A Cal State San Marcos study group held a public forum on Tuesday, February 24, to hear the pros and cons of allowing a ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program on campus. The study group, made up of many social sciences professors, was on hand only to listen and did not respond to comments or questions from the large audience.
Speakers were selected randomly, limited to three minutes per person, and instructed to “be brief, be brilliant, and be done.” Some of the common themes among those voicing pro-ROTC opinions were: benefits to participants, increased revenue for the university, and the convenience of attending a school near “one of the largest military areas in the world.”
A woman dressed in fatigues suggested that every student should take military science courses. A man, also in the military, said he would not attend CSUSM if he were “discriminated against.”
Viewpoints common to anti-ROTC speakers included: perceptions of the military as anti-gay and discriminatory against minorities and women, concerns the military would use the campus to increase recruitment, and conflict with the CSUSM mission statement.
One student asked, “Is financial gain worth moral wrongfulness?” Twenty-five speakers gave their opinions and observations during the 50-minute forum. Thirteen spoke in favor of the ROTC program. Eleven were against. One speaker refrained from expressing his opinion but pointed out that CSUSM allows religious student organizations considered anti-gay and sexist to exist on campus. Those against argued that those types of organizations do not receive academic credit for their participation.