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Senate resolution supports ROTC recognition on transcripts

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 08:03

Senate

Bruce Wang / Tufts Daily

The TCU Senate, pictured above in a Feb. 27 meeting, on Sunday passed a resolution calling for the faculty to approve its proposals to recognize ROTC coursework on cadets’ final transcripts.

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate on Sunday called on the university to include student participation in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) on transcripts, a move designed to bolster the university's formal recognition of the program.

In a resolution that passed 21-0, with three abstentions, the Senate asked that the faculty pass two proposals that would include notation of ROTC participation on students' transcripts.

The first proposal states that a student's completion of the ROTC program should be noted in the notation section of their final transcript. The second dictates that ROTC service be acknowledged on the transcript under each semester a student participates in the program.

The proposals will not be implemented unless faculty members approve them. A vote is expected in the coming weeks, and the faculty can choose to support one or both of the proposals, according to TCU President Sam Wallis, a senior.

The Education Policy Committee, composed of faculty members, administrators and several students, have already expressed support for the measures, passing both proposals in a March 16 vote and sending it on to the faculty to vote, according to Wallis.

The resolution's proposals would not provide a path toward receiving academic credit for ROTC courses or bringing ROTC to Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, Wallis said, noting that the latter would not be cost-effective for the military.

Tufts cadets currently complete the majority of their ROTC classes through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but they do not receive recognition of their participation on their transcripts. The resolution is aimed at encouraging the Tufts administration to acknowledge ROTC commitment and service, Wallis said.

"Tufts goes to great lengths to promote civilian leadership, but what we could do better in is supporting students who also go into military leadership, which can involve some of the same roles such as in the humanitarian and health sector," Wallis said. "This resolution provides symbolic support for ROTC and speaks volumes to the student who wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning [to attend ROTC courses], coming back to a university that supports them."

Senator Tim Lesinski, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said increased ROTC recognition is widely supported by students at Tufts.

"I hope the administration will recognize that this is something the students want," Lesinski, a junior, said. "It's long overdue that the administration give the ROTC the recognition they deserve."

The TCU Senate resolution comes as many elite universities are revising their ROTC policies in response to the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which banned openly gay people from serving in the armed forces. Both Harvard and Columbia Universities have made efforts to re-establish ties with the ROTC, and Stanford, Yale and Brown Universities have convened committees that will reconsider their ROTC policies.

Wallis said Tufts should demonstrate that the university is responsive to changing attitudes and policies in the military that are attempting to curb discrimination.

"In the past, faculty and students have been hesitant to support the ROTC's presence on campus because of the contradictions between our anti-discrimination policy and the ‘don't ask, don't tell' [policy]. But now those contradictions are in the midst of resolving themselves," Wallis said. "This is not about anyone's feelings towards the military. It's about recognizing a student's service."

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Alexandra Bogus contributed reporting to this article.

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