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Good evening. My name is Aki Terasaki, and I am a student of Columbia College class of 2012. I am speaking tonight in the rare position of what I feel is the least-heard voice at these town halls: I am speaking as an undecided. Many of my classmates and professors have spoken in these forums with very visible and defined opinions regarding the return of Reserve Officers' Training Corps to Columbia's campus. They have presented their reasons to the University Senate Task Force, and while I respect their opinions, I have heard their voices numerous times. What I want to address here is what concerns me most—that is, the lack of education and communication efforts on behalf of the University that I feel has diminished the quality of discussion and has tainted the results of the poll. Voters have cast their ballots with little knowledge of the issues at hand, cheapening the value of the vote and reducing the potential for future dialogue. Without an understanding of the different arguments and the prospective outcomes, students have either voted uninformed on one of the most important and controversial questions the University has encountered in recent history, or they have not voted at all. One could argue that as members of this community, we each have a personal responsibility to do due diligence regarding ROTC. I would agree. But I also know the reality of the situation, which is that I barely have time to do my assigned work, let alone take the time on my own to delve into the nuances of this complex discussion. In order to combat this lack of understanding and lack of emphasis on educating members of the entire voting population, I urge a twofold actionable approach. First, I call upon my classmates and fellow voters to honestly take the time to research the fundamental issues governing this debate. Bringing ROTC back is a complex subject that, believe it or not, will in fact affect all of us, and we would be remiss if we did not seek to thoroughly understand the various viewpoints and arguments presented. This does not mean that you must arrive at a pro- or anti-ROTC stance, but it does mean that your opinion will have been one informed by critical thinking and inquisitive questioning. Second, I call upon the task force to include in its report to the University Senate a clear and direct plan for educating the students and faculty beyond the resource guide that it have made available on its website. There have been a number of queries generated at the town halls that would benefit from answers, and while publishing facts and reports are helpful to an extent, I think that it is the task force's responsibility to ensure that the students voting in its polls are knowledgeable about the issues and can say with confidence that their opinions truly reflect a deep level of understanding. Perhaps a more valuable means of education would be a forum whereby students who would not usually involve themselves in the debate can feel like stakeholders in this process. I realize that since the vote has already been closed, some of my points are moot. However, I still hold that the education of the entire University is crucial to continuing the dialogue among all parties on campus—not just those who feel most strongly about their views. This is undoubtedly one of the most important questions we will address in our time here, and thus I implore everyone to stop for a moment and learn more about this discussion. Read articles in our publications, read the Senate website, and talk to your fellow classmates. This is an issue that concerns all of us, and everyone should have an equal opportunity to be a part of the conversation. The author is a Columbia College junior majoring in economics. He is the president of Columbia College class of 2012 and the Columbia Japan Society.

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