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With military gay ban nearing end, Stanford University faculty votes to bring ROTC back to campus

Associated Press

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Stanford University's faculty voted Thursday to invite ROTC back to campus, nearly 40 years after the military program was barred amid strong anti-war sentiments and anger over the military's ban on gays and lesbians.

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps left Stanford, Harvard and other prominent universities during the Vietnam War, and schools lately kept it off campus because of the military's policy on gays, which they considered discriminatory.

But several universities began reconsidering after Congress in December repealed the so-called don't ask, don't tell policy, which requires soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to keep their homosexuality a secret or face dismissal. In March, Harvard officially welcomed back the program.

Stanford's Faculty Senate on Thursday approved allowing ROTC back at the university by a 28-9 vote, about a week after a campus committee recommended reinstating the program, Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said.

The approval came with an addendum voicing opposition to the military's policy of excluding transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving.

Stanford President John Hennessy will now begin discussions with the U.S. military about the process of re-establishing ROTC on campus, Lapin said. There was no time frame when ROTC programs would be available at Stanford again.

ROTC was founded in 1916 to ensure educated men were well-represented in the military. Students receive scholarship money in return for agreeing to military service after graduation.

Some Stanford students and faculty members opposed bringing back ROTC, in part because of the military's policy on transgender people and the medically disabled. A group of about 30 people protested outside of the building where the vote took place.

"Our support for re-establishing the ROTC program should not be misconstrued," Hennessy said in a statement. "We understand the concerns about the military's continuing discrimination against transgender people, and we share those concerns."

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