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A majority of students polled by the University Senate supports ROTC's return to Columbia, according to a report released by the senate on Thursday night. Sixty percent of students who filled out the survey said they would approve of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps establishing a program at Columbia. The survey was sent to students in Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Barnard College, the School of General Studies, and the School of International and Political Affairs, the five schools that have produced an off-campus ROTC cadet in the last five years. Of the 11,629 students in these schools, 2,252 took the survey, a response rate of about 19 percent. Additionally, 79 percent of students polled said they support Columbia students being allowed to participate in ROTC programs on- or off-campus. VOTER TURNOUT Avi Edelman, CC '11, the president of Everyone Allied Against Homophobia and an opponent of ROTC's return, said he was struck by the low level of participation in the survey. "I don't know that that was unexpected, but it is something to note, that so few students participated," Edelman said. Jose Robledo, GS, a University Senator and a military veteran, agreed that participation was low, but he said that "the results are trustworthy for the population directly affected that cares." In 2008, a poll of the four undergraduate schools, conducted by their student governing bodies, found that 51 percent of undergrads were opposed to bringing a Navy ROTC program to Columbia, with 49 percent in support. Most of the opposition in 2008 was framed in terms of opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which prohibited gay soldiers from serving openly. DADT was repealed in December, prompting the University Senate to revisit the debate. OLD CONCERNS, NEW ATTENTION Robledo said that even with DADT's repeal, it did not surprise him that there was only a 10-point swing in ROTC's favor from the 2008 poll. Many ROTC opponents in 2008 had reasons to oppose ROTC besides DADT, he said. "This time the more substantive issues did come out, which are anti-militarization, American imperialism, which all dance around the topic of institutional identity and alignment with the military," he said. The University Senate's Task Force on Military Engagement conducted the eight-question survey and released the partial results of the survey in an executive summary of its findings Thursday night. In addition to taking a survey, the task force solicited opinions via email and at three town hall meetings. Edelman said he opposes ROTC's return to Columbia because of the military's policy of barring transgendered individuals from enlisting. He said that he would like to see the results of all eight survey questions, including one regarding the military and Columbia's discrimination policy. "I do think that there's a lot more to be gleaned from the data," Edelman said. The task force will present a full summary of its findings at the University Senate's full body meeting this afternoon at 1:15 p.m. in 107 Jerome Green Hall. This summary will include the full results of the survey, including a breakdown of results by school. FACULTY SPEAKING OUT The senate did not survey the faculty, but in recent weeks, both pro-ROTC and anti-ROTC faculty petitions have arisen. As of Thursday, the faculty petition to support ROTC has garnered 65 signatures from professors, while the faculty petition against ROTC had 72 signatures. But anthropology professor Rosalind Morris, an anti-ROTC signatory, said that these lists in no way represent the entire spectrum of faculty views. "Many faculty believe these are decisions to be made by the University and resent deeply the pressure to respond to ... organizational forces that emanate from outside the University," she said. "You may find that faculty are speaking a lot to themselves but don't feel obligated to answer to outside entities." Two of the most high-profile faculty members to express their views on ROTC include Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard and Law School Dean David Schizer, both of whom support ROTC's return. Schizer told Spectator that he emailed the task force in support of ROTC because the Law School has "relevant experience on these issues." He said that Law School classes have benefited from having veterans in them, and that the school has hosted military recruiters on campus despite what he called "the injustice associated with the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy." "It is important for Columbia to play a role in training leaders for the military, just as we train leaders for other sectors all over the world," Schizer said in an email. "Having intellectual ties to the military can be an advantage for our intellectual community." Economics professor Padma Desai signed the pro-ROTC letter. For Desai, the issue hits close to home. Desai's only daughter joined the United States Marine Corps, without having gone through ROTC, after graduating from Yale. She left the military after five years and founded the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), a volunteer organization which fights sexual discrimination and harassment of women in the military. "She got the encouragement and the savvy to understand these problems—to argue about them—because of her military background," Desai said. "She experienced the problem firsthand." Other faculty members, even some who signed a petition, are less personally involved in the issue. Barnard history professor Herbert Sloan said that signing the anti-ROTC letter did not seem to him like an action of tremendous weight. "I didn't really figure I was choosing to be vocal," Sloan said. "I signed a letter. I don't see that as trying to bring down the world or something like that." Political science professor Robert Jervis, who signed the pro-ROTC petition, said that faculty members on opposite sides of the issue view the core arguments differently. "Most of us are against the war in Iraq and many of us are very skeptical about the war in Afghanistan," Jervis said. "For us, it's not linked to the broad political issues of American foreign policy, whereas I think for many on the anti-ROTC side, much of their driving energy comes from their disagreement with many American foreign policy issues." Most professors agreed that ROTC has been discussed very civilly among faculty members on both sides of the aisle, without bad blood, and that the debate has been similar any other debate in academia. TO THE SENATE But with the survey closed, the task force no longer accepting email submissions, and no town hall events remaining, the debate now moves to the University Senate. Robledo said that he hopes senators will vote based on how their constituencies feel about ROTC. Since many schools were not polled by the senate, Robeldo said he expects the senate debate to center on "the validity of the process and whether more of the University should be polled." He added that he does not expect requests to poll other schools to be accommodated, because this would slow down the process. "There's too much institutional pressure to resolve this this semester because there is a fear that if this gets tabled for another year, there will never be a resolution for this," he said. Edelman said that while he was disappointed by the results of the survey, they should not be the determining factor in the Senate's decision, because "the voice of the majority shouldn't be given the ability to make decisions about protections for minorities." "No survey, no matter what the percentages were, should be able to trump our determination ... to protect all of our students," Edelman said. The University Senate is expected to vote on ROTC at either its April 1 or April 29 full-body meetings. The Senate usually does not keep track of how individual senators vote on an issue—votes are usually taken by a hand count—but Robledo said he will motion for the ROTC vote to be taken on the record. Robledo said he expects that the vote among the 24 student senators—a minority in the 108-member body—to be divided. This will leave the decision in the hands of the faculty, he said, and he could not predict what outcome that will lead to. "Faculty will do what they always do," Robledo said. "Which is vote however they feel like voting."

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