Two days ago, on March 6, the Supreme Court made a decision upholding the Solomon Amendment. The Solomon Amendment is a law that cuts federal funding to universities if they don’t give military recruiters the same access to students that other employers get.
The reason that many universities and schools don’t allow military recruiters equal access to students is that they believe that would make them carriers of the military’s anti-gay message. Three months ago, a group of three dozen law schools convinced a federal appeals court that the Solomon Amendment violates their First Amendment rights because allowing the recruiters to talk to students associates the military’s discriminatory stance with the school.
Universities in the United States received a total of over 35 billion dollars in federal funding last year. That money often makes up a large portion of the schools’ budgets, making it almost indispensable. I believe that institutions that accept federal funding must afford equal access to the military.
The army recruiting signs and interview arrangements by the recruiters do not give the impression that law schools support the army or its anti-gay policy. The speech of the law schools is not affected. They are still free to protest the military’s discriminatory stance and even organize student protests against them.
The Solomon Amendment is clearly not unconstitutional. Congress has the constitutional power to “raise and support armies” and could order the universities directly to allow military recruiters in. The Solomon Amendment merely states that funding will be cut if the universities don’t. That is not unconstitutional.
The important thing is, military recruiters should be allowed the same access to students that other employers have. Students can always say no.