Kansas University faculty members and KU Chancellor Gene Budig are to be congratulated for the manner in which they have handled the controversial Reserve Officer Training Corps matter on Mount Oread. KU faculty and Budig both are winners as a result of the faculty vote to keep ROTC courses counting toward degree requirements.
The question of whether ROTC courses should count toward graduation was placed in the hands of the faculty by Budig. Because of the Department of Defense's policy of not granting commissions to homosexual men or women, some KU faculty members wanted to disallow ROTC courses as counting toward a student's graduation requirements. Also, they wanted to move the commissioning ceremonies off campus. They claimed ROTC and Department of Defense policies were discriminatory and counter to KU's non-discrimination policy.
Budig refused to move the commissioning ceremony off campus and he put the ROTC course question up to the faculty. He claimed curriculum matters the rightful purview of the faculty.
It was a big gamble by Budig, as a faculty vote to deny credit for ROTC courses would have reflected poorly on the chancellor and the university. Both would have been the target of severe criticism.
Fortunately, a majority of faculty members showed good judgment, and the faculty, Budig and the university all come out winners. The question of whether the military service should or should not grant commissions to homosexuals is not up to a group of faculty members whether on the KU campus or some other school. This is a matter that must be solved on a national basis.
And like it or not, military officials, those who have spent their adult careers in the service, those who have served under fire and those who have endured the toughest and most demanding conditions . . . say they do not think it is in the best interests of the services to have homosexuals in positions of command. This may upset some, but it is the policy of the Department of Defense.
The ROTC record at KU is good and the faculty vote was being watched not only by interested parties in Lawrence and throughout the state, but also throughout the country.
Budig placed his confidence in the faculty and they backed him on this important issue. A vote the other way would have been a sad day for the university and its faculty, and would have had serious negative repercussions for the school for some time to come.
Congratulations to the chancellor and congratulations to those faculty members who voted to keep ROTC classes as credit-earning courses.