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President Recommends ROTC Affiliation Program

PLATTSBURGH, NY __If an agreement can be worked out, students attending the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh may be able to participate in an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program as early as next year on the SUNY campus.

After considering similar resolutions from both the Student and Faculty senates at SUNY Plattsburgh and listening to the arguments, pro and con, presented at a recent campus open forum, President John Ettling has decided to ask Provost Robert Golden to pursue a course of action leading to an affiliation agreement between SUNY Plattsburgh and the University of Vermont (UVM) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

"My intention is to bring to SUNY Plattsburgh students an option now widely available to students at colleges like ours throughout the State University of New York and across the country," said Ettling.

One of the benefits that ROTC provides to students is scholarship money. Each year, hundreds of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships. They're awarded to students studying in a variety of majors.

The idea of establishing an ROTC affiliation program at SUNY Plattsburgh was initiated by a group of retired officers in Plattsburgh who approached the College last February. Ettling then spoke with SUNY Chancellor John Ryan about the proposal, and Ryan encouraged the president to do what was in the best interest of the College.

At its September meeting, the Student Association passed a resolution in favor of the program. The Faculty Senate discussed a similar resolution, and an open forum to elicit comments from the campus community was held Nov. 2. The senate voted in favor of the program at its Nov. 7 meeting.

There are currently 26 SUNY campuses across New York that have full ROTC programs or are affiliated with programs at other colleges. The UVM Army ROTC program has affiliations with Saint Michael's College, Middlebury College, Champlain College, Castleton State College and Johnson State College.

ROTC is a college elective that teaches the fundamentals of leadership, confidence, problem solving, decision making and small group organization. The primary purpose of ROTC is to prepare college students to become officers in the active Army, Army National Guard or Army Reserves upon graduation.

The four-year program includes the basic course, military studies I and II, which is taken during the first two years of college. The advanced course, military studies III and IV, is taken during the third and fourth years and includes a five-week training session at Ft. Lewis in Washington State. These courses are designed around normal class times to accommodate academic schedules. Students would attend these classes, taught by ROTC instructors from UVM, on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. They would also participate in physical exercises at SUNY Plattsburgh and field training exercises at UVM.

"I wish to thank everyone who has taken the time to study the matter, discuss it with friends and colleagues, and express an opinion," said Ettling. "The tenor of the debate and the level of discourse over the past few weeks have reaffirmed my conviction that SUNY Plattsburgh is one of those rare communities composed of reasonable men and women who discuss their disagreements vigorously, openly and in an atmosphere of mutual respect and good will."
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