Columbia University's military association voices 'disappointment' over dean's missive

A student military association at Columbia University’s law school is disappointed by a dean’s letter last week that implied military recruiters are only welcome on campus because the school needs federal funding.

In the letter, which was viewed by Fox News, the Columbia Law School Military Association said Dean Gillian Lester’s “vociferous objection” to military recruiting conveys a “serious disregard for the military community, which includes not only those who have served, but also those with family or friends who have served.

“Members of the U.S. military are held in high esteem precisely because they defend our country with a sense of duty that extends beyond any administration’s political positions,” the group said.

In a blistering missive to students last week, Lester said it was welcoming recruiters from the Judge Advocate General Corps, the legal branch of the military, with “vociferous objections” because of President Trump’s recent transgender ban.

Lester said Trump’s decision to bar members of the transgender community from serving in the armed forces “conflicts directly with our nondiscrimination policy and with our values as an institution.”

In a statement to Fox News last week, a spokesperson for Columbia Law School said the university as a whole has a “long and proud history of supporting members of the military, veterans and their families.”

But Lester’s letter seems to state otherwise, CLSMA said.

“Singling out military recruiters is itself discriminatory and prejudicial,” the group said. “To serve one’s country, even while disagreeing with specific policies of whoever occupies the White House at the time, is an important part of the sacrifice associated with military personnel and reflects a selfless commitment to values and ideals that expand beyond the political arena.”

The group ended its letter by requesting Lester send an email to the law school community making it clear “military service does not reflect personal support for any policy of this or any other administration,” and the university supported any student’s decision to join the armed forces.

Columbia did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the CLSMA letter.