Hey military, get out of Kent State

Chris Kok

Tomorrow, the All Campus Programming Board will be having its Black Squirrel Festival. There will be food, music, vendors and tables for student organizations. But among all the fun and excitement, there will be a dark and menacing presence: the military.

That’s right — as usual, the military will be using this day to recruit people. It will probably have the pull-up bar, because that makes a better recruitment tool than a prosthetic-limb display.

Sadly, the military cannot be removed from campus by the university. The Solomon Amendment forces schools to give access to military recruiters. Failure to do so results in loss of federal funding. But even though the university can’t kick the recruiters out, we the students can. Tomorrow, students will be counter-recruiting at the military’s table. I ask all who are sick of the military and the war in Iraq to join in this action.

Some people might ask what I have against the recruiters, because, after all, they are still people.

First of all, I don’t appreciate somebody trying to put me in harm’s way. With the illegal war in Iraq spinning out of control, recruiters are resorting to lying about the danger of going over.

In fact, in 2005, recruiters from the Cincinnati area were caught on camera saying that living in America was more dangerous than going to Iraq. Not only is it physically dangerous in Iraq, it is also mentally unsafe. USA Today reported in 2005 that more than 12,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war vets were treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

This isn’t the only lie that recruiters tell. One of the first things that any recruiter will tell you is about the GI Bill. Though recruiters say the military will pay college education, the money will only cover about 60 percent of it, according to College Board 2005 statistics. GI Bill benefits are available for 10 years. Of the veterans whose eligibility expired in the 10-year period ending in 2004, only 8 percent of them used all of their money, and 30 percent didn’t use the benefits at all. Not only that, but GI Bill benefits count as financial support, making it harder to receive any further assistance.

Military recruiters will also talk about job training in the military. But really, what company is looking for someone with grenade launcher experience?

Also, the military is a sexist and homophobic institution. In 2005 Defense Task Force report stated that 50 percent of women at military academies reported sexual harassment. In August, Associated Press reported that military recruiters sexually assaulted more than 100 women during the past year.

Homophobia is also heavily present in the military, with 726 incidents of harassment in 2005 alone. This is supported in the military by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This policy is in violation of Kent State’s anti-discrimination policy.

Students should not have to put up with the predatory actions of military recruiters. We have come here to get an education, not to be duped into joining an imperialist war. So, if you want the military off campus, join the counter-recruitment. Let’s make this the worst recruiting day the military has experienced.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].edu.