Columbia students heckle veteran promoting ROTC
Since the controversial law known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (which barred homosexual service members from serving openly in the military) was repealed during the Lame Duck session of the last Congress, one of the unresolved problems has been whether certain institutions of higher learning would allow ROTC back on campus.
Among those institutions have notoriously been the precious Ivy League schools — notably Columbia University, whose own ban on ROTC has been in effect since 1969.
The reasons for the ban on ROTC from many Ivy League schools originated in the anti-war protests against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Columbia temporarily lifted the ban in 2005 until the University Senate — an advisory group of faculty and students — upheld the ban, citing the military’s DADT policy as incompatible with the school’s non-discrimination policy.
Now that DADT has been repealed, calls to reinstate ROTC have grown, as logic would dictate that campuses like Columbia no longer have a grievance to perpetuate the ban on officer training programs.
A town hall meeting was held at Columbia on Feb. 15 for students and faculty to express their opinions as to whether or not to re-establish ROTC on campus.
After a host of opinions were expressed regarding the matter (about half expressing opposition), a Columbia freshman, former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and disabled veteran Anthony Maschek, got up to address the audience.
“It doesn’t matter how you feel about the war. It doesn’t matter how you feel about fighting,” Maschek said. “Other parts of the world are plotting to kill you right now when you go to bed.”
Maschek’s words were met with laughter, jeers, boos and even an accusation of “racist” from the crowd of life-experienced 20-somethings.
There are a few interesting facets to this story.
First and foremost, among these is the absolute disrespect to a man who volunteered to serve his country. He was deployed three times to Iraq, shot 11 times by insurgents and broke both legs — with one later amputated.
To sit there and call someone who has gone through that much a racist and hiss at his remarks shows the absolute classless nature of these people.
Despite the fact that Maschek fought for their right to say those things, the concept seemed to have been lost on those students, even as it stared them in the face.
I can’t say that I was completely shocked to hear about this, especially coming from a place such as Columbia. The Ivy League has historically been a haven for the far-left, anti-military crowd to congregate.
These are people who believe that everything is relative — those who want to do us harm probably have a good reason to do it. America is the cause of all suffering, and we’re the aggressor and must pay for our imperialistic ways.
They can afford to have these views as they cloister themselves within Ivory Towers where theory is the substitute for reality. They believe that what they learn in the classroom is more applicable than real-life experience.
That’s why these jerks laughed at the concept of bad people wanting to kill them, regardless of who they are and what they believe.
Another thing I’m not totally shocked about was the resistance to reinstating ROTC at this campus.
In reality, Columbia’s reasons for banning ROTC had nothing to do with DADT and the university’s non-discrimination policy. If that was the case, then the repeal of DADT would’ve guaranteed the return of ROTC, no questions asked.
DADT was a convenient tool used to keep ROTC and military recruiters off campus and disguise the out-of-touch Ivy League school’s deep anti-military sentiment. Now that it’s gone, the anti-military movements at these schools will grasp at anything to keep ROTC from coming back.
For instance, now opposition to ROTC is based on the grounds that transgender persons are not allowed to serve, that the military preys on the poor and a myriad of other excuses designed to keep the military from, in the words of journalist Colman McCarthy, “taint[ing] the intellectual purity” of these institutions.
I see it this way: If you hate the military, just come out and say that you hate the military. Don’t hide behind faux causes that use groups of people to further your agenda and then throw them by the wayside when they’re no longer useful.
I’m proud to say that UNLV has risen above the childish and immature worldview of the Ivy League.
I’m proud that we have a university and a student body that support ROTC programs and recognize the value that they bring to our campus atmosphere the opportunities that these programs afford to those who want to challenge themselves both physically and mentally.
I know that when we walk around campus in uniform, we have a student body that respects the choice we’ve made to serve our country.
I know that, unlike Columbia, we at UNLV not only respect the veterans who defended our freedoms on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, who have come back to study alongside us, but we also honor those living and fallen by hosting Las Vegas’ only veterans memorial on our campus.
We’re a university that respects those rough men and women who risked their lives and stood ready to do violence on our behalf. They did these things so that we can breathe free. Whatever our shortcomings may be or the challenges we face, UNLV can always hold that accomplishment above the rest.
Suck it, Columbia.