Letter from the editor: covering ROTC

Opinion by and
Sept. 30, 2010, 3:01 a.m.

The Stanford Daily editorial board on Wednesday called for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program to return to Stanford even if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy remains.

In a blog post, The Stanford Review applauded the editorial board for coming out in support of ROTC’s return. We appreciate the mention. However, it is worth setting the record straight about something the blogger wrote: “For a long time, The Stanford Review was the only campus publication and one of the few student-driven voices reporting on ROTC at Stanford and calling for its return.”

The Daily has covered ROTC and its absence at Stanford for decades. The paper’s archives contain all its ROTC and anti-war movement coverage from the 1960s and 1970s, and anyone may read those fascinating accounts in the Green Library Media and Microtext Center or at the Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building upon request.

More recently, in October 2001, The Daily reported on Stanford students participating in the program at other schools while national interest in ROTC grew post-Sept. 11. Emeritus Prof. Ronald Hilton wrote to The Daily about historic clashes over ROTC at the University that year, too.

In 2003, The Daily covered the College Republicans’ campaign to bring ROTC back to Stanford and profiled some of the 30 students who were serving that year. The editorial board wrote against the program’s return and The Daily ran guest columns for and against the program.

In 2005, The Daily wrote about an uptick in the ROTC debate among students and faculty.

In 2007, The Daily reported on Diana Clough ’07, an ROTC cadet who went to Washington, D.C., that spring to be sworn in as an army lieutenant. It also reported that Azia Kim participated in Santa Clara ROTC while pretending to be a Stanford student. Meanwhile, the editorial board in May 2007 wrote that it was “time for Stanford to rethink its rationale for banning on-campus ROTC programs.”

In 2008, The Daily noted the support among presidential candidates for the Solomon Amendment while disagreement about ROTC at Stanford persisted. It also highlighted the tension between Stanford Law School and JAG recruiters.

Last year, students continued covering ROTC for The Daily. Nikhil Joshi ’11 was there when the Faculty Senate formed an ad hoc committee to investigate the potential return of ROTC. Wyndam Makowsky ’11 featured the history of the program and its final departure from campus in 1973. Kate Abbott ’12 profiled Stanford students commuting to other ROTC programs as they weighed in on the program’s possible return to the Farm.

This year could be a historic one for ROTC at Stanford. Whatever happens, The Daily will continue to be there.

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