View Full Version : Compulsory ROTC at public universities
02-21-2007, 03:36 PM
My understanding is that the Morrill Act (which established land-grant colleges) required said colleges to have mandatory instruction in military drilling for male students. After ROTC was created this become two years of ROTC for all male students. Am I wrong? When did Congress allow land-grant schools to make ROTC optional? When did the last college (that wasn't a senior military college) drop the ROTC requirment?
02-21-2007, 03:58 PM
I don't see where the act says that students are required to take courses in military tactics, simply that courses in military tactics should be offered. The Attorney-General of the United States agrees with this assessment:
Military tactics—An agricultural college which offers a proper, substantial course in military tactics complies sufficiently with the requirements as to military tactics in the act of July 2, 1862, and the other acts, even though the students at that institution are not compelled to take that course. —Opinion of Attorney General, June 30, 1930.
02-21-2007, 06:29 PM
There are some public colleges that require ROTC, or at least military training.
The Citadel, in South Carolina, actually has two parallel programs. The Corps of Cadets requires military training, while their night program students are not required to take it. Virginia Military Institute is another. New Mexico Military Institute is a state-owned military junior college that only offers two years of college-level ROTC.
That said, these are notable exceptions. No one at any university other than military universities is forced to join ROTC. In fact, the recruiting officer for my uni's ROTC program specifically does not want people who think they're forced to be there, and actively tries to dissuade them from joining.
02-21-2007, 06:43 PM
My father mentioned there was mandatory ROTC back when he was in college (this would have been the mid-to-late 60s.) I've got nothing to back this up, but I'd bet that any mandatory programs would have crashed and burned after Vietnam.
02-21-2007, 07:18 PM
OK, so as per Terminus Est's post, by 1930 it was being interpreted by the chief law enforcement authority at the national level, that the Land-Grant colleges only had to make available ROTC, not necessarily mandate it. That would seem to mean that mandatory ROTC was all along a local policy decision.
02-21-2007, 09:26 PM
I attended a Big Ten university starting in the fall of 1960. One year of ROTC was mandatory, just like physical education. Strangely enough if you were in the marching band (all male back then – there was a parallel bagpipe and drum outfit for women), marching band substituted for ROTC. There were two ROTC programs, Army and Air Force. Every Tuesday and Thursday the field house was filled with Freshman men in blue or green uniforms. The programs became elective in the mid-1960s as the war in Vietnam became less and less popular. That nearly killed it.
But then we had curfew for the women’s dorms, too.
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