Though University administrators have yet to make a decision on whether Emory will implement a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program on campus, University President James W. Wagner received a letter from the Department of the Navy this summer inviting Emory to consider a Navy ROTC presence, according to Gary Hauk, vice president and deputy to the president.
Hauk wrote in an email to the Wheel
that Wagner received the letter on July 18. Hauk noted that he has had a preliminary conversation with Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski and that he is following up with the Navy to determine what more the University can learn about Navy ROTC.
ROTC is a U.S. college-based, officer-commissioning program.
ROTC was present on Emory’s campus from 1919, when enrollment was required for freshmen and sophomores, through the late 1960s.
During the Vietnam War, anti-war sentiment led Emory faculty to disband ROTC on campus in 1974, according to a Feb. 8 Wheel article. Emory students enrolled in ROTC currently travel to Georgia Institute of Technology, which hosts Army ROTC for six universities in the Atlanta region.
Wagner wrote in an email to the Wheel this past February that many students who currently participate in ROTC at Georgia Tech feel inconvenienced by the program’s location.
“They are clearly dedicated to this aspect of their University experience, having to pursue [military-related] coursework at Georgia Tech along with putting in hours of extracurricular activity required by the program,” Wagner wrote.
Wagner has asked Hauk to determine whether there might be interest in a conversation about Emory ROTC in the College, as well as what information he could obtain from the Navy about its ROTC program.
“Nothing has been decided one way or another at this point about whether to move forward,” Hauk wrote, adding that he is unsure of whether having a Navy ROTC on campus would alter the University’s involvement with Georgia Tech ROTC.
According to the Feb. 8 Wheel article, administrators began looking into the possibility of implementing an ROTC program on campus earlier this year, following President Obama’s State of the Union address in which he said that college campuses should “open their doors to our military recruiters.”
“We are very much in an exploratory phase, asking questions and trying to determine how best to assess whether this would be a good fit for Emory,” Hauk wrote.
Institutions including Yale University, Harvard University and Columbia University have since reinstated ROTC programs on their own campuses.
Since initial discussions pertaining to ROTC began in the spring, the University President’s Cabinet has had no further discussion about the possibility of establishing the program at Emory, Hauk added.Still, Hauk has consulted with Brzinski and noted that, based on these discussions, he “infer[s] that student interest in ROTC at Emory is still rather small and unchanged over the past couple of decades.”
Though student interest may have spiked two or three years ago, according to Hauk, interest in the program generally remains at a dozen or fewer students.
However, Georgia Tech currently hosts an Army ROTC program, rather than one for the Navy. According to the Navy ROTC website, requirements for the Navy program include naval science courses each semester, weekly drill instruction periods and a four to six-week training period each semester, in addition to training, which varies for each school.
Army ROTC includes a basic course, advanced course, leader’s training course and a leader development and assessment course in addition to the training, the Army ROTC website states.
— Contact Jordan Friedman.