Faculty Senate to meet on Thursday

The senate will hear reports on ROTC at Stanford, federal science policy and the 2008-09 accomplishments of the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy.

The Faculty Senate will convene Thursday for the fourth – and final – meeting of winter quarter. 

The senate will hear a report on the Reserve Officers' Training Corps by William J. Perry and David Kennedy, who believe that bringing ROTC back to Stanford would be good for the university, students, the military and the nation.

Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997, is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus.

The senate also will hear a report on science policy matters, presented by Arthur Bienenstock, special assistant to President John Hennessy for federal policy, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering and of applied physics and a professor at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

Bienenstock's report will focus on a variety of topics, including federal research budgets, export controls, increased regulation of federally funded research and the negative consequences the cap on indirect cost recovery has had on faculties and universities.

In addition, the senate will hear the annual report of the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy for 2008-09, presented by Philippe Buc, chair of the committee and a professor of history.

Current status of ROTC at Stanford

ROTC is a college-based program for students who want to become commissioned officers in a branch of the U.S. military.

Stanford has cross-enrollment agreements with three nearby universities that have ROTC programs. Under those agreements, Stanford students receive military training while working toward their undergraduate degrees at Stanford. Courses taken in ROTC programs are offered by and through:

  • The Navy and Marine Corps ROTC program at the University of California-Berkeley, which has a Military Affairs Program, including the departments of Military Sciences, Naval Sciences and Aerospace Studies, in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies;
  • The Army ROTC program at Santa Clara University, which has a Department of Military Science in the College of Arts and Sciences; and
  • The Air Force ROTC program at San Jose State University, which has an Aerospace Studies Department in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Six Army ROTC classes are taught on the Stanford campus. The classes, which focus on leadership, are offered for freshmen and sophomores, including "Leadership and Personal Development" and "Leadership in Changing Environments."

The courses do not qualify to be used toward the 12-unit requirement for full-time registration status or toward satisfactory academic progress requirements for Stanford undergraduates. Certain ROTC courses may be eligible to be used as transfer credit if they qualify under Stanford's transfer credit practices.

History of ROTC on campus

According to Kennedy, Stanford's Army ROTC program began in 1919; Navy and Air Force programs were added shortly after World War II.

"During World War II, an estimated 50 percent of undergraduate men at Stanford participated in ROTC," according to a 2002 article in Stanford magazine. "The postwar pinnacle was in 1956, when 1,100 students were officer trainees. The ranks gradually began to thin, and by the time the Senate acted 13 years later [disbanding the program], ROTC numbers had shrunk to a few dozen."

The program came under attack at Stanford during the Vietnam War. It was one of many issues – classified military research was another – that galvanized students into protests during the tumultuous anti-war era. In May 1968, an arson fire consumed the Navy ROTC building on campus.

In 1970, after several student and faculty votes, Stanford stripped the courses of academic credit, eliminated faculty rank for military instructors and removed the program's departmental status in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Currently, 11 Stanford students are enrolled in ROTC: five in Army ROTC, four in Navy ROTC and two in Air Force ROTC, according to the Registrar's Office.

The senate will meet at 3:15 p.m. in Room 180 of the Law School. Discussion is limited to members of the senate, but members of the Stanford community may request to attend the meeting by contacting the Academic Secretary's Office at 723-4992 or Trish Del Pozzo at delpozzo@stanford.edu.