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The Dartmouth
March 4, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Military welcomed despite some nat'l debate

First Lieutenant Tony King of the U.S. Marine Corps found even the doors to Thayer Dining Hall open to him this week when he set up a table there to speak to students about opportunities in the Marines.

"We've had a lot of success with Dartmouth in the past," he said. "I'm fond of the type of students I meet. The students are always highly qualified."

But beyond the College, the debate over whether to allow military recruiters on campuses is heating up. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni recently launched a campaign aimed at convincing institutions, primarily law schools, to change policies that have expelled military recruiters because of supposed discrimination against gays.

The universities initially banned military recruiters from their campuses in response to the military's controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gay members. The policy disqualifies openly gay men and women from military service and discharges those who reveal their sexual orientation once in the service.

The policy's exclusive nature has angered administrators at many institutions and also upset students at Dartmouth.

"I think it's a foolish compromise. It's inherently discriminatory," Michael Amico '07 said.

Dartmouth, however, has not barred military recruiters from campus in recent memory, according to Monica Wilson, assistant director of Career Services.

"As far as I know, there have not been any restrictions on employers who want to come to campus," Wilson said.

While King was on campus speaking with students, the Trustees and Alumni Council mailed officials at institutions with more restrictive recruiting policies, including Harvard, Yale and Stanford law schools, urging them to allow recruiters campus access. The group plans to continue its letter-writing campaign in the coming weeks.

The group called the policies at these universities hypocritical for not allowing recruiters access to students on campus while still accepting government money in the form of federal grants and contracts.

"Either they should reject federal money because of their convictions, or let recruiters on campus, now and forever," Anne D. Neal, the organization's president, said.

The Defense Department and the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights will argue their cases on whether the government should be able to withhold funds based on an institution's military recruitment policy before the Supreme Court starting Dec. 6.

Many schools have let recruiters come back to campus rather than lose funding before the issue is resolved. As of now, only New York Law School, Vermont Law School and the William Mitchell College of Law have refused access and lost limited funding.

Jon Vaccaro '06, a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps who plans to join the Army after graduation, said he thinks schools are wrongly taking action against the military for a policy it did not put in place.

"I don't understand why people protest the military and not Congress. It [the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy] was enacted by Congress and can only be lifted by Congress," Vaccaro said.