Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard announced his support for the return of ROTC in a press release today, arguing that veterans provide invaluable experience to the classroom. Hubbard also noted the benefits veterans have contributed to the business school's community.
Hubbard joins Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer---who expressed his support for ROTC in an email sent to the Task Force on Military Engagement---as the two most prominent Columbia figures to have offered a public opinion on the ROTC debate. Full press releases after the jump.
Dear Members of the Task Force on Military Engagement:
It is my sincere hope that Columbia University will quickly and unconditionally invite ROTC back to campus.
Veterans of the armed services bring invaluable experience to the classroom, and their ability to apply leadership, management, and decision-making skills, as well as the discipline and flexibility they learn as soldiers, position them superbly for success as business leaders, policy makers, or members of any number of other professions. The Business School has supported a number of military-focused initiatives, including the Yellow Ribbon Fund and customized recruiting for our MBA programs within the military community. The School’s student-led Military In Business Association has been a powerful component in making Columbia Business School a welcoming community for current and past members of the armed services.
Since becoming dean in 2004, I have made it a priority to increase the enrollment of veterans at Columbia Business School and to more closely engage our military alumni. I see no reason why Columbia should not similarly strive to provide the highest-quality education to future military leaders, as well. I hope that the University community will make the right decision in its current debate: To welcome ROTC back to campus after its 42-year hiatus.
Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School
Professor of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Now that "Don't ask, don't tell" has been repealed, the University should invite ROTC back to campus. Columbia should strive to train leaders for every important sector throughout the world. The U.S. military has a profound impact on our nation and on the world, and we should aspire to offer its future leaders the benefits of a Columbia education.
In addition, having students with a military background enriches our intellectual life. At the Law School, we have been fortunate to host many students with military experience-- including JAG officers, reservists, and veterans (from the United States and other nations) -- and they contribute an invaluable perspective and relevant experience across many facets of our curriculum. For example, in a class on national security law, having students with first-hand experience in applying the Geneva Convention, representing clients in systems of military justice, or making judgments about detaining prisoners on the battlefield raises the level of discussion for everyone. There obviously are many examples from other parts of our curriculum as well.
I realize that the opportunity to be in ROTC will be of interest to only a subset of our students. We are a diverse community, and opportunities that are of interest to some will not -- and need not -- be of interest to all. But for those Columbians who wish to be in ROTC, we should make the opportunity available.
I do not share the concern, expressed by others, that the military's culture is incompatible with that of a university. The premise of this argument is that military commands are obeyed without any critical thought. This is an unfair (and an uninformed) perspective. In fact, soldiers are required to disobey certain orders, and they are also called upon to engage in critical thought and to show creativity and initiative. I have more sympathy for the concern, expressed by others, that transgendered students may not be eligible to serve in ROTC, or that the military is not always a hospitable atmosphere for women. My view is that engaging with the military is the most promising way to ensure that our values are better reflected in its ranks.
David M. Schizer