The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Hispanic Access Initiative another Army blunder

One of the more controversial organizations on campus is the Reserve Officers Training Corps, a U.S. Army reserve recruiters who try to sign up college students to be officers in the Army Reserves. Very few of their programs are more controversial than the Hispanic Access Initiative, a program aimed at specifically recruiting officers of Hispanic descent. The Army has said the reason for the blatant profiling is to increase the number of Latino officers, whose presence the Army feels is sorely lacking.

While critics of the ROTC have long said that a college campus is no place for Army recruitment, critics have especially taken issue with this specific program. Their biggest criticism is that the Army already has a tendency to target minorities and the lower economic classes during their recruitment drives. Critics say that Latinos, especially, are already over represented in the lower ranks and in dangerous missions. From critics’ point of view, any programs such as HAI that target minorities are racism in action.

The military has disagreed. According to recruiters, since the ROTC is open to anyone, it isn’t targeting specific races or classes, merely trying to get more people into an organization constantly short on manpower.

From the Army’s point of view there really is no way to silence the critics. If the Army continues with these programs then critics will say they’re trying to take advantage of the lower economic classes and racial minorities. If they don’t try to recruit more minorities then critics will be outraged when the amount of minorities in the Army drops.

The Army has really dug its own grave in this situation, especially with the HAI program. It would be bad enough if they had a program targeting minorities in general, but to target a specific racial group was public relations suicide.

Even the program they did initiate could have been implemented more effectively. They may have been able to avoid the whole situation by simply making a program called Diversity Access Initiative instead. It may do the exact same thing, but people see diversity and think of a positive change instead of more racial profiling.

It seems as though most people really don’t even want the ROTC here. People are angry that President Koester doesn’t just kick them off campus, but I’m with her on this one. CSUN, especially the students, would suffer if we didn’t put up with the ROTC because of the loss of federal funding kicking the ROTC or military recruiters out would bring.

It is somewhat ironic that one of the chief criticisms of the HAI program, that it targets the lower economic classes, is somewhat nullified by the main selling point of joining the ROTC. By signing up, candidates can potentially receive full scholarships and living expenses, up to $500 a month, according to the army’s Web site. This could possibly open the gateway to higher education for those who could not otherwise afford it. Perhaps part of the reason why the Army has a tendency to target the lower economic classes is because they have the most to gain from joining the Army?

Not that the ROTC is the best option when it comes to paying for college. The ROTC scholarships aren’t based on need but on merit. There are innumerable scholarships and grants out there that end up not giving out as much as they are able to each year because people just don’t apply. Not to mention that not everyone would necessarily fit in well with the Army.

But it is an option; a door to be left unlocked, if not opened.

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