Letter to the Editor

Protests, including recent ROTC protest, allow different cultures to have direct contact

I took interest in the Sept. 4 protest that occurred in the newly opened ROTC student lounges on the Syracuse University campus. Students opposed to dedicating space to ROTC cadets occupied the lounges in a form of nonviolent protest.

In my days as an undergraduate student in the late 1980s, I too participated in protests on campus against questionable wars in Central America, and the military presence on our campus that trained my peers to prosecute them.

Many years have passed, and today I write this letter as an Army combat veteran with 18 years of service and counting. My appreciation of military service has evolved to differentiate between the selfless service of our volunteer force and the blunders of policy makers who prosecute unwise and unjust wars.

So when this recent protest occurred in the ROTC lounges, I found myself proud of both the cadets and protesters. I feel strongly that we are all better served when different cultures have an opportunity to be in direct contact. The Sept. 4 protest is a testament to this fact. I would suggest the powers that be at SU consider opening up the ROTC lounge to all students to help build new bridges between the military and civilian cultures that exist on our campus. In the meantime, kudos to those who feel dissent is patriotic and those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

Ben Tupper

Class of 2014

Master’s in social work

 

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