Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Few and the Proud

In a recent post, we noted the hardships endured by ROTC cadets at Ivy League schools. With their institutions refusing to host ROTC detachments, cadets at schools like Yale, Columbia and Harvard must commute across town for their military training.

For some students, the trip is relatively short. Cadets at Harvard make a two-mile trip to the MIT campus, although that trek is never fun in Boston traffic. Still, their commute is brief compared to the handful of ROTC students at Yale. For them, completing military studies requirements means a drive to the University of Connecticut, more than an hour each way.

Despite those obstacles--and palpable on-campus hostility--a few Ivy Leaguers still participate in ROTC and earn their commissions as military officer. Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard attended Harvard's latest commissioning ceremony last week, which produced five new officers for the U.S. military. The university president attended the event, but still managed to get in a dig at the Pentagon's "anti-gay" policy. Is anyone surprised?

Still, there is some cause for optimism. ROTC still has an on-campus presence at two Ivy League institutions, Princeton and Cornell. And, with public trust in the military ranking well above that of other public institutions, who knows? In a few years, Harvard might be commissioning eight or ten new officers a year.

We can always hope.

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