Joint Statement of Opposition to the Presence of Military Recruiters at OCU Law

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The following is a statement issued by NLG Law Student Chapter at the Oklahoma City University of Law in Oklahoma, City, OK in opposition to military recruiters on their campus (original text located at Student Chapter of NLG at Oklahoma City University of Law website):

JOINT STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION TO THE

PRESENCE OF MILITARY RECRUITERS AT OCU LAW:

To the administration of Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma City University School of Law:

We issue this statement as concerned student and community organizations out of our collective concern over the presence of military recruiters on campus at OCU.

Our concern is that the US military engages in discrimination through its so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This policy was initiated in 1993 by Democratic President Bill Clinton. This policy, unlike previous policies, allowed gay people to serve in the military as long as they were silent about the fact that they were gay.

From Moral Assaults, to Criminalization, to the stigma of Mental Illness, to the prohibition on marriage and adoption rights, LGBT Americans have long suffered in our nation. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is but another injury in the long line of continuing abuse. The policy “imposes upon gay soldiers the requirement that they proclaim a false straight identity to the world, either by remaining silent in the face of a persistent ‘heterosexual presumption’ or by actively claiming a heterosexual identity as the only realistic method of complying with the policy.” Instead of preventing discrimination, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” serves to mask discrimination under the guise of “political correctness” and oppressive silence.

In many jurisdictions, gay people are not protected against discrimination in employment. Statewide protections against workplace discrimination exist in only fourteen states; in the rest of the country, employees fired for being gay have no legal recourse unless they work in a locality with its own anti-discrimination ordinance. Even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed to such discrimination, the United States Congress has still failed to enact the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal to fire, or refuse to hire, someone because of his or her sexual orientation.

Unlike many corporations and private institutions, OCU has taken the progressive step of drafting a Non-Discriminatory Policy which states:

The School of Law provides its students and graduates with equal opportunities to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. In furtherance of this policy, the law school communicates to each employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other placement functions the school’s firm expectation that the employer will observe the principle of equal opportunity.

However, federal law prohibits OCU from following its own policies (or Regulation 6.19 of the American Association of Law Schools), since the Solomon Act provides that no federal funds shall be provided to any college or university that denies campus access to military recruiters. Recognizing the conflicting interests that Oklahoma City University faces in providing affordable education to students of limited means (through federal financial aid that is contingent on compliance with Solomon) and its stated desire to provide a non-discriminatory equal-opportunity environment, we call for the following ameliatory steps in lawful peaceful resistance to the unconstitutional aims of the Solomon Act: 1. We call for Oklahoma City University to implement a campus-wide “disclaimer policy” for the posting of military recruitment literature on campus. Currently OCU law School requires a disclaimer for all military recruitment literature posted at the law school, but OCU Student services (serving the campus as a whole) does not require such a disclaimer. We believe that it is time to close this loophole in school policy. Military recruitment literature should have a disclaimer on it, no matter where it is posted on campus. 2. We call for the administration to join other law schools across the country in opposing the Solomon Act through litigation. The Act has already been found unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds in other locales. Given this persuasive authority, OCU should seek similar relief in this Circuit. 1. We call for Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that is destructive to the principles of our Constitution, the fabric of our communities, and the lives of LGBT students, service members, and Americans. We also call for Congress to repeal the Solomon Act because it is unconscionable to force higher education to engage in discrimination.
List of Organizations that have officially endorsed this statement: National Lawyers Guild, OCU Law School chapter

Lesbian and Gay Law Students Association of OCU

Red River Democracy Project

Cimarron Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Oklahoma City Code Pink

Oklahoma City Women in Black

Tulsa Peace Fellowship

The Peace House

Green Party of Oklahoma

Oklahoma County Greens (GPOK local chapter)

Green Country Greens (GPOK local chapter)

Rural Oklahoma Greens (GPOK local chapter)

10 U.S.C. § 654 states in part:
(b) POLICY.-A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that-
(A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
(B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
(C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion or intimidation;
(D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
(E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual . . . .
(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

Tobias Barrington Wolff, Article, Political Representation and Accountability Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell , 89 I OWA L. R EV. 1633 , 1637-38 (2004).

See Oklahoma City University School of Law Student Handbook 1 (2003-04).

See generally 32 C.F.R. § 216.3 (2005).

See e.g. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights v. Rumsfeld, 390 F.3d 219 (3d Cir. 2003), See also Burt v. Rumsfeld , 2005 WL 273205 (D. Conn. 2005).