S.C. Rep. Bobby Harrell, Speaker, S.C. House of Representatives
I was distressed to learn that thirty-three USC law professors recently sent a letter of support to the president of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (“FAIR”). FAIR is currently mounting a First Amendment challenge before the US Supreme Court to the Solomon Amendment. The Solomon Amendment is a federal statute that withholds specified federal funds from institutions of higher education that deny military recruiters the same access to their campuses and students that they provide to other recruiters. Basically, the Solomon Amendment keeps many schools, particularly many law schools, from banning the military from their institution.
The situation here is an easy one to understand. Law schools across the country readily invite employment recruiters to come to their campuses and meet with students. The recruiters provide the opportunity for students to learn about their firms or companies and pursue a job with them if they wish. This is true, unless the job being promoted is for the Judge Advocate General.
The only reason recruiters from the armed services are now allowed into many law schools is because of the Solomon Amendment. Many law schools only now allow military recruiters onto their campuses for fear of losing precious federal funding. If there was nothing linking the decision about letting recruiters come to their school and the federal funding the schools receive, law schools could easily turn the military away. The organization FAIR is trying to eliminate that link, and a group of thirty-three USC law school professors have just given their complete support to them.
Groups like FAIR take stances against the military. They do not want to provide any assistance to our armed forces but are more than willing to take any benefits the military may provide. The group of thirty-three want USC's law school to close its doors to the military. I wonder what would happen if USC's law school campus were being attacked by Al-Qaeda, would they keep the same closed-door policy?
This message by the group of thirty-three is nothing new in liberal, anti-military elitist circles. This type of crusade has been going on for years. In 2003 almost the entire student population of Yale signed a petition saying they would not meet with the Navy JAG recruiter that was coming to their campus. The one, and only, student who scheduled a meeting with the recruiter canceled their interview due in part to the actions of the student body.
There is nothing new about this subject, what is new is where the outcry is coming from. I had no idea that our professors here at USC's law school viewed our brothers and sisters in arms in the same light as the elitist liberal colleges of the North East. The kinship they share with their academic brethren of the North must be stronger than the patriotism they have for our soldiers, sailors and airmen who are risking their lives to defend freedom.
What concerns me the most is the message this action sends. USC's law school has a strong JAG presence, what are those students to think? Even worse, what does this say to law students who are considering a career in the military?
Public schools do have the option, if they choose, to refuse military recruiters open access to their campuses. However, if they do, they will not receive some of their federal funding from the government. FAIR is in court now to change that rule so law schools can keep their money while telling the government to keep their recruiters to themselves.
USC Law is a public institution that benefits from federal and state tax money. In fact, the salaries made by the group of thirty-three are paid in large part from those tax dollars. They seem to have a give and take relationship with the military of the government that pays them. They will give a military recruiter a Keep Out sign with one hand while they take a check out of the government's pocket with the other.
In the letter they sent, the group of thirty-three said the letter was written in their individual capacity, but the letter and press release that went out was sent using USC law school's equipment, two previous dean's signatures were included, and they clearly state in the first sentence how all members work at the University of South Carolina School of Law. I just hope this is not the official opinion of USC's law school. I urge the law school to come out against this message and support our military.
The Solomon Amendment requires law schools to give military recruiters the same access they give to all other employment recruiters. All the government is asking for is equal treatment. It is this equality the thirty-three USC law school professors and their friends at FAIR disagree with. It seems that law schools are truly the champions of diversity, or perhaps more accurately, they are the champions of selective diversity.