Could ROTC return to Yale after a 41-year ban?

Congress’s decision to repeal ” “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s policy that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving, makes it easier for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to return to campus, said James Campbell ’13, who heads the Yale College Council ROTC Committee.

The U.S. Senate voted 65-31 Saturday to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical version of the bill.

Campbell, the Pierson College YCC representative, said University administrators’ major objection to ROTC was that the military bars gays and lesbians from openly participating in the program.

Yale College Council President Jeff Gordon ’12 said he supports have ROTC at Yale now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed, adding that YCC will likely take that position as well. YCC members will meet with administrators early next semester to discuss ways to bring ROTC back to Yale.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail earlier this month that she still welcomes ROTC’s return to campus.

“We’re very excited and pleased with today’s results,” Gordon said. “This [decision in Congress] allows us to make the recommendations we wanted to make.”

The YCC plans to release the results of a survey sent to undergraduates this November about ROTC and military service. Currently, YCC is revising its conclusion to the survey to reflect Congress’s recent decisions.

There are still some challenges to establishing an ROTC program on Yale’s campus, such as the level of student interest in the program and whether it is cost-effective for ROTC to start a new unit at Yale, Campbell said. Gordon said the University would need to hire personnel to teach military science classes and to supervise the program.

ROTC has been absent from Yale’s campus since faculty banned it in 1969 during the Vietnam War.