It's been 40 years since anti-war sentiment sent cadets in training to become military officers marching off the campus of Stanford University. Now, there's word that they may be returning.
Stanford is looking into bringing the Reserve Officer Training Corps back to the university. School officials say a faculty committee will study the possibility of inviting the ROTC back to the campus. It was phased out in 1970 after the Vietnam War sparked student protests against the military and the draft.
The 11 Stanford students now enrolled in ROTC currently attend military classes at UC Berkeley, San Jose State and Santa Clara University.
Faculty members such as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry are pushing to bring the military leadership training programs back.
Kennedy says it's important for elite universities such as Stanford to help provide the country with military officers.
"We are in danger of seriously compromising a 200-year-old tradition in this society of the citizen soldier," Kennedy said during the presentation at Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting.
The military oftentimes becomes a family tradition, Kennedy pointed out, with children of high-ranking Army officers frequently enlisting in service as well.
Another factor playing into a possible rebirth of full-fleged ROTC at Stanford is the hot topic of gays in the military. Ending the Clinton-era policy of "don't ask, don't tell" would make the military more open for all, and therefore more of an option for students looking for a professional career as a military officer.
Of course, there's no guarantee that anti-war protesters would not target Stanford again in the future. After all, the Bay Area was the site of some of the biggest protests at the beginning of the Iraq War during the George W. Bush years. President Barack Obama announced last month that the U.S. will be ending the war in Iraq by 2011 and turning focus to a new strategy in Afghanistan but that could be fodder for more heated protests if our troops become stuck in another endless war.