February 21, 2007

Columbia OutLaws Get It Right

by PG

Even as the administration funds a luxury bus for lobbying, the dean treads the standard discussion-is-great! line, and the professors take up Chief Justice Roberts's invitation to voice their disapproval, the Columbia OutLaws urge the practice I've been advocating since my first year and that was rejected by the Student Senate:

Dear Fellow Students,

We are all at law school for a reason. For some of us, it’s our first step toward becoming a partner at a prestigious law firm. For others, we’re on our way to a career in politics. Still others hope to serve the public interest. For some of us, our ambition has always been to serve our country as members of the armed forces. Like most of the students here, we excelled in college and are working hard in law school. To the military, however, our dedication does not matter. To the military, the gender of the person we love is a bar to effective representation of our country. To the military, who we are is incompatible with our desire to serve our country in a time of need.

Outlaws regrets that Columbia Law School has been economically coerced into allowing the military to recruit on campus in violation of the Law School’s anti-discrimination policy. The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy implies that gay people are less than, that they are an inferior class of individuals. Outlaws finds this stance intolerable.

Outlaws is committed to encouraging Congress to change its policy and lift the ban on openly gay service members. To that end, Outlaws is asking students who are interested in seeking employment with the Judge Advocate General to interview off-campus at one of the many recruiting stations throughout Manhattan (nearby locations are listed below). By taking this small action, students will be respecting the space created by Columbia Law School – a space where discrimination is unacceptable. If students refuse to participate in military interviews on campus, Columbia Law School will not be forced to violate its nondiscrimination policy and the rights of its gay students.

In response to the military’s presence on the Law School campus this Thursday February 22 and next Wednesday February 28, we would like to begin a dialogue with students who plan to interview off-campus to suggest ways in which you can make clear your disapproval of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy while still serving your country through JAG. Your decision to interview off-campus will not only represent your support for your colleagues, it will also add to a growing national desire to change this discriminatory policy.

Columbia Law School is a place where all students should feel respected and valued. The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is an affront to that goal. We hope that you join Outlaws in our effort to make the military a place for everyone.

Columbia Law School Outlaws

Nearby recruiting locations
HARLEM (Army and Air Force), 76 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027, (212) 860-5084
LINCOLN CENTER (Army), 141 West 72nd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10023, (212) 787-0404
TIMES SQUARE (Army and Air Force), 200 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, (212) 575-0450

[Emphasis added.]

February 21, 2007 04:39 PM | TrackBack

The opposition to the military's policy is commendable, but the logic of this proposal quickly falls apart. Students should inconvenience themselves and make the military's job easier (by furthering recruitment off-campus while the military still gets to come on campus), in order to insulate Columbia administrators from the consequences of their decision to sell their anti-discrimination policy -- and this somehow is meant to send a message to Congress? What message?

If a student makes the decision to seriously explore military employment despite personal opposition to the military's discrimination, he or she is making the decision that the needs of national security must in this instance trump the benefits of equality for gays. That's a hard decision and an entirely legitimate one, but it's the same decision whether it's made on-campus or off. The only difference in going off-campus is that the student is allowing Columbia administrators to avoid having to face the same hard decisions or any of the consequences thereof.

Posted by: Tom T. at February 23, 2007 08:21 AM
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