The Defense Department has announced a new get-tough policy with colleges and universities that interfere with the work of military recruiters and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.
Under rules that will take effect April 28, defense officials said they want the exact same access to student directories that is provided to all other prospective employers.
Students can opt out of having their information turned over to the military only if they opt out of having their information provided to all other recruiters, but schools cannot have policies that exclude only the military, defense officials said in a March 28 notice of the new policy in the Federal Register.
The Defense Department “will honor only those student ‘opt-outs’ from the disclosure of directory information that are even-handedly applied to all prospective employers seeking information for recruiting purposes,” the notice says.
Directories are an important recruiting tool because they include the names, birthdates, phone numbers and academic pursuits of college students that can be used to identify people with knowledge and interests that are particularly useful to the military.
The new policy also no longer lets schools ban military recruiters from working on campuses solely because a school determines that no students have expressed interest in joining the military. If other employers are invited, the military has to have the same access.
Federal funding can be cut off if colleges and universities do not give recruiters and ROTC programs campus access. While student financial assistance is not at risk, other federal aid, especially research funding, can disappear if a school does not cooperate.
The Pentagon can declare colleges or universities anti-ROTC if they prohibit or prevent a Senior ROTC program from being established, maintained or efficiently operated.
The new policy is, in part, the result of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the federal government’s ability to use funding as a means of forcing equal access for military recruiters and ROTC units on campuses.
By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Apr 2, 2008 14:12:38 EDT