USA: Opposition to military recruiters at high schools and universities

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With military recruitment in the USA down according to a many media reports (although some claim the opposite, i.e. TCV News), the battle about recruitment at high schools and universities identifies. Several universities dropped their opposition to military recruiters on the campus due to the risk of losing federal funding. Harvard Law School lifted its ban, which had only been introduced the year before, as reported by DailyPennsylvanian.com on 30 September. Those universities which attempt to ban military recruiters from the campus do so based on their anti-discrimination policy, especially citing the US military's discrimination of gays and lesbians, as expressed by its "Don't ask, don't tell" policy towards gays and lesbians.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a "friend-of-the-court brief" on 21 September, urging the US Supreme Court to rule that is is unconstitutional for the US Congress to force universities with an anti-discrimination policy to accept military recruiters on their campus.

On the ground, anti-recruitment activists face more problems than before. On 26 September, two anti-recruitment protesters were arrested in San Diego for blocking the entrance to military recruitment offices in downtown San Diego. Only a few days later, a student was violently arrested at George Mason University for standing four feet from a US Marine recruiter's table with a sign pinned to his shirt stating "Recruiters lie, don't be deceived." On the same day, campus police assaulted students peacefully protesting against the presence of Army National Guard recruiters at Holyoke Community College.

According to "Sec. 9528. Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information" of the No-Child-Left-Behind Act of 2001, schools must turn over all students' personal contact information to military recruiters upon demand. There is an opt-out clause, which allows parents or students to opt-out; however, this is not well known and often not well implemented. Counter-recruitment activists attempt to make students and parents aware of their right to opt out, and lobby high schools and colleges to provide adequate information about clause 9528 to parents and students, including clear information on how to opt out. The "Leave My Child Alone" coalition was formed to provide information and support to those working against military access to students' personal information.

Sources: TCV News, 30 September 2005, DailyPennsylvanian.com, 30 September 2005, American Civil Liberties Union, press release, 21 September 2005, SignOnSanDiego.com, 26 September 2005

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