ROTC students harassed

ROTC cadets are facing hazards, dangers and hatred-and they are dealing with these things on the UVM campus. “[Some cadets] can’t study, they don’t feel like they can go back to their rooms until late night when everybody’s gone,” Senior Military Instructor Kevin Deraps said. “That is not a position that a student should be in here, where we stress tolerance for everybody at the University.” “We have an issue right now with a roommate who has threatened physical violence,” Deraps said, but he points out that most of the incidents do not involve violence, though they happen fairly often. “This is not something that happens daily, but it happens every semester,” Deraps said. “Students think that because they’re here they have to put up with it, and so they do. They hear the comments from the professors, they hear the comments from the students and they just deal with it, Deraps said. “What we tell them is that that’s not right… there are systems in place to make com?plaints.” plaints.” “The UVM code of conduct makes it quite clear that students who are guilty of bigotry and intolerance are required to take consideration for others training or counseling” military studies professor Steven Koebrich said. The University’s policies Web page only explicitly guarantees protection from harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation and disability; still the ROTC has successfully petitioned the director of diversity and equity on behalf of cadets. “We go to the administrators, we use the RAs and the administrators and they do the investigation,” Deraps said. “We let the process work.” “They say ‘look, why am I being discriminated against for what I’m doing, whereas if it was somebody else or some other group it would not be tolerated?” Deraps said “It’s like any other problem with people who are picking on others or discriminating against [them], if you don’t say some?thing about it, it makes it ok,” Deraps said. “One cadet told me he tried to overcompensate by being nice,” enrollment officer for the ROTC Jill Nitz said. “Why should they have to put up with extra stress?” The students are being targeted specifically. Deraps noted that he does not get comments from people when he wears his uniform on campus. He attributes it to what he calls the “bully mentality,” and says that one reason cadets are being picked on is because they are in the minority. The hypocrisy of this bigotry at UVM is not lost on Koebrich, who said that many students here are “prejudiced against certain types of intolerance” while they openly engage in other forms of it.