally. A ship in danger isn’t asked to commit to a number of years in safe harbor before it is granted entrance.
    3. 11, Your points are well taken. It is also an important act of kindness, courage, and leadership on the part of a great University to admit someone who our government’s cruel and unusual policy stamps with the label ‘pariah’. PK
    4. Questioning authority brought about the end of the Viet Nam War. It ended the Iraq WOMD rhetoric. It is now in the process of exposing the Afghanistan blunder. (All, btw, deceptions exacerbated by male hubris.) I’m all for Ms. Miller’s independent
    5. “The military trains us to be detached from emotions,” Miller said,
    IT SURE DOES. THAT”S WHAT MURDERING PEOPLE TAKES. FROM HIS RECENTLY RELEASED (after 100 years) AUTOBIOGRAPHY, HERE IS MARK TWAIN’S ASSESSMENT OF THE U. S. MILITARY [circa 1906) after a notorious act of butchery against 900 unarmed Philippino men, women, and children, huddled 200 feet down in the cavity of an inactive volcano: ” UNIFORMED CHRISTIAN ASSASSINS.” Only the “Christian” has changed

  • LogicalComments

    OMG, people stop baiting the trolls.

  • BR11

    hahaha

  • The Anti-Yale

    Best wishes for exams.

  • River Tam

    > By the way, nobody ever points out that she resigned at the point where she had gotten as much free education as possible without incurring any obligation to the Army… you stay at West Point past a certain date and if you quit, you are an enlisted man with a 3-year service obligation.

    Not if you get kicked out.

  • yaylie

    Last time I checked, Yale isn’t a country that offers refugees political asylum, and neither is it a springboard for political special interests like the homosexual agenda.

  • 11

    Oh my god.

    “homosexual agenda”??? How much have the republicans brain washed you, exactly?

    The special, special people in this thread need to get a life. GO OUT AND GET A LIFE.