Anti-recruiter sentiment still alive on campus

By Peter Hernandez
The Guardsman

Even following the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” campus military recruitment remains a controversial topic at City College, with many officials and students maintaining an anti-military recruiting sentiment.

All military recruiters are presently allowed on campus, provided they have submitted their contact information, their location on campus and their intent to the director of student activities, currently Samuel Santos. Most recruitment occurs in the Career Center on Ocean campus, Santos said.

“I think there is a danger in opening military recruitment up for discussion,” City College Trustee Milton Marks said. “There has been an inflow of federal money for military recruitment. If we were to ban military recruitment, they would withhold funds.”

Santos said City College has not denied military recruiters access to campus since the passage of the Solomon Amendment, a 1996 U.S. federal law denying higher learning institutions federal and research grants if they prevent military recruitment.

Marks also said banning military recruitment brought up a “stink” during a past Board of Trustees meeting, and that it is not a desired topic in this month’s meeting, noting the array of options available for students aside from military programs.

“We believe recruiters, and everyone else on campus, have a right to free speech,” Santos said.
While the Pentagon has changed its stance on gays serving in the military, some students still believe recruiters have no place on campus.

“We’ve been excluded from marriage and military service and developed non-violent means of communication,” said Marla Fisher, a psychology major at City College working at the Queer Resources Center on campus.  “Most people enter military service thinking they are going to have a career, but you may have to kill people or suffer from post-traumatic stress.”

Santos said that as member of the LGBT community, he thought it would be unwise to make an uniformed decision to be recruited without having been presented more than one perspective.

Leslie Smith, City College’s government liaison, said the college abides by the law and no complaints have come to her office regarding military recruitment on campus, although she said she makes students a priority over ROTC recruiters, whom she feels provide “inadequate and inefficient information.”

Congress repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” Dec. 18, 2010, and President Barack Obama signed the repeal Dec. 22.

While considered a triumph for both the gay community and Obama’s presidency, LGBT military personnel still cannot disclose their sexuality openly until the president, defense secretary, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that the armed forces have regulations in place that secure the “unit cohesion” that the original policy cited in its original incarnation.

Some students, like Scott Alford, a veteran and computer engineering major working at City College’s Veteran Students Program and Services, support recruiters on campus.

“I think recruitment on campus is great,” he said. “It helps students expand their opportunities. Military service and education can go hand-in-hand.”

Students interested in ROTC are referred to the nearest host school, the University of San Francisco, which affiliates with SF State for recruitment.

The U.S. armed forces hope to have fully implemented the repeal by the end of the year, having outlined a plan on Jan. 28.

The Guardsman