Last week, when the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was officially repealed, UC Irvine's inaugural class of ROTC cadets began participating in the campus' new program.
That wasn't just a coincidence.
Campus officials first talked to the U.S. Army about establishing an ROTC program during the 2009-10 academic year, but that was delayed due to warring policies: the U.S. military's vs. the UC's.
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One one side was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." On the other, the UC's full nondiscrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.
Sharon Salinger, UC Irvine's dean of undergraduate education who had begun the initial talks with the Army, discovered this after approaching Kirsten Quanbeck, UCI's assistant executive vice chancellor and director of UCI's Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity, about implementing an ROTC program that fall, reports UC Irvine Today.
When President Barack Obama signed the bill repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Dec. 22, 2010, Salinger, Quanbeck and Kyhm Penfil, campus counsel, knew that regulations officially dismantling the policy would follow--as well as the opportunity to bring the ROTC to UCI.
Now, it's finally there and, as Salinger will gladly tell you, open to all.