Kagan e-mails school

BY ALLISON WHITE

From: owner-community@hlssun1.law.harvard.edu on behalf ofekagan@law.harvard.eduSent: Monday, October 06, 2003 9:04 AMTo: community@hlssun1.law.harvard.eduSubject: [HLS] Military recruitment

To the HLS community:

As many of you know, the U.S. military began to recruit on campus Friday, as it also did last year, notwithstanding the Law School’s anti-discrimination policy. I write to give newcomers to this community some background on this issue and to express to all of you some of my own views about it.

The Law School’s anti-discrimination policy, adopted in 1979, provides that any employer who recruits at the School and uses the services of OCS must sign a statement indicating that it does not discriminate on various bases, including sexual orientation. As a result of this policy, the military was barred for many years from using the services of OCS. Last year, the Dean of Law School, in consultation with other officers of the University, reluctantly lifted this ban for the military. The Dean took this action because of a new ruling by the Department of Defense stating that unless the Law School took this action, the entire University would lose federal funding under a statute known as the Solomon Amendment. (This amendment denies federal funds to an educational institution that “prohibits or in effect prevents” military recruiting.) The Law School does not receive significant federal funding, and our federally sponsored student loan programs would not have been at risk. The University, however, receives about 16f its operating budget from the federal government (with the Medical School and the School of Public Health receiving by far the largest share of this money for scientific and medical research). The Dean determined, as did all his counterparts at other law schools, that he should make an exception to the School’s anti-discrimination policy in the face of this threat to the University’s funding. I left this exception in force this year, once again because of the enormous adverse impact a prohibition of military recruitment would have on the research and educational missions of other parts of the University.

This action causes me deep distress, as I know it does a great many others. I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy. The importance of the military to our society — and the extraordinary service that members of the military provide to all the rest of us — makes this discrimination more, not less, repugnant. The military’s policy deprives many men and women of courage and character from having the opportunity to serve their country in the greatest way possible. This is a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order. And it is a wrong that tears at the fabric of our own community, because some of our members cannot, while others can, devote their professional careers to their country.

The Law School remains committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all persons, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As a result, the Law School remains opposed to the military’s discriminatory employment practices. No one should understand the presence of the military on campus as reflecting any change in the strength of this opposition.

I invite all of you to email me if you have any questions or comments on this important matter. I also invite you, if you wish to learn more about these issues, to attend a conference sponsored by Lambda on the military’s recruitment policies and the Solomon amendment, to be held on October 10 and 11.

Thank you very much.

Elena Kagan

Comments