It’s a calm, clear Friday morning. You’re on your way to your last class for the week and you start your shift at work later. Suddenly, you are stopped by the signature tan, industrial boots, green camouflage cargo pants and button-up shirt, complete with name tag and various badges. “Sorry to keep you, but perhaps this card will help. Contact me at a less busy time and we can chat.”
But you won’t call them. They will call and text you. Over and over again.
Most students and staff know that I’m describing the military recruiters on campus, whose tactics feel akin to a mall kiosk stand trying to sell you a poorly made iPhone charger, only worse. From pull-up contests in the quad to monthly calls and text messages, on-campus military advertising is misleading and their recruiting tactics are intimidating.
One advertisement posted on several campus bulletin boards touts the military as a salaried, full time job promising insurance, up to six-figures in college money and promotions.
What they fail to mention is the fact that you are going to war based off of an impulse decision that risks your life, others around you, and countless civilians who are inevitably affected. Not to mention the haze-like basic trainings that every new recruit goes through and up to an eight year time commitment. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s website, all military service obligations last for eight years, with two to five years of active duty depending on your branch.
I’m an able-bodied, six foot, 200-pound man, a perfect target for recruiters. I can testify firsthand to the statement that not only can the hounding by these recruiters be aggressive, they tend to provide you misleading information on such a large decision.
As a prime target, I was stopped by some recruiters in a 16-wheeler black truck that says “goarmy.com.” I took this as an opportunity to ask some questions to the recruiter but had to do 30 push-ups beforehand.
The recruiter chose to be anonymous but said they come to De Anza because it’s a hot-spot with many intelligent and young people. Next saying that they recruit approximately seven people a year.
One solution to this issue is to simply deny the military recruiters from visiting our campus. This seems like a simple rule we can doctrine at De Anza, but is in fact near impossible due to a federal law called the Solomon Amendment.
The law allows the Secretary of Defense to deny federal grants to institutions of higher education if they prohibit or prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus. One can conclude that this shows the civilian government endorses the aggressive and manipulative tactics of the military recruiters.
We cannot ban the ROTC from coming to De Anza College unless we want to run the risk of being defunded. The truth is that these groups, especially the military recruiters, are here to stay. I propose we allow them to coincide.
We should make school-wide laws that prohibit aggressive tactics used by the recruiters. An ordinance that puts all these groups on an equal playing field. If we are giving these people a platform to express their message, then it should be limited to a table either outside or in the cafeteria. No tolerance for badgering and misleading information.