Tag Archive: military recruiting

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, October 24

There’s a lot to report today, folks.

  • Environmental protection commissioner Lisa Jackson yesterday revealed plans to do a complete overhaul of Our Fair State’s $60 million cleanup program. Changes will include prioritizing the sites for cleanup, starting a licensing program for environmental consultants, and adopting programs with incentives for cleaning up sites quickly. The department is trying to fix the system after the high-profile closing of a daycare in Gloucester County which was located on contaminated soil.
  • Children and Families Commissioner Kevin Ryan reported to the Assembly Human Services Committee yesterday that new child welfare workers are getting their training but re-training existing workers is taking longer. Also, the number of kids in foster care who receive physical and psychological examinations has increased, but an overhaul of the health care system for foster children is needed and will be proposed.
  • As expected, the State Senate unanimously approved Associate Justice James Zazzali as Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court yesterday, and Judge Helen Hoens was approved to fill the associate position.
  • State Senator Ellen Karcher’s bill to curb political contributions from redevelopment contractors and professionals has received bipartisan support. Even with such support the bill may not pass, because of other ethics reform legislation being proposed.
  • State Senator Stephen Sweeney has been under fire from labor groups about his proposal to cut the benefits and pay of unionized state workers. Sweeney met with the president of the AFL-CIO earlier this month and has been defending his proposals.
  • The Legislative ethics panel met yesterday, selecting Raymond Bramucci as chairman. The panel put off a decision to investigate Wayne Bryant and his “job” at UMDNJ, citing two ongoing criminal investigations by the US and State Attorneys’ General offices.
  • Rutgers announced yesterday the formation of the Rutgers Energy Institute, which will bring together all energy-focused projects under one banner. The Institute’s long-term goal is to help break American dependence on fossil fuels, particularly those from foreign sources.
  • Speaking of alternative power sources, more residents of Our Fair State favor the use of offshore wind power than oppose them, and even more are in favor if the turbines are further away. Woo-hoo!
  • Viola Thomas-Hughes is feeling little support in her run against Frank LoBiondo. Until last week, she had received no financial support, from Dem organizations in Gloucester and Cumberland counties. In the last week Cape May Democrats and Cumberland County Dem organization have donated, with the Gloucester County Dems promising some as well. Visit her site if you can help, too.
  • New Jersey is a tough place for military recruiters; only Connecticut and Rhode Island have lower recruiting percentages. Officials and researchers blame the lack of interaction between military folks and civilians in Our Fair State, while some recruiters directly blame the Iraq war.

Open Thread: What’s on your mind today, Blue Jersey?

What’s the deal on Navy recruitment info being stolen?

Menendez got an amdmt to the Defense Appropriations passed today giving the Navy $3m to shore up their database, so they don’t lose information on recruits.  Does anyone know about the incidents that motivated this legislation?  The senate website is registering the vote, but not the text of the legislation. I don’t if when they do post it, it will mention in detail the original problem.

“Restrict Rutgers Recruiting” letter in Star Ledger

The Star Ledger published my LTE on Marines’ helicopters at Rutgers:

Restrict recruit tactics

Your Dec. 11 story “Rutgers students march on Marine recruiting office” reports that recruiters offer free helicopter rides to Rutgers students to show that Marines fly. The recruiter said, “When we’re up in the air, it’s not as if we tie you up and make you sign something.” Maybe not, but it is still coercive. Colleges and universities cannot restrict recruiters without losing federal funding, even in the face of the military’s open discrimination against gays, the subject of FAIR vs. Rumsfeld, a case before the Supreme Court. It is inappropriate for recruiters to bring helicopters, Hummers, weaponry, rock walls and mobile cinema centers to campus. The university is obliged to provide military recruiters with “entry to any campus … equal to that of other employers.” It is not required that the university permit military hardware. Helicopters and Hummers have no place on campus. In this climate of war, spying on student groups, compiling ethnic information on possible recruits and spending billions to find ever more reluctant recruits, we should join with the students and get our state university’s policy changed.

Rutgers Senate wanted to join FAIR v. Rumsfeld, admin. declined

Rutgers Univ. Senate passed a resolution asking to join FAIR v. Rumsfeld.  President McCormick on advice of counsel, declined.

