Naval ROTC to return to Columbia University 44 years after it was banned

Posted at 1:50 PM, Sep 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-30 13:50:43-04

(CNN) – Columbia University will welcome back the U.S. Navy and a new class for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps on Monday after a more than 40-year absence, according to a news release from the Naval Service Training Command.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan M. Garcia III will offer remarks on Monday afternoon to commemorate the occasion, the release says.

The program was banned in 1969 amid controversy over the war in Vietnam.

Columbia’s University Senate passed a resolution by a vote of 51-17 in April 2011 on the heels of the repeal of the don’t ask don’t tell law that forbade gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.

The repeal “provided a historic opportunity for our nation to live up to its ideals of equality and also for universities to reconsider their relationships with the military,” Bollinger said upon announcing the reinstatement in 2011.

The reinstitution of NROTC at Columbia is in line with President Barack Obama’s 2011 “call for inclusion at the nation’s elite colleges and universities,” the release says.

“Columbia is proud of our record of welcoming a sizable student veteran population in recent years,” a statement from the university says. It is believed that there are now more than 600 student veterans enrolled for the 2013-14 academic year, the statement said.

The NROTC program educates and trains young men and women for leadership positions in the Navy and Marine Corps, the Navy’s statement said.