Ruth J. Simmons' letter to the community of September 7, 2011

September 7, 2011

Dear Members of the Brown University Community:

Last year, in view of President Obama’s signing into law the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” I appointed a committee to address the status of ROTC at Brown. Chaired by Dean Katherine Bergeron, the Committee on the ROTC conducted an open process in which they attended forums, held discussions with a variety of interested groups as well as with standing University committees, conducted informal surveys, and reached out to other institutions about their practices and policies. The Committee having issued its report after the close of the academic year, I write to you now to invite your reading and further discussion of the Committee’s report.

You will see from the report that the committee had difficulty reaching full consensus about the proper policy for ROTC at Brown. After reviewing the 1969 Brown faculty resolutions limiting the authority of the military in matters of instruction, the Committee report considers whether the circumstances leading to the 1969 resolutions are still relevant today. In addition, the report discusses the dilemma of changing the policy toward ROTC when the military’s approach to transgender service appears to be in direct conflict with the University’s anti-discrimination policy. After considering these and other questions, the Committee recommends a number of actions.

I invite you to read the Committee’s report; it can be found at http://brown.edu/reports/rotc. Given the widespread interest in the work of the Committee, over the course of the next month, I will receive comments about the report and recommendations and discuss the report with relevant faculty and student committees, including the BUCC. At the end of that time, I will respond to the Committee’s recommendations and make my final report to the Corporation at its October meeting.

I wish to thank the Committee on the ROTC for its diligent efforts to seek the broadest input on a question of significant interest to the community. I also thank the community for engaging this issue so thoughtfully. As we near the end of this process, I hope you will be patient a short while longer as we give the necessary groups the chance to reflect on and respond to the Committee’s report.

Ruth J. Simmons