Archive for Friday, August 31, 1990

BUDIG REAFFIRMS HIS OPPOSITION TO REMOVING ROTC CEREMONIES

August 31, 1990

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Kansas University Chancellor Gene Budig today indicated he intends to stick by an earlier decision to allow ROTC commissioning ceremonies to continue on campus.

"The university's current position has been presented in two recent public meetings on campus," he said.

His statement was a response to passage Thursday of a University Council measure asking him to reconsider his position and publicly discuss the controversy. The measure was approved on a voice vote, with two abstentions, but no ``nay'' votes.

"We will have no comment until the council resolution has been received and reviewed," Budig said.

The university has Air Force, Army and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. There are at least 250 KU students in ROTC.

Most council members want ceremonies moved, because the military doesn't allow homosexuals to be commissioned as officers after graduation. The ban violates KU anti-discrimination policy, members say.

KU policy states a student may not be denied participation in any university-approved activity due to sexual orientation.

THE COUNCIL passed a resolution in May that recommended ROTC commissioning programs be held off campus until the military modifies its policy regarding homosexuals.

Budig has declined to endorse the sanction. Discrimination is abhorent, he says, but the proposed action would destroy job and scholarship opportunities for students.

About 35 of 42 council members attended Thursday's meeting. The council makes policy recommendations but can't force removal of ROTC. It is rare for Budig to oppose the council.

Del Shankel, acting executive vice chancellor, represented Budig at the meeting.

KU and other universities could be most effective by lobbying Congress not by passing resolutions, he said.

Shankel said that if the KU administration adopts a strident position on the ROTC matter, the military might disband the KU units rather than deal with unrest. Nothing should be done to jeopardize the program, he said.

STUDENT BODY President Mike Schreiner said he remains skeptical that military policy will change soon and KU should take a firm stand against the policy.

Shankel speculated it could take three years for the process of reform to unfold in the Pentagon.

KU should "reach out to gays and validate their humanity," said Ted Frederickson, associate professor of journalism and supporter of the council's action.

Clay Belcher, assistant professor of architectural engineering, said the council should support state laws against sodomy. In the past, he said homosexuals violate "laws of God and man."

Dennis Lane, professor of civil engineering, said it was unrealistic to expect the military to alter its policy in response to a university resolution.

"This almost rings of (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein," Lane said. "We will hold somebody hostage until we get our way. The ethics of this bothers me."

Tim Miller, assistant professor of religion, questioned Budig's objectivity, considering the chancellor is an Air National Guard officer.

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