Will Ivy League embrace R.O.T.C again?
Both McCain and Obama have said the schools should be more open to the military recruitment program.
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Colonel Dulchinos, a former professor of military science, would like to see Brown reserve at least three seats every year for ROTC scholarship recipients. "I just want an acknowledgment at the highest level of the administration of this school that this is a desired population that we want to encourage to be part of our student body." Since 1996, Brown has graduated just one four-year ROTC scholarship student and three others not admitted as freshmen, he says.Skip to next paragraph
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In a written response to Dolchinos's letter on the issue in The Providence Journal this week, James Miller, Brown's dean of admissions, said the school does not have admission quotas. But it "fully supports and honors students who choose careers of service, including service in the armed forces."
Dulchinos believes more Ivy Leaguers in the military would help balance the demographic profile of the services.
It would also help society, some believe. Frank Schaeffer, a self-described "Volvo-driving, higher-education worshiping" writer from Massachusetts, found his view of the military changing when his son unexpectedly enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1998.
Mr. Schaeffer laments the unfavorable shift over the decades in the East Coast elite's perception of the military. In 1956, he says, Princeton graduated 400 students who later served in uniform. By 2004, he says, just nine of the school's graduating class entered the military.
A shift in attitude?
But sentiments may be changing again as the current generation appears to be more drawn to national service, including military service, than the post-Vietnam boomer generation was.
Schaeffer, who wrote the 2006 book 'AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service – and How it Hurts Our Country,' believes the Pentagon has been "cowardly" in not recruiting more people from the upper classes. This failure, he says, stems in part from President Bush's now infamous directive to Americans after the attacks of 9/11 to go shopping.
Perceptions of military service could change once Bush leaves office, he says. "If we have a popular president and he asks people to do things, my guess is that folks will step up and show up at the recruiting station."