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J.F. Kelly, Jr. - Contributor
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who
writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident
of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
Welcome On Campus
[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 2/15/05
Universities are thought to be centers of learning where diverse
ideas and viewpoints are welcome and freedom of expression is
cherished. But some views are cherished more than others and
some, perhaps, not at all. It often seems that those that are
critical of the establishment and particularly of U.S. foreign
policy are the most cherished by far.
Diversity in the faculties and student bodies used to be prized as well, but
political diversity among faculties is hard to find nowadays. Numerous surveys
and polls have revealed that college faculties are now overwhelmingly liberal
in party registration and political viewpoint, especially in the northeast,
Midwest and west coast.
on campus usually protects the rights of anyone who wishes
the United States or sing the praises
of, say, alternative lifestyles but often fails to protect the
rights of those who support America’s foreign policies,
the war on terrorism or traditional moral values. This speech
is often labeled hateful or exclusionary and they are too often
On many campuses, freedom of speech is also denied military
recruiters and ROTC units. Indeed, their very access to campuses
is often denied. The past forty years have been turbulent ones
for the military on campuses. ROTC units have been vandalized,
picketed and even fire bombed. Military recruiters have been
harassed and insulted. The incredible part is that these transgressions
against people, property, free expression and open access have
often occurred at publicly funded, state universities; another
example of your tax dollars at work.
you say, college kids act up. They are natural protestors against
That’s all part of the education and
maturation processes. Mature voices of reason in the faculties
and administrations will curb their youthful exuberance. Bad
news here, too. Faculty members have often fomented and even
led the protests. Administrators, for their part, have often
caved in to the student demands to bar military speakers and
recruiters and to evict or bar ROTC units.
has the government reacted? Has it withdrawn or denied research
funding or cut
off federal aid to institutions that
are hostile to its representatives? Why, no. That would be an
infringement upon the universities’ freedom of action and
expression. This, in my view is outrageous. Even more so is the
fact that taxpayers tolerate it, if, in fact, they even bother
to take note of it.
Clark, the Navy’s top admiral, was recently
asked about recruiting challenges and the competition among the
services for good people. The Navy, he advised the questioner,
was in competition with the Fortune 500 companies for the best
people available. One of the reasons why the armed services oppose
resumption of the draft is the somewhat embarrassing fact that
over half of the age-eligible population would not now qualify.
Service careers today are technologically challenging. In seeking
the best candidates for these demanding jobs, it is natural that
the services should turn to the universities and the high schools.
Sadly, they are often turned away. The inevitable result will
be a turning inward by the services and a greater reliance on
military academies and conservative universities, mainly in the
south, where the inmates have not yet seized control of the asylums
and freedom of speech and diversity are actually still alive.
Forty years ago, public anger against the Vietnam War was the
excuse. Today, the excuses are more varied and include anger
against the Iraq war, repression of individual freedoms, support
for Israel, abuse of prisoners, discrimination against gays,
--whatever. They hardly need a reason, however. The prevailing
sentiment on campus is too often anti-military, whatever the
reason du jour. It is long past time that they learn that such
hostility and exclusion carry a consequence. The federal government
should cease rewarding such behavior with research grants and
tax support and citizens should ask if their tax and donation
dollars are funding it. tOR
2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.