Make room for ROTC
Rob McKenna | Thursday, January 16, 2014
I recently sat for office hours with Father Jenkins to talk about whatever came to mind, and this came to mind: Why is the annual ROTC Pass in Review always held in some remote place on campus? Three years ago, we had it in the JACC, and no one came to watch. For the past two years, we have done it on the edge of the universe at Arlotta Stadium — and no one has come to watch. After the second empty audience, it struck me that a university which talks so much about that nebulous ideal of tradition might provide a little help to one of its most traditional institutions, the organization to which it owes some small thanks for its survival. The lacrosse field hasn’t been cutting it, so I thought I’d ask if we could do it on one of the quads instead, for everyone to see.
Jenkins was reticent and raised two concerns. First, what about other student groups that might want to use South Quad or someplace like it? Second, what are we supposed to do about outside protests against such a display? For the former, I can only say that if somebody else wanted to use a huge chunk of South Quad, I’d be all for it. Except the guys that fly model airplanes — they’re out. For the latter, I will only say that the ire of protest groups did not stop the current university administration from inviting President Obama to speak in 2009. Although Notre Dame has seen some anti-war sentiment in its time, I feel confident that any pushback would be restricted to the lunatic fringe de facto, and I doubt it would draw much attention anyway, even if it accompanied Alumni Hall’s Quad Dancing.
Would it require some effort on the part of the ROTC? Of course. Would it be difficult to pull off? Of course not. The answer from Fr. Jenkins told me that it is a matter of heart, not ability. The ROTC is an integral part of the University; give us a little rhythm for a nice event.