Ivy League should do more to promote ROTC: Column

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by sheriff3, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    This is an editorial piece in USA Today.... very interesting read....

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opini...w-faust-qualities-leadership-column/82584590/

    If Harvard's president really wants more military leaders, she must match words with action.
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    Harvard President Drew Faust has many fine things to say about the military. Her eloquent words recently graced the air at West Point, where she delivered a remarkable, literary speech, complete with the ancient advice that guided Achilles, “To be speakers of words and doers of deeds.” She told the cadets to craft words and deeds for the ends of leadership — for each other, for the humanities and for the nation. Faust expressed admiration for the audience’s soon-to-be officers, and said, “I wish there were more of you.”

    But is that really true? Does she? While Harvard graduated 100 second lieutenants in 1963, since 9/11 they’ve averaged about seven per year. When one considers today’s military is half the size it was fifty years ago, Harvard’s steep drop is even more striking. In her speech, Faust mentioned that at graduation in 2008 she congratulated five newly minted officers — while only four saluted on graduation day last year. During her tenure, the numbers have actually gone down.

    So what gives? How can a leader speak so passionately on the critical importance of military service, and yet represent a culture and institution that clearly does not live up to that ideal? What explains this discrepancy?

    Let’s start with culture. As critic William Deresiewicz noted, Ivy Leaguers actively seek jobs in which they can win individual victories. Harvard’s kids are the masters of convention — acing tests in fields like medicine, law, politics and finance, all of which offer relatively rapid positive feedback. In 2007, half of Harvard students with jobs lined up after graduation were committed to finance or consulting. These professions offer status, while the military offers sameness. In the military, progress in rank occurs at a prescribed, metered pace. For uniformed folks, accumulated experience weighs heavily because shiny credentials can’t stop the inbound storm of steel. Lives filled with A+’s and gold stars produce exceptional hoop jumpers and excellent sheep. At war, excellent sheep make for excellent slaughter.

    On some level, the military and Harvard are natural rivals: the military respects Ph.D.-ability with a barfight mentality, while Harvard respects JD-ability with a sue-the-barfighter mentality. Financial objectives divide us too: the military offers no exponential growth, 10X or scalable profits, just a single life to give, one country to protect.

    Harvard students are special, indeed, as their breathtakingly low selection rates attest. But a culture of specialness — that sees itself beyond service — transcends percentages and is more noteworthy for indicating what Harvard values as an institution. Investments are indicators, and with a $37 billion endowment, Harvard can afford to do a lot of investing. And yet, Harvard indirectly forces ROTC students to other schools in a sort of perverse, reverse “Field of Dreams” strategy: “If you don’t build it, they won’t come.” The main support Harvard provides their ROTC kids is a few funded Zipcars to drive them off campus.




    From the parking lot to the classroom, as Frank Schaeffer put it, “The lesson the Ivy League teaches has become: I am the most important person in any room.” In contrast, the military teaches all are unique; no one is special. While Harvard might prefer the lone genius, the power of one, in the military we know our fates are linked from day one. Gen. George Patton was a prophet on this point. In his famously vulgar speech in 1944, he pointed out, “Every man in the army has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.” He showered praise on truck drivers, quartermasters, cooks and highlighted a story about “one of the bravest men” he ever saw, a soldier-repairman fixing a telegraph wire amid a “furious firefight in Tunisia.” We all have a role, a part to play, and we must all live up to the responsibility, as the Army's 80s-era jingle went, to “Be All You Can Be” — never for yourself but for the good of the unit and country. Non sibi sed patriae.



    It could be Harvard graduates have climbed ivy so high they can’t inhale the smoke of battle or feel the fog of war. But that’s precisely what leaders are for — to shape cultures and institutions. This is President Faust’s personal Tunisian task: to climb the ladder that needs climbing, to lead, no matter the conditions of cultural resistance and institutional rigidity, and to reconnect the wires between two vital actors, Harvard and the military, for the good of society. Patton would be proud.

    President Faust’s speech was a “who’s who” of historical accomplishment. One that apparently ended up on the cutting room floor was William Tecumseh Sherman, who wrote, quoting a friend, in 1888, “Mere knowledge is not power, it is simply possibility. Action is power, and its highest manifestation is action with knowledge.” Knowledge matters to history professors and Harvard presidents alike, but whether it’s Sherman, Achilles or Patton’s words that inspire President Faust doesn't matter. What matters is the action that follows. She’s spoken the words. Now it’s time to do the deeds.

    Major ML Cavanaugh is a U.S. Army strategist and a non-resident fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point. Follow him on Twitter @MLCavanaugh. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. government.

    In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the Opinion front page and follow us on Twitter: @USATOpinion.
     
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  2. HH6

    HH6 Member

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    My DS was all ready to do ROTC at Harvard...couldn't get in. Had the grades, stats, letter of rec from ROTC Cadre...not the right demographic in my opinion. Also, from what I have read Harvard doesn't really want ROTC.
     
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  3. bman

    bman Member

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    Interesting that the author chose such dated statistics to make a case when much more recent statistics are available - for instance the statement that in 2007 half of Harvard seniors with jobs lined up (not counting those going to grad school, etc.) were going into finance or consulting. By 2009 that percentage was down to twenty percent. I'm always a bit wary of people who cherry pick statistics from the past to try to make a case. I also think it would be more informative to see how many ROTC students were admitted as opposed to how many commissioned at graduation and if the precentages are comparable to other schools. And I'm not sure why the article says "Ivy League" in the title when the only school it speaks about is Harvard. Princeton has a long tradition of supporting ROTC.
     
  4. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Does Harvard toss in Room and Board to ROTC students?
     
  5. HH6

    HH6 Member

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    Nope. Nothing.
     
  6. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Then Harvard doesn't put their money where there mouth is. They are foolish because Harvard makes more money off ROTC. When parents make under $150,000 per yr Harvard tuition is a straight 10% of parent income. The avg ROTC parent makes far less than that, yet Harvard gets paid sticker price by the Gov't. Harvard should be tossing in Room and Board. PERIOD.

    When my son got to choose between three of his selected 4 yr national scholarships 'paid room and board' was definitely one of the factors considered.
     
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  7. bman

    bman Member

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    I believe all Ivy's give aid based solely on need (i.e. no athletic scholarships, ROTC room and board, etc.). Bear in mind that if Harvard charges 10% of parent income for tuition, then room and board is free. That is to say that if the total parent contribution is capped at 10% of income, and all of those funds go towards tuition, then there is no charge for room and board. I believe most Ivy's at this point will give 100% tuition plus room and board to any family with income of less than $65,000. They will require a student to work to pay about 3-5 k per year towards tuition which can be a problem for those in ROTC as unit involvement precludes most jobs. The Princeton ROTC alumni make up for this by granting ROTC cadets a scholarship in like amount to cover this.
     
  8. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Not all Ivies are exactly the same (we are currently applying with kiddo #3) but they ARE the same in that it is strictly Financial Aid, no Merit money at all. All Aid is determined based on income relative to tuition/room/board. Room and Board is about the same at all colleges (including state schools with a negligible difference).

    Harvard is actually by far the cheapest Ivy if you make between 65,000 and 150,000 (which is the middle of the bell curve) because they do a strict 10% calculator. However, not if you are an ROTC student. If you are an ROTC student and you go to a school that tosses in room & Board that totals $50,000 saving by graduation. That is a hefty chunk of change.

    So in effect, if you are NON ROTC and make between 65,000 and 150,000 Harvard is the least expensive but if you ARE and ROTC student it is the most expensive.

    If ROTC is covered by the government at full sticker price (which is more than most ROTC parents would pay if the student was admitted non rotc), the Ivies should throw in room and board.

    My middle son at WashU in St Louis gets room and board tossed in. One of the reasons (though not the only reason) he chose that over UMich or Georgetown.

    Harvard ROTC policy less generous than other schools:
    http://www.myfoxboston.com/news/harvard-rotc-policy-less-generous-than-other-schools-1/139516328
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  9. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    That is not exactly how it works. There is a combined charge for every thing (not parsed between tuition room / board though they do tell you what contributes to each dollar required IE tuition, books, room, board, activity fees, wellness fees, etc) then there is the expected parent contribution. this again is not divided out between tuition or room /board.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  10. bman

    bman Member

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    I don't believe giving need-based room and board to anyone who fully pays for tuition (be it through ROTC scholarship, another scholarship or parents paying cash) is the solution. Rather, I believe the proper alternative would be to treat an ROTC scholarship not as a scholarship at all, but rather as a loan, as the student has to pay it back with years served. As it has been alluded to, at Harvard (and many other colleges for that matter) scholarships one receives reduce the "need" in need based aid and thus lessen the amount of need based aid a student receives. Loans, however, don't decrease need based aid. At present, if a student at Harvard qualifies for need based aid and receives an ROTC scholarship, the need based aid will be decreased dollar for dollar by the amount of the scholarship. Were the ROTC scholarship to be treated as a loan, the need based aid would not be decreased at all.
     
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  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    To further your analogy.... if one drops from any ROTC program after the first year one is required to pay back the "loan".
     
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