The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Supreme decision

 Supreme decision
Supreme decision

Supreme decision

In the modern legal climate, where everyone wants to bring every grievance before a judge, it shouldn’t be very surprising that we are still dealing with a Clinton-era policy regarding sexual orientation in the military.

More surprising is that the United States Supreme Court has unanimously rebuked some of the nation’s top law schools and civil rights organizations, who attempted to get permission to take federal money while still denying military recruiters access to their campuses.

The case revolves around the Solomon Amendment, a 1996 law that specifically allows the Secretary of Defense to deny federal funding to universities if they prohibit military recruitment on campus. The universities brought forth a claim that this amendment violated their free speech based on their objections to President Clinton’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military.

It would appear that these schools are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. They argue basically that the federal government should give them money while they in turn reject a branch of the federal government from having the same basic access to their students that they grant to every business recruiter. Somewhere, the ghost of Benedict Arnold is enjoying this strange turn of events.

If the universities object to this policy, they have a simple solution: Don’t take the federal funding! It’s not as if the government is coming in and requiring these universities to get money only from the government. If that were the case, these schools wouldn’t have billions of dollars in endowments. Other funding sources would appear if the government wouldn’t take taxpayers’ money and funnel it to universities.

This case falls under freedom of expression guidelines. There is no question that these universities will be affected if they decide not to take federal funding based on their objections to these policies. They are free to make whatever choice they want.

However, freedom of expression does not guarantee that there won’t be consequences. The government offers the funding as a total package with military recruitment included. Universities cannot come along and try to trim off everything that they don’t like. Besides, the government is not going to subsidize institutions that turn around and stab it in the back. I certainly wouldn’t.

Conservatives need to use this opportunity to explore a much greater concept: The federal government shouldn’t even be subsidizing higher education. The federal government’s primary responsibility is to protect its citizens from all threats, foreign and domestic. Nowhere in that statement does it say that the federal government should have a stake in higher education. Not only should expansion of government need to stop, government needs to shrink.

Now is the time to begin weaning these schools from the federal trough. In the meantime, maybe the schools should accept a little responsibility when they decide to accept federal money. That is all permitting military recruiters on campus is – a meager requirement in return for untold amounts of federal funding. If elitist schools like Yale – which filed a brief in favor of the law schools – cannot support the very people who protect their freedom, tough luck. Go find the money elsewhere.

 

Reed Hanson is a junior electrical engineering major. He may be reached at [email protected].

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