Michigan State News
May 1, 1969
Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
The Monday edition of the State News contained and article about a rally at the new Administration Bldg. Tom Samet, ASMSU chairman, was quoted as saying that ROTC on the MSU campus should die. As president of the class of 1970, I have a constituency that includes a number of men in the advanced ROTC program. Samet alleges that most MSU students do not want ROTC. Which is more paramount in a democracy, the rule of the majority or the protection of minority rights?
Samet calls ROTC "a misfit in the university structure." From the standpoint of numbers, more students participate in ROTC than packaging or nuclear physics. No one is advocating the elimination of these areas of study. I find it difficult to term an area of study a "misfit" as long as students pursue in this area.
Samer terms ROTC "an implement in the machine of death." Would the alternative to liberally educated officers from schools such as MSU be officers with a strictly military school background (i.e, all West Point graduates receive a B.S. in engineering)?
Samet was also quoted as saying "academic credit and pay for ROTC must be stopped now." Those people taking advanced ROTC are paid by the federal government as are many MSU nursing students. The decision as to whether credit be given courses should be made by those students and faculty involved (Garskof, winter 1969?).
I suggest that if ROTC is to die on this campus, let it be by having nobody willing to participate.
Thomas F. Koernke
President, Class of 1970
To the Editor:
I have no great love for the ROTC program. In my seven years at MSU I never once considered enrolling. I would not have entered MSU had the compulsory program not been abolished. However, I cannot see, as hard as I try, any reason to deprive ROTC of University credit or eliminate the program form the University. The most rational arguments against ROTC have been those criticizing course content, lack of freedom of discussion, and less-than-qualified instructors. These arguments seem to me to be a call for reform of the program rather than valid reasons for abolition. Let the faculty and administration insist that the courses be brought more in line with equivalent University standards and that the instructors be qualified and be given faculty status in accordance with procedures in academic departments. Both the University and the ROTC program would benefit.
Let us not delude ourselves that the University can attain "freedom" by dismantling a program unpopular with a small highly vocal group. The very existence of a free university depends on its resistance to such demands. Donít let the fundamentalists abolish evolution, the McCarthy-ites suppress leftist, the leftist end ROTC.
Richard S. Williams
East Lansing, graduate student