Commencement kingpin

Giving up your morals for money or to appease a powerful force is usually called selling out. Green Day did it, Metallica did it, Korn did it and Oswego State is about to do it on May 15, 2010 during the commencement ceremony.

Students graduating from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts will be privy to a talk from Secretary of the Army and former 23rd district Congressman John McHugh.

The long-time representative for the area will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from this college.

Yet as the representative of this nation’s armed forces, McHugh has been suspiciously non-committal toward his stance on the "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy. Fifteen years ago, this very college took a determined stance against the Army Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program on this campus for its support of the policy.

McHugh is a surprisingly big name for an Oswego State commencement ceremony. For us to give a degree to a man based on his stature, despite violating a core commitment of this college, is the definition of selling out.

A select group of faculty caught on and had planned to take action by publicly confronting McHugh at the commencement ceremony. Administration higher-ups however, caught wind of the plan and have consequently squashed these plans.

Vice President for enrollment and affairs Joe Grant commented on the matter, noting that he wanted people at graduation to have an "enjoyable ceremony" and that McHugh should be given the opportunity to "represent himself well."

What about the thousands of LBGT U.S. citizens in the armed forces? Have they been given the opportunity to represent themselves well? What about the multitude of students, faculty and administrators who openly embrace their sexual preferences? Are they supposed to sit down, listen quietly and be obedient so that a thousand people can have an "enjoyable" Saturday morning?

Just when we thought Oswego State’s faculty was going to take a stand for what is right and what should be fought for, they let the power’s at hand crush any ounce of youthful vigor and integrity.

McHugh’s views may align with a large portion of the 23rd district, but they do not represent the core values of this college community.

Honoring him for his achievements in the district while ignoring the college is just another means for Oswego State to kiss ass in Central New York and is a misguided attempt at stirring up some self-induced importance for the college.

We at The Oswegonian believe this is an outrage and we encourage all students, faculty and staff to boycott the commencement ceremonies and make it known that the people of this college will not tolerate intolerance.

– Clarification

According to the Oswego State Office of Public Affairs, ROTC was not officially banned from the college. In the early 1990’s, faculty assembly and the college administration resolved to take action against ROTC for their support of banning homosexuals in the military. The college, however, did not officially ban the organization based on the assumption that re-elected President Bill Clinton would abolish the policy of banning homosexuals in the military. He did not, and instated the policy of "don’t ask, don’t tell". In late 1996, ROTC voluntarily removed its presence from the Oswego Campus along with roughly 30 other campuses. It’s debatable whether the organization left as a result of increased pressure from Oswego administration.