77-year-old ROTC program bites the bullet
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 14:10
After 77 years on campus, the A-State ROTC program is being scheduled to close at the end of 2015, affecting 122 students.
Over the weekend an email began circulating stating the U.S. Army would be closing 13 programs in the nation and A-State’s ROTC was on the list.
In a press release, Bill Smith, executive director of marketing and communications, said the ROTC program didn’t meet “viability standards” set by the Department of Defense. The program at A-State has produced 10 or less cadets a year since 2011, which is one reason it is possibly being cut.
“Our command was asked, without any reason, to dial back the number of graduates we had to 10,” Smith said in the press release. “So now we’re wondering why we were asked to do something that now seems to be a potential justification for a change.”
Before 2011, A-State’s ROTC produced 12-18 graduates a year.
Tim Hudson, A-State chancellor, said in a statement Tuesday that the university has reached out to members of Congress to seek clarification on the situation.
“Arkansas State whole-heartedly supports the continuation of the Red Wolf Battalion and our Army ROTC program,” Hudson said in the statement. “Our ROTC program and our military science curriculum are an integral part of this university’s history, and we will fight to keep it available to our students.”
Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications and economic development, said the university is hoping to convince the Department of Defense to reverse its decision. For the time being, A-State will work to create a smooth transition for moving current ROTC students out of the program if it closes.
Hankins added he hopes to help save the program, but enough information is not available at this point.
In its 77 years of existence, the ROTC program has generated more than 2,500 graduates