Pentagon University Elects First Openly Gay Student President

For the first time, a Defense Department university has elected an openly gay student council president.

The student body of Uniformed Services University (USU), which includes uniformed personnel in the armed forces, this week voted for Patrick High to represent graduate students at the school. High served nine years in the Illinois Army National Guard and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at USU.

His election “is just the latest in a series of signs that those serving in our armed forces are ready to welcome openly gay colleagues,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Some other recent signs of progress:

— “Earlier this summer, a West Point graduate received a prestigious academic award for his thesis opposing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.”

— In May, Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the Army, called for repeal of the law, saying it is “a hollow policy that serves no useful purpose.”

Still, the number of dismissals under “Don’t Ask” increased from 668 in 2004 to 742 last year, even as the U.S. Army’s personnel readiness degraded to levels not seen “since the Vietnam era.”

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