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After 4 Decades, ROTC Returns To Yale

MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

Yale University is the latest elite school to announce it will reinstate the Reserve Officer Training Corps - ROTC - on campus. As Diane Orson of member station WNPR reports, many students like the idea.

DIANE ORSON: Yale will host a Naval ROTC unit as part of a consortium with the College of the Holy Cross and will enroll students from public and private colleges across Connecticut. U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says it's an opportunity for the military and schools like Yale to interact and learn from each other.

Secretary RAY MABUS (U.S. Navy): And these relationships matter. Our nation's universities produce this country's future political, economic, scientific and business leaders. The education of leaders is about exposure to new and different ideas.

ORSON: Yale hasn't had ROTC on campus since the early 1970s, when the military left many prominent universities amid anti-Vietnam War protests. Later, Yale struggled with the Department of Defense over its policy on gays and lesbians. After the vote by Congress to allow gays to serve openly, several schools announced plans to bring ROTC back.

Paul Zen just graduated from Yale. He wishes he'd had a chance to enroll in ROTC.

Mr. PAUL ZEN (Yale Graduate): I think it's a very good thing for Yale to do in that it provides more options for the students.

ORSON: After the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a survey of Yale undergrads showed overwhelming support for a return of ROTC.

For NPR News, I'm Diane Orson in New Haven. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Diane Orson is WNPR's local host for Morning Edition. She's also a reporter for WNPR, as well as a contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories are heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane began at WBUR in Boston and came to Connecticut in 1988 as a co-producer for Open Air New England. She shared a Peabody Award with Faith Middleton for their piece of radio nostalgia about New Haven's Shubert Theater. Her reporting has been recognized by the Connecticut Society for Professional Journalists and the Associated Press, including the Ellen Abrams Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Walt Dibble Award for Overall Excellence.