Brown University Denounces ROTC Transgender Discrimination

Though a number of Ivy League universities have reopened their campuses to the military’s ROTC program upon the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Brown University is not convinced it’s the right step. Though the campus is divided, Brown President Ruth Simmons has recommended only that students be allowed to participate in ROTC on other campuses, citing the military’s continued discrimination against people who are transgender:

SIMMONS: Consistent with its stated policy of anti-discrimination, Brown should take a stand against discrimination against transgender individuals by the military. It should do so in all the long-tested and well-recognized forms available in matters of advocacy. In that regard, it is appropriate and necessary to advance the University’s position on this issue as soon as possible. […]

We must do all in our power as an institution to carry the message to Congress, the executive branch, and the military establishment that the policy barring transgender individuals from military service must be changed. We have the capacity to mount the arguments, to influence others to assist in bringing the case forward, and to persist with this struggle until the proper ends are achieved. To do this would be entirely consistent with the tradition of the University, a tradition that saw students at Brown calling for the abolition of slavery in the earliest days of the University.

The military prohibits the service of transgender people under both its medical regulations and conduct regulations. Campuses that previously banned ROTC argued that DADT conflicted with their non-discrimination policies protecting gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Repeal of DADT, however, does not rectify conflicts with their non-discrimination policies based on gender identity.