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ROTC to hold ceremonial Pass in Review today

Matt Bramanti | Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The annual ROTC Pass in Review will be held today in Loftus Sports Center, despite a 1,000-signature petition calling for a South Quad location for the ceremony.The event, at which Notre Dame’s Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units present themselves to University President Father Edward Malloy, is a traditional year-end exercise for cadets and midshipmen.ROTC Tri-Military Commander Kevin Conley said the ceremony’s heritage dates back to the medieval era. In the middle ages, noblemen hosted parades of their armies in honor of visiting dignitaries.He said the modern iteration of the Pass in Review pays tribute to Notre Dame’s traditional support of the military.”The real purpose of the ceremony is to honor the University for the support they give us during the year,” Conley said.During the event, ROTC cadet leaders will call their units to attention and present them to Malloy and their assembled officers. The reviewers will then present several top cadets with ceremonial swords – traditional military awards for outstanding performance. Malloy is expected to give brief remarks about the cadets’ responsibilities before the student-soldiers parade before the reviewing platform.The location of the ceremony was a controversial issue this year, as it has for the past three years. In 2001, administrators moved the event to Loftus from its prior location on South Quad, citing the potential for inclement weather. The Pass in Review has been held on the AstroTurf of Loftus ever since, prompting some students to suggest that administrators are trying to avoid a public confrontation between ROTC cadets and protesters.In years past, the Pass in Review has been the target of protests by members of Pax Christi and the Catholic Peace Fellowship.Sheila Payne, a 2003 Notre Dame graduate who works with the Catholic Peace Fellowship, said she doesn’t expect an organized protest this year, but her organization is still devoted to removing ROTC courses from Catholic campuses.”We’re still ardently hoping that one day, the University will stop hosting the ROTC program,” she said.In an effort to reinstate the event to South Quad, members of the Student Senate circulated a petition among student residence halls last fall. The petitions drew over 1,000 signatures, according to former student body president Jeremy Lao.Lao said student government leaders asked administrators to hold the event outdoors, but were rejected.”We got a letter from Student Affairs saying no,” Lao said.He did not elaborate on administrators’ reason for the denial.Student body vice president Karla Bell said she and president Adam Istvan are continuing student government’s support of an outdoors location for the Pass in Review. “It’s something that’s really important to us,” Bell said. “We fully support it.”