Spectrum | Feb. 28 3:14 pm EST
rotc advocacy

Business and law school deans announce support for ROTC

Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard announced his support for the return of ROTC in a press release today, arguing that veterans provide invaluable experience to the classroom. Hubbard also noted the benefits veterans have contributed to the business school’s community.

Hubbard joins Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer—who expressed his support for ROTC in an email sent to the Task Force on Military Engagement—as the two most prominent Columbia figures to have offered a public opinion on the ROTC debate. Full press releases after the jump.Glenn Hubbard:

Dear Members of the Task Force on Military Engagement:

It is my sincere hope that Columbia University will quickly and unconditionally invite ROTC back to campus.

Veterans of the armed services bring invaluable experience to the classroom, and their ability to apply leadership, management, and decision-making skills, as well as the discipline and flexibility they learn as soldiers, position them superbly for success as business leaders, policy makers, or members of any number of other professions. The Business School has supported a number of military-focused initiatives, including the Yellow Ribbon Fund and customized recruiting for our MBA programs within the military community. The School’s student-led Military In Business Association has been a powerful component in making Columbia Business School a welcoming community for current and past members of the armed services.

Since becoming dean in 2004, I have made it a priority to increase the enrollment of veterans at Columbia Business School and to more closely engage our military alumni. I see no reason why Columbia should not similarly strive to provide the highest-quality education to future military leaders, as well. I hope that the University community will make the right decision in its current debate: To welcome ROTC back to campus after its 42-year hiatus.

With regards,

Glenn Hubbard
Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School
Professor of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

David Schizer
Now that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been repealed, the University should invite ROTC back to campus. Columbia should strive to train leaders for every important sector throughout the world. The U.S. military has a profound impact on our nation and on the world, and we should aspire to offer its future leaders the benefits of a Columbia education.

In addition, having students with a military background enriches our intellectual life. At the Law School, we have been fortunate to host many students with military experience– including JAG officers, reservists, and veterans (from the United States and other nations) — and they contribute an invaluable perspective and relevant experience across many facets of our curriculum. For example, in a class on national security law, having students with first-hand experience in applying the Geneva Convention, representing clients in systems of military justice, or making judgments about detaining prisoners on the battlefield raises the level of discussion for everyone. There obviously are many examples from other parts of our curriculum as well.

I realize that the opportunity to be in ROTC will be of interest to only a subset of our students. We are a diverse community, and opportunities that are of interest to some will not — and need not — be of interest to all. But for those Columbians who wish to be in ROTC, we should make the opportunity available.

I do not share the concern, expressed by others, that the military’s culture is incompatible with that of a university. The premise of this argument is that military commands are obeyed without any critical thought. This is an unfair (and an uninformed) perspective. In fact, soldiers are required to disobey certain orders, and they are also called upon to engage in critical thought and to show creativity and initiative. I have more sympathy for the concern, expressed by others, that transgendered students may not be eligible to serve in ROTC, or that the military is not always a hospitable atmosphere for women. My view is that engaging with the military is the most promising way to ensure that our values are better reflected in its ranks.


David M. Schizer




  1. Good work • February 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm • Reply

    Both make the points that need to be made. Let’s give students the opportunity to pursue something they could benefit from.

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    • Anonymous • February 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm • Reply

      Yeah, by completely sidestepping the issue of transgender discrimination. Regardless of how small a minority is, their rights cannot be taken away without putting us in the danger of a tyrannical majority.

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      • CU Law • February 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm •

        Hey anonymous, the reason that transgendered people can’t serve in the military is that the APA lists being transgender as a “disorder” like schizophrenia or OCD, and thus military health regulations prohibit transgendered people from joining.

        In any case, two follow-up points: 1) the military’s policies are set by civilians, so why punish the military for them and 2) the military will always be discriminatory in its hiring practices by refusing people who are too old, overweight, choose to decorate their bodies with tattoos, etc. Last time I checked the CU non-discrimination policy included age. How long is the Left going to hide behind an inaccurate reading of the letter of the law in order to impede the military’s return to campus?

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      • Anonymous • February 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm •

        Forever obviously

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      • Jose (CC) • February 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm •

        Hey CU Law,

        I can too put the name of my school to announce who I am.
        1) Even though the APA lists being transgender as a disorder it is not like schizophrenia. The APA’s official position on transgender issues is that the ” APA opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression and urges the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies. APA supports full access to employment, housing, and education regardless of gender identity and expression;
        The APA supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments, at all levels of education, as well as foster care environments and juvenile justice programs, that promote an understanding and acceptance of self and in which all youths, including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse” You can find the rest of their resolution on their website.
        2) The military is deciding to maintain the ban on transgender individuals, so it is not the civilian government. And even if it was the civilian government, not institutionalizing ROTC is not punishing the military. Students are allowed to be part of the ROTC program at Fordham.
        3) The military is allowed to discriminate because of age or physical ability because it would affect their performance. But there is no evidence that shows that being transgender makes you unfit for service.
        Lastly, The Left is not hiding behind the transgender issue to not allow ROTC back on campus. We genuinely care about transgender people, and to insinuate otherwise is both offensive to me, and transgender people. We do not use them as mere tools, because we have this strange idea that all humans must be treated equally.

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      • Stephen Snowder • March 1, 2011 at 11:03 am •


        Your second point is incorrect – a change to the military policies regarding transgender discrimination would require, at minimum, a directive from the president. Even if 100% of the people in the military wanted to change the policy, the President would still have to issue an order allowing them to do so. Check with the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network (a public advocacy group working on behalf of gay, lesbian and transgender soldiers) if you don’t believe me.

        Other than that I am pretty sympathetic to your argument, despite the fact that I support the return of ROTC. I do think the President should take care of this and I hope he will at some point.

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      • Karim • September 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm •

        I can relate Linda Marie. How wourndfel that you could get your child what they needed to feel real. From one parent to another- I am proud of you. The best we can do for our children is to love them for who they are and support them. When I saw Hope wearing the Hermione Grainger wig and costume we bought for Halloween one year it made total sense. There was a sparkle in her eyes when she looked in the mirror and combed that long hair. I can remember as a kid putting a towel on my head when I wanted to do my Cher routine (am I dating myself?) That feeling of knowing what you wanted to look like and who you wanted to be. Now after all these years as Hope’s hair is growing past her ears she looks in the mirror and smiles this big, radiant smile. My Best- Jen

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  2. Columbia veteran • February 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm • Reply

    While I’m glad to see support for ROTC from these two deans, I am also a bit discouraged to see that they, too, do not seem to understand what ROTC is. Both express how much they enjoy and appreciate the veteran community at Columbia (a sentiment that would be echoed by many, I think), but ROTC is not a veterans program. It is a students program, and most participants will be non-veteran students who will not serve in the military proper until after they graduate. The benefit of having veterans on campus and in classrooms is simply not comparable in any meaningful way to the effects of having ROTC on campus.

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    • Alum Vet • March 1, 2011 at 11:01 am • Reply

      At least two current Columbia ROTC cadets are also veterans. And it’s not comparable so much as it represents a reciprocal relationship. Veterans bring much to the classroom, and by having ROTC Columbia will be giving back by bringing it’s philosophy and resources to bear in the development of future veterans and military leaders.

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  3. pritro454 • March 1, 2011 at 7:02 am • Reply

    or that the military is not always a hospitable atmosphere for women.

    for that matter a college campus isn’t always a hospitable atmosphere for women either

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    • Rachel • September 3, 2012 at 12:30 am • Reply

      I never thought of that Scott. I never think of melsyf as being part of the process I guess. I have such admiration for people who are transitioning. It takes so much courage and strength to be exactly who you are. I don’t know many people in general who can be 100% themselves. It inspires me every day to be real (as hard as that is sometimes). Keep in touch & thank you for sharing that. Best- Jen

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  4. Ricardo • September 3, 2012 at 12:26 am • Reply

    Thank you Jen- I really neeedd that inspiration today! I can’t tell you Melissa how reassuring it is to know there are other parents out there facing the same fears and overcoming them. I love your analogy of walking on the edge of a razor blade. It pretty much sums up how comfortable you feel most of the time, but it does get better little by little. We all get stronger and more confident about who we are. My best to you both,Jen

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