ROTC bill is meddlesome

NIU may not be able to change the Department of Defense’s anti-homosexual policy, but that does not mean we have to be a part of it.

However, Sen. Pat Welch, D-Peru, thinks otherwise. He said the question of who can enter the armed forces is a federal one, and NIU cannot do anything about it.

But we can. We can throw them out. Already, the University Council has decided to reconsider NIU’s contract with ROTC when spring comes around. But the UC may not get its chance.

Welch and his fellow senators might approve a bill preventing universities from banning ROTC. The senate would need enough votes to override Gov. Jim Edgar’s veto.

The decision to implement programs like ROTC should be left up to the university because it is the university that has to provide the space for ROTC to operate here.

Should the state begin writing bills saying we cannot bar the meteorology program if that were to happen? Should the state have told NIU not to get rid of its gymnastics program last year?

The Illinois General Assembly should have a strong influence in its state universities’ decisions, but this is going too far. ROTC is not a major program here. NIU should be able to determine on its own whether its policy has been violated by an anti-homosexual federal policy.

Hopefully, some last-minute sense will come into our senators’ minds. Illinois government should not set a precedent where it can fiddle with minor university programs.