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ROTC cadets in Houston. Doug Benc/Getty Images
Forty-years after Stanford University kicked the Reserve Officers' Training Corps off campus in protest of the Vietnam War, the school's Faculty Senate voted to invite them back.
The about-face, reports The Los Angeles Times, was prompted by the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which banned gays from serving openly in the military:
Stanford's President John L. Hennessy said he would soon start discussions with the military branches to return ROTC to the university, joining other elite schools in welcoming back the officer training units that had been pushed off campus or denied academic standing during the antiwar movement of the 1970s. Columbia University took similar steps last week, Harvard did so last month and several others are considering the actions.
Offering the military a bigger role on campus, Hennessy said after the vote, "would provide more opportunity for dialogue, and I think that dialogue is critically important in a democracy." He said it was too early to say which ROTC units might reopen or how soon.
Stanford, clarifies The New York Times' At War blog, did not ban ROTC recruits from its campus. Instead, it banned the training programs. At War says the government pays for those programs and the high cost of Stanford could make ROTC's return difficult, especially as budgets get cut:
Given that taxpayers finance R.O.T.C. training, the military could probably produce two to three R.O.T.C. graduates from a less expensive school for the cost of every Stanford cadet.