Rutgers University Senate Equal Opportunity Committee

RESOLUTION  To Implement Fully Rutgers University Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Adopted by the University Senate February 2004

Whereas, the Board of Governors amended the Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action (“non-discrimination policy”) in 1981 to include protection on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status; and

Whereas, the non-discrimination policy guarantees equal opportunities in hiring, promotion and job-related benefits for employees and equal treatment in University programs for all students; and

Whereas, the University Senate has passed three resolutions in the past 10 years urging full implementation of its non-discrimination policy; and

Whereas, it is incumbent upon the University to provide moral leadership in the cause of human rights by exercising every option within its power to enforce its non-discrimination policy; and

Whereas, the equal rights of LGBT students are jeopardized because the Solomon Amendment requires the Rutgers University Law Schools to suspend the non-discrimination policy with respect to recruitment efforts of the Department of Defense Judge Advocate Generals Office; and

Whereas, the Solomon Amendment compels the university to lend its resources, personnel, and facilities to employers (viz., the U.S. military) that continue to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; and

Whereas, the law suit, FAIR V. Rumsfeld provides an opportunity for the University to make important strides in fulfilling its commitment to non-discrimination;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Senate urges the President to seek authorization from the Board of Governors for Rutgers University to join the suit, FAIR v. Rumsfeld (which challenges the Solomon Amendment on First Amendment grounds), as party plaintiff.

Submitted to the Senate Executive Committee
November 26, 2003
Revised January 9, 2004

Text of March 25, 2004 letter to Senate from President McCormick acknowledging Resolution to Implement Fully Rutgers University Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action:

I am in receipt of the Resolution to Implement Fully Rutgers University Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action as approved by the University Senate on February 20, 2004. It recommends that Rutgers University become a party plaintiff to the FAIR v. Rumsfeld litigation.

After careful consideration and on advice of University Counsel, we respectfully must decline to carry out the University Senate’s recommendation. It is the opinion of counsel that whereas the university is fully committed to the tenets of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, plaintiff’s interests in FAIR v. Rumsfeld are adequately represented and Rutgers’ seeking to join the litigation would not advance this purpose of the litigation.

With best wishes and appreciation for the work of the Senate and its Equal Opportunity Committee.

Sincerely yours,
Richard L. McCormick

An appeal was filed in October asking the Board of Governors to make a public statement supporting FAIR v. Rumsfeld.  I can’t find any evidence of a response on the Rutgers website.

Rutgers University Senate Equal Opportunity Committee

Status Report and Resolution on Charge S-0413, FAIR v. Rumsfeld Appeal
October 5, 2005
[Adopted by the University Senate October 21, 2005]

Charge to Committee:

In February 2005, the Equal Opportunity Committee (EOC) of the Rutgers Senate was given the following charge: Considering the November 29, 2004 decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the case of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) v. Rumsfeld, revisit the issues addressed in the University Senate’s reports/resolutions on FAIR v. Rumsfeld and on Federally Mandated Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in ROTC Programs (S-0413). On March 29, 2005, the EOC issued a report stating that it would wait to learn whether the U. S. Supreme Court would hear the case, and in the event that it would, the EOC would reconsider the matter at that time and decide what action to recommend to the Senate.

Background:

According to the Solomon Amendment (1996), in order to receive specified federal funding, educational institutions were required to allow military recruitment and ROTC on campus, even if military policies toward lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons violated institutional policies and state laws prohibiting discrimination. FAIR, an alliance comprised of a group of law schools and law faculty members, brought suit in a New Jersey Federal District Court to enjoin enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. That court denied the injunction and dismissed the suit. FAIR appealed this adverse decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and on November 29, 2004, the appellate court reversed the District Court and found the Solomon Amendment unconstitutional. In response, the U. S. government sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals had put its ruling on hold until the result of the requested review was determined.

On May 2, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would hear the case on December 6, 2005.  However, until that time the Solomon Amendment remains in effect.

Rutgers University Senate and Rutgers Administration Actions:

When the case was before the N.J. District Court and in response to a motion of the EOC at the February 20, 2004 Senate meeting, the University Senate recommended that President McCormick ask the Board of Governors to have the University join FAIR in  their challenge to the Solomon Amendment. On March 25, 2004, President McCormick reported to the Senate that the Senate’s recommendation would be declined.

Conclusion/Status of Committee Action:

Now that we know the U. S. Supreme Court will hear the case on December 6, 2005, at the October 21, 2005 Senate meeting, the EOC will propose the following resolution that the University make a public statement in support of FAIR in FAIR v. Rumsfeld.

RESOLUTION
Rutgers University Public Statement in Support of FAIR vs. Rumsfeld
October 2005


[same text as prior resolution up to request to join the case]

Whereas, FAIR v. Rumsfeld will be heard by the U. S. Supreme Court on December 6, 2005;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Senate urges the President and the Board of Governors to make a public statement on behalf of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in support of FAIR’s effort to get the Solomon Amendment overturned.

Well-attended Counter Recruitment Rally in New Brunswick, Great Press

Rutgers is starting to organize. At least 50 people showed up for the Rutgers against the War rally outside the Marine Corps Recruiting office in New Brunswick, and the Star Ledger and the Home News both covered it:

Rutgers students march on Marine recruiting office
Sunday, December 11, 2005
BY JOHN WIHBEY

Marine Capt. Sharon Dubow sat calmly doing paperwork yesterday afternoon in her New Brunswick recruitment office.

It was just another day on the job. Almost.

A group of 50 or so Rutgers University students and anti-war activists were howling “Liar” and holding signs that said “Killing Iraqis is Not a Career” just a few feet behind her. A pane of glass separated the Marine from protesters.

“I think that it’s their right, and we respect it,” Dubow said afterward. She said there have been “no big changes” in recruiting numbers from last year to this year.

But the revved-up group of anti-war campaigners wanted to change that.

Rafael Greenblatt, a Rutgers graduate student and event organizer, told a crowd that marched from the school to downtown Monument Square the solution is “to starve the military of the recruits they need to keep this war going.”

Speaking in front of a Christmas tree, Greenblatt said, “The only way to resolve these human rights abuses in Iraq is to bring the troops home.”

Two activists were arrested last week on Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus for disrupting a government recruiting session, and protesters said yesterday they were energized by that event.

Small mistake here.  The arrests in the language lab were at a presentation that was billed as govt jobs (CIA, etc.) and then only the ARMY showed up.  See two earlier write ups of the arrests here.

One of those arrested last week, Tom Howard, 27, a writer from Mendham Township, said it had been “time to take a principled stand” against what he believed was a CIA recruitment event. He was the final speaker at yesterday’s rally, where he and other members of a workers’ solidarity group led anti-war chants.

President Bush and administration officials were the ultimate targets of the day’s speeches.

“They are filling their pockets on the blood of our children,” said Sue Niederer, a Mercer County resident whose only son, Army 2nd Lt. Seth Jeremy Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq while defusing a roadside bomb on Feb. 3, 2004. “We must ask them, ‘Why aren’t your children fighting?'”

The protesters were seeking everything from an end to the war to a change in the military’s policy on gays. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week on whether universities receiving federal funds could ban military recruiters because of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.

One of the Rutgers protesters’ chief gripes yesterday was an advertisement Dubow and the Marines had placed in the student newspaper in October offering “free helicopter rides” to students.

Alex Van Schaick, a senior at the university, said it was an attempt “to get people to feel real macho” to seduce them into joining the Marines.

Dubow said the newspaper notice merely had informational value.

“A lot of people don’t know Marines fly. That’s why we do it,” she said. “When we’re up in the air, it’s not as if we tie you up and make you sign something.”

Two counter-protesters showed up waving American and Iraqi flags and a banner that read “Support Our Troops.” One wore sunglasses and gave his name as Tom Dolan. Police told him to leave the area because he did not have a parade permit.

“We’re just having a peaceful protest, and they’re here trying to block us,” Dolan said of an anti-war activist who batted at his flags.

Bruno Corry, a 58-year-old former Marine Corps reservist, said he saw the Iraq war as “a repeat of Vietnam.” He and Dolan’s compatriot engaged in a shouting match.

“He’s trying to tell me they’re not using dirty tactics to recruit,” Corry said. “I know it’s a damn lie.”

And:

“Serving political purposes” & Counter recruitment rally Saturday 2pm New Brunswick

Rutgers Against the War, Rutgers Graduate Students for Peace and Justice, the Central Jersey Coalition  the Student and Educational Workers Union (SEWU, IWW 620), the Catholic Peace Fellowship, Radigals, Anti-Racist Action, and others will be rallying outside the Marine Corps Recruiting office at 303 George St, (George and New St) in New Brunswick, Saturday at 2pm.

I’ve posted it on the events calendar and mentioned it in a previous diary where I discussed last week’s CR action on campus.  As I think about the comments of the Rutgers staff from the lg lab, I really can’t believe it.  She (Carolyn Burger) said to the Daily Targum about inviting the Army in to recruit students in the language lab, “We don’t serve political purposes.”  Given the nature of the Iraq War and the fact that we are AT WAR, I don’t see how it could not be “political.”