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Dear Editor,

The headline in MJS on March 22nd: ROTC Returns to Harvard Campus is misleading. The Solomon Act of Congress, 1996 (1) required all colleges and universities, except pacifist ones, to offer military recruiting and student access to ROTC programs in order to be eligible for Federal funding, of which Harvard gets a good share. As the article points out, Harvard ROTC students will continue to attend classes and drill sessions elsewhere. The difference is that Harvard will provide office space for ROTC on campus and “assume financial responsibility for administrative costs associated with the program,” costs that were covered by an alumnus group, so Harvard could retain its Federal Grants.

Harvard and many similar schools based their objection to ROTC on discrimination against gays which is no longer valid. So Harvard will continue to be a “partner school” for the military but at least for now will not be a “host school” of the Army, Navy and/or Marines.
In our region, all colleges and universities, except Marquette University, are “partner schools”. They send ROTC students for classes and drill sessions to Marquette University which hosts Departments of Military Sciences for Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. MU is one of only two Catholic universities in the nation to entertain all three branches on campus. (2)

After Vietnam and the end of the draft, many universities like Harvard and UWM refused to have any ROTC classes on campus for academic, ethical or moral reasons. So the Solomon Act required all universities to offer recruiting to students and availability to ROTC programs. However, to be a host school for the military was a voluntary choice of universities.

The objections to military training at Marquette University for the last 44 years (3) have been basically made on moral grounds. In 2006, the resistance to military training at Marquette adopted the slogan: “Marquette, Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of Military Sciences.” (4) For example, the Marquette School of the Army, the Golden Eagles Battalion, teaches what the military calls “reflexive killing”, killing without thought or conscience. (5) The Army manual also teaches that for leaders in the military, Army values take priority over religious values; whereas, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches “priority of conscience” (6) over government regulations.

A group called “Breaking the Silence” (7) has been holding “hours of prayer” on Wednesdays during Lent from 4–5 PM at various locations on the MU campus. The last event will be next Wednesday in the lobby of the Marquette Raynor Memorial Library. In the four years of doing this Marquette has called security and the police many times and has threatened to arrest us for criminal trespass as we have continued praying for Marquette to Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of Military Science on campus. On Good Friday we hope to offer a non-violent act of civil disobedience which Marquette can no longer ignore regarding the moral dilemma of teaching war and killing on this Catholic campus. For more information contact

For Related Articles see below the footnotes

(1) Solomon Amendmend
(2) Marquette is the Only One
(3) 44 year history of resistance to Military at MU
(4) Marquette, Be Faith to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of Military Sciences
(5) Reflexive Killing
(6) Priority of Conscience
(7) Breaking the Silence

Related Articles
Open Letter to Four Leaders of Morality in Milwaukee

Letter to the Provost of Marquette University

The Militarization of Catholic Jesuit University Education Not Your Father’s Military

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