Military belongs on campus - Macleans.ca
 

Military belongs on campus

The army has as much a right to recruit on campus as any other employer


 

A group of students at the University of Toronto are trying to stop the Canadian Forces from holding information sessions on campus on the grounds that they felt it was wrong to recruit students to be trained “to kill and to fight wars.”

With all due respect to the 30 students who felt strongly enough about the issue to show up and protest the information seminar: you’re all wrong.

The seminar being protested was being held behind closed doors and only students interested in hearing the information were in attendance. Recruiters did not station themselves in the middle of campus with megaphones, they did not stage drills in the quad as demonstrations of active duty and they did not interrupt class time.

What they did do was provide information on a legitimate career option for interested students.

This isn’t the first time that a relatively small group of students has taken it upon themselves to protect their peers from the so-called evils of military recruitment. Back in 2008, the University of Ottawa’s student newspaper was forced to turn down all advertising from the Department of National Defence after a small group of students forced policy through at the paper’s annual general meeting.

Melanie Wood, the paper’s editor at the time, had her head on straight. She told Metro newspaper that “university students should be able to judge an advertisement’s message for themselves, and have information from all sources upon which to base decisions.”

And that’s what students at the University of Toronto should be allowed to do, as well.

Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. The protesters are allowed to believe that the military is wrong, that the war in Afghanistan is an imperialist push into Asia and that killing in every form is an incorrigible evil. But they are not allowed to force their beliefs on their fellow students.

Post-secondary institutions across Canada are filled with bright, intelligent and agile minds who are capable of deciding what kinds of information they do and do not wish to receive. If those people are interested in pursuing a military career path, they have a right to do so, and a right to learn about it in the comfort of their campus.


 

Military belongs on campus

  1. What’s that weird “Cupwire” site you linked to? It looks awful.

    But seriously, the military should be able to set up recruitment posts at universities if they like. As long as they follow the same rules as others and don’t get preferential treatment, I see no problem.

  2. I was a recruiter once for 4 years. I can think of several instances but one in particular: he was an Alberta farm boy with no Dad, he and his mother immigrants from post-war Germany. He and his mom ran the farm day and night. He didn’t have the money to carry on in the big U. I recruited him from just a session as described into the RCAF ROTP. He eventually graduated in engineering. The last time I saw him he was a Group Captain (Colonel) on his way up. They sold the farm and his mother took up residence in a nice home in Calgary. Never would have happened if, in desperation he hadn’t dropped into the information seminar. As far as I know his cold wars helped save the world from the Soviets.

  3. Once again, typical Canada, a small number trying to dictate for the many. You dont have to like the armed forces but one should try to remember if ever this country is challenged of threatened its the Forces that deals with it, not some snotty nosed university type who has yet to prove their worth to the world. The very freedoms they enjoy and allows them to challenge were bought with by those who put their lives on the line not by those sideline warriors who contribute nothing. A simple thank you would suffice or better yet silence if its not for you..

  4. I’m a proud army wife, and while the men and women of the Canadian Forces are certainly taught to fight wars, they aren’t cold-blooded killers. My husband has never killed anyone, and many of his fellow officers and soldiers have never killed anyone either. There are many people serving in support roles in the Canadian Forces, and the men and women serving in military health care roles help out many locals when deployed overseas. Even combat arms, such as combat engineers, will help build roads, docks, schools, etc. All of those help the local population.

    Military life is certainly not for everyone, but it is a wonderful career for those who enjoy doing something different every day and who can’t see themselves in a desk job. Of course I worry when my husband is deployed, and I would be delighted if he never had to serve in a theatre of war again, but I knew his was in the army when I married him, and so I accepted that he would be put in danger on deployments. That said, the military has treated both of us very well and my husband has excellent job security and benefits.