Schