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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell still active at UC Davis

Despite the Dec. 22 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), sexuality is still grounds for dismissal from Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) at UC Davis.

The policy, which kept those who are openly gay from serving in the military, has been in place since 1993. Before the policy is inactive, President Barack Obama and officials at the Pentagon must certify that the new law will not affect military functions. There is a 60-day period before the new policy can be implemented.

“No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder,” said Obama during the signing ceremony.

The policy, which is officially titled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass,” was implemented to let lesbians, gays and bisexuals serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation a secret.

Additionally, disclosing information that one is homosexual or bisexual will also lead to discharge from the service. DADT protects those in service by prohibiting officers-in-charge from inquiring about sexual orientation.

Since its implementation, DADT has been responsible for the dismissal of approximately 17,000 members of the military. It is unknown how many students have been dismissed from ROTC.

“The program is governed under the same regulations as the Army,” said Major Cecil Edwards, recruiting operations officer at UC Davis. “The students are under contract [to abide by military policies].”

At this time, if a student openly admits to homosexuality or bisexuality, he or she can be dismissed from the program, Edwards said.

“We won’t know anything until the department of Army gives us new guidelines,” Edwards said.

According to Sheri Atkinson, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center (LBGTRC), not many military or ROTC members have sought services from the center.

“Not a lot [of ROTC members] have been active in the organization,” Atkinson said. In addition, there have not been any student-led groups that have rallied against DADT.

Recently, the Pentagon polled the military branches on the policy. The majority of the military were in favor of allowing openly gay and lesbian citizens to serve in the military. The strongest opposition came from Army combat units and the Marine Corps. The Pentagon survey showed that 21.4 percent of Army combat units and 32 percent of Marines reported that they will leave the service if DADT is repealed.

Supporters of DADT claim that unit cohesion, especially among combat and infantry units, is at risk without the policy.

“I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage,” said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who was opposed to the repeal, before the Senate voted on the issue.

“And we could possibly and probably, as the commandant of the Marine Corps said, and as I have been told by literally thousands of members of the military, harm the battle effectiveness vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military.”

Despite the opposition, the Senate defeated the ban 65-31 on Dec. 18.

SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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