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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wiley, ASM square off on recruiters

[media-credit name=’AJ MACLEAN/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]guyarmsout_am_416[/media-credit]University of Wisconsin Chancellor John Wiley spoke in a heated open forum with members from student organization Stop The War and other concerned students about military recruitment on campus Wednesday afternoon.

After several organized demonstrations in the past couple weeks, Stop The War requested a meeting with Wiley to encourage him to halt military recruitment and ROTC programs from being allowed on campus. Stop The War members Paul Pryce and Tim Hellar spoke against military presence on campus during the forum.

Their argument stems from the military’s alleged discrimination against homosexuals and some students’ assertion that the military’s presence forces low-income students to join the military to pay for school.


“We shouldn’t have to kill people to get an education,” Hellar said.

However, Wiley said though he does not support the military’s discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, the removal of campus recruiters would be in violation of free speech.

Wiley explained to attendees of the meeting that when students and faculty brought this issue up in 1989 and requested an end to UW’s contract with the ROTC, it was ruled by the Board of Regents that the ROTC was allowed to remain on campus. However, the regents advised students and faculty members to lobby Congress to change the limitations the military places on people allowed into the institution.

Wiley said he continues to work diligently on this issue by lobbying state legislators, among others.

“We need to all work to get the policy changed,” Wiley said.

Hellar, who served in the Air Force for six years, added recruiters should not be allowed on campus because they try to manipulate students and claim things that are untrue. Hellar cited his own experiences with recruiters and said he received less funding for his education than he was promised.

“They lied to me,” Hellar said. “I know they’ve lied to many other people.”

Hellar added the military targets “less fortunate students who can’t pay for their education.”

Wiley said he found this argument to be condescending because students who are against recruitment should not feel like they have to “protect” other students who, according to Wiley, are intelligent enough to know if they are being scammed.

After several students from each side of the issue said they would support an open forum between those who oppose military recruitment on campus and representatives from the ROTC, Wiley said he would be willing to aid in setting up a meeting between the two groups.

ASM debates military presence

In a separate meeting Wednesday night, Associated Students of Madison decided to stall its immediate support for a resolution denying military and government officials from recruiting on campus due to discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians. Instead, the resolution will move on to a Legislative Affairs Committee next session to be further examined.

The resolution was brought to session because various members of ASM believe military-recruiting practices, specifically the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, violate UW’s anti-discrimination clause.

ASM Academic Affairs Chair and co-sponsor of the resolution Ashok Kumar said the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the military is discriminatory against sexual orientation and, therefore, violates UW policy.

“I think the encouragement of military recruiters on this campus sends a bad signal, especially to people who consider themselves [lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender],” Kumar said. “The fact is that we have taken sexual discrimination and put it on the back burner.”

Kumar added by hosting military recruiters, UW is consequently supporting the war in Iraq, which he believes is depleting federal funding for the university.

“They are replacing [general-purpose revenue] dollars with money going to a war that’s unjust — students shouldn’t have to die for an education,” Kumar said.

In his proposal of the resolution, Kumar referred to a Wisconsin statute that states no student may be denied admission to, participation in or discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the UW System because of sexual orientation.

ASM Student Judiciary Chief Justice Nathaniel Romano said denying recruiter presence on campus could subsequently hold UW ineligible from nearly $130 million in federal support under the 1996 Solomon Amendment, which enables the Secretary of Defense to deny federal funding to universities if they prevent military recruitment on campus.

“As an organization that stands for lower tuition, it would be hypocritical for us to pass this,” Romano said.

Romano said he was concerned that if ASM passed the resolution and Wiley kicked recruiters off campus, numerous UW students would lose financial aid and Pell grants, and many federally funded campus programs would cease.

“Tuition would have to rise to meet the loss of federal funds. … You can’t just make that money up,” Romano said. “We don’t have printing presses printing up money in the basement.”

If passed into action, the resolution must first come before the Legislative Affairs Committee to be further examined, rebuffed and voted on.

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