Chapter 13
Ending ROTC Discrimination
By Curtis F. Shepard, Ph.D.
This chapter offers a "case study" of
organizing efforts on one campus  
One of the more frustrating issues facing
UCLA   and its surrounding communi 
many lgbt campus organizers and
ty.  Though not yet successful at achiev 
activists is the continued presence on
ing it s aim of removing ROTC from the
campus of Reserve Officers Training
UCLA campus, Freedom Project Los
Corps (ROTC) programs.  In accordance
Angeles (FPLA) has heightened aware 
with guidelines set forth 50 years ago by
ness.  Even in as relatively enlightened
the United States military and the Depart 
and progressive a city as Los Angeles,
ment of Defense (DOD), ROTC pro 
with its strong, well organized lgbt com 
grams are obliged to discriminate on the
munity, there is a pocket of institutional 
basis of sexual orientation, a reality virtu 
ized discrimination in its midst, on the
ally unaltered by President Clinton s
campus of its own public university, that
"Don t  Ask, Don t Tell, Don t Pursue"
gives lie to the University s own stated
policy.  Many believe that such discrimi 
policy of nondiscrimination.
nation is anathema to the principles and
goals of higher education, an institution
A Brief History of the Anti ROTC
commonly thought of as open, tolerant
and safe for the exploration of a multi 
plicity of ideas and beliefs.  The dichoto 
Anti ROTC sentiment on America s col 
my created by the presence of ROTC
lege and university campuses did not
(and of military recruiters) is particularly
begin with protests against the military s
problematic on the growing number of
ban on lesbians and gay men.  Rather, it
campuses governed by policies that pro 
sprang from campus protests against the
hibit discrimination on the basis of gen 
Vietnam War in the 1960 s.  Although the
der, race, ethnicity, disability, religion
issue simmered in the years after the war,
and sexual orientation.  On such campus 
its true potency as a concern for lgbt peo 
es, ROTC calls into question the college
ple on campus increased in the post 
or university s true commitment to its
Stonewall explosion of lgbt activism.
own policy of nondiscrimination.
The U.S. Military became a symbol of
how lgbt people in this country are treat 
ed as second class citizens and the phrase
Although many people were involved in Freedom Project Los Angeles, key personnel
included community organizers David Mixner, Tony Leonhardt and Jim Phipps, along
with UCLA students Mindy Michels, J lio Rosa and Ali Beck.
E n d i n g   R O T C   D i s c r i m i n a t i o n
M     2 3 9


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