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Military recruiters must be allowed on college campuses, Supreme Court says

On March 6, the Supreme Court ruled that colleges must allow military recruiters on their campuses or else lose federal funding.

“That’s a big stick the courts and Congress are using,” said Jeff Van Dusen, collections and student financial services technical assistant in the Student Accounts office. Van Dusen is in the Army Reserves, so this decision carries a lot of weight in his mind.

“I don’t see how you can have a problem with the military recruiting from the best and the brightest of our colleges,” Van Dusen said.

But there are people who have a problem with the new law. Law schools and others committed to nondiscrimination policies don’t agree with the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding homosexuals.

These schools’ students are complaining that allowing the military on their campuses is compromising the schools’ mission statements. However, these schools could not survive without federal funding. But they aren’t the only ones.

“This school would not function without federal money,” Van Dusen said.

There are two types of students at Eastern that rely on this money. Low-income students receive the Pell Grant, and middle-class students receive the Stafford Loan.

“Anybody who can’t pay their bill out-of-pocket is using federal funding,” Van Dusen said.

As for the new law, “I would imagine that Eastern would have no choice but to comply. We would never survive without federal funding,” Van Dusen said.

Yet Van Dusen has been here for fourteen months and has yet to see a recruiter on Eastern’s campus.

“But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been here. I just might not have seen them,” Van Dusen said.

A couple of Eastern students have been to Iraq, and there are many others involved in the Army Reserve or the National Guard.

While Eastern doesn’t have its own ROTC program, and no Eastern students are currently receiving ROTC scholarships, there are other schools that cover Eastern students. Eastern students can enroll in the Army ROTC at Valley Forge Military College, the Navy ROTC at Villanova University and the Air Force ROTC at St. Joseph’s University.

Currently, there is a recruiting shortfall in the military.

By enforcing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the military is “excluding part of the population from the recruiting pool,” Van Dusen said. “People are dying. The military is stretched.”

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