Quazar Comments on CSUMB as “Military Friendly” Campus

Dear Peace Friends,Last week I read in campus news and events that for the third consecutive year CSUMB has been named a military friendly school by GI magazine.  I issued a comment with which you may agree or disagree.  In either case, for those of you who may be interested, the article and my response is copied below.

Campus Communications:

For the third consecutive year, CSU Monterey Bay has been named a “military-friendly school” by G.I. Jobs magazine.
The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges and universities that are doing the most to embrace America’s military members and veterans as students, according to the magazine’s publisher, Rich McCormack.

The magazine polled more than 8,000 schools nationwide in determining the results, examining criteria such as efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students.

Among CSUMB’s military-friendly practices are web pages with information specifically for veterans; a specially designated counselor and support team to help veterans make the transition from active duty service to accomplishing their personal educational goals; and a Student Veterans Organization that is preparing to launch this fall.

CSUMB has seen an increase in the number of queries and applications from veterans since the webpages went up and the veterans’ contact was put in place. The number of veterans contacting the university for pre-admission counseling has increased, with some of the queries coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Quazar’s CommentAs a member of several peace related organizations including the Peace Coalition of Montery County, the Peace Alliance and the Montery Peace and Justice Center, I cannot let this article go by without comment.

I want to say that I am quite pleased that CSUMB is considered a military-friendly school in the sense of being friendly, respectful and helpful to our veteran population.  I applaud our military-friendly practices listed in the article.  I hope that our friendliness toward military personnel does not amount to an institutional sponsorship of military policies.  For example, as a free-speech and right to assemble issue, I also support the right of CSUMB community members to make a case for the ROTC  joining our campus community as was done last year by our Associated Student President.

However, as a campus that was created as part of the supposed “peace dividend” at the end of the cold war, I hope that the majority of our campus community members choose to reject the installation of such programs as the ROTC and other programs that would reinforce a military culture on a campus.  We pride ourselves in being a vision driven university with social justice and concern for the historically disadvantaged enshrined in our values and our stated purposes.

We should not forget that as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’… A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

And so we must hold a delicate balance.  We must acknowledge that to build a university on a military base means we are operating with in an historic military culture.  These individuals and families who have volunteered to serve whether through the noble ambition to protect the nation, or simple recognition that it was the best way to improve their material circumstances as was the case for so many African Americans who couldn’t get a fair shake anywhere else, deserve our respect, and our gratitude.

And we must acknowledge that war is ever an enemy of the poor and of all social programs.  Seventeen years after the founding of this University we find ourselves embroiled in a minimum of three wars, countless hostilities and global military empire.  And we find ourselves nearly bankrupt to support a corporate military alliance.

The best way to support our troops and veterans, the best way to take care of our civic society and protect the CSU system is to oppose these corrupt wars.

To truly be a military friendly school is to love the warrior and hate the war.