Yalies support ROTC return, survey says

A new survey by the Yale College Council reveals substantial student support for ROTC’s return to campus.

Of the 1,346 undergraduates surveyed this November, almost 70 percent support the establishment of an ROTC unit on campus. Nearly 300 respondents who are not in ROTC expressed interested in participating in the program, and almost 100 said they would consider joining ROTC if a unit were established at Yale.

Almost 40 percent of students said that they would welcome ROTC back at Yale regardless of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military policy preventing gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military which was formally repealed by President Barack Obama Wednesday. Another 30 percent of students said they would support ROTC’s return if the policy were repealed.

But according to the survey, 16.5 percent of students oppose ROTC’s return to Yale. Those students cited moral opposition to the United States military or the military’s “War on Terror.” Others said military culture would not fit into Yale’s campus culture.

The YCC concluded its report on the results by urging administrators to meet with officials in the Department of Defense and discuss “the feasibility of establishing a unit on campus.”

This Monday, University President Richard Levin announced plans to send General Counsel Dorothy Robinson, Secretary Linda Lorimer and Yale College Dean Mary Miller to meet with military officials early next year to discuss military interest in starting an ROTC unit at Yale.

Currently, Yalies who wish to participate in ROTC must travel to off-campus units at the University of New Haven or the University of Connecticut in Storrs.


  • Skeptic

    Hmmm.. I wonder how appointments of the “Professors of Military Science” will be handled? Through the usual Appointments and Promotions Process of Yale University, or simply by fiat from the Feds? Which distribution requirement will courses such as “The Squad in the Attack” fulfill? Maybe “Map Reading” will be a new QR gut? And, of course will “Military Science” be a full major, or just a secondary concentration area?

    Seriously, these issues were the substantive reasons that ROTC withdrew (not “kicked out”) of the Ivy League schools a generation ago.

  • LogicalComments

    Do not belittle military science. Yale’s “Grand Strategy” program include many aspects of military science, including writings by Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. Go tell Paul Kennedy, Charles Hill, and John Gaddis that military science is not a serious study.

  • Skeptic

    Re: LogicalComments: When I was in ROTC, “military science” did not include Sun Tzu and Machiavelli… The US Army had its own texts, and the full professors were 26 year old majors who read from these training manuals for the hour-long classes… (in case you have never seen a military training manual, they are written to a Flesch Readability Score at about the 6th grade level.) And let’s not get involved in Yale’s “Grand Strategy”.. that is another discussion.

  • biffer

    Heck, Skeptic, when I took some English/Lit classes at Yale, they were taught by 26 year old grad students. I shouldn’t complain, though, since the English grad students generally were fluent in English, which was not the case with the 26 year old chemistry lab instructors. 😉

  • penny_lane

    Biffer: Grad students don’t teach courses in the English department. They teach sections of certain low level (read:remedial) writing courses and lead discussion sections for lecture courses. All courses that actually count towards the major are taught by faculty (including the discussion sections of the intro courses). They definitely have the best overall pedagogical design of any department I took classes in at Yale.

    Yale should certainly exercise its right to hold any ROTC courses to high standards of academic rigor. Otherwise, ROTC would likely become a fallback for less gifted Yalies to earn high grades and have a career lined up and ready to go. I’ll be damned if my alma mater paves the way for anyone but the most talented to be the leaders of my country’s military. Making the ROTC appear to be a highly selective program for gifted students would also ensure enough interest to make staying on Yale’s campus worthwhile. Yalies like to apply for and be accepted into things. Just ask any DS student.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    > Otherwise, ROTC would likely become a
    > fallback for less gifted Yalies to
    > earn high grades and have a career
    > lined up and ready to go.

    In so many ways: What. A. Snot.

    > I’ll be damned if my alma mater paves
    > the way for anyone but the most
    > talented to be the leaders of my
    > country’s military.

    **A)** Are you implying that a Yale-based ROTC program that does not meet your particular standards would produce military leaders that are inferior to today’s officers?

    **B)** Said differently: Are you implying that US military leaders are already harvested from “the most talented”

    **C)** I am pretty sure you are damned already by other of your alma mater’s initiatives if its potential ROTC actions cause you such ire. Why the demand for an “acceptably rigorous” ROTC program when Yale allows such dross, crap, and guts as, say, RE&M? Sociology? Women’s Studies? At least ROTC, as you readily admit, prepares Yalies for useful employment…

    P.S. It would be an interesting exercise to see how many English (or AA or SOC) majors could ace some of the more technical (or even some of the less technical) ROTC courses… At least classes sponsored by the military would be held to some sort of objective standards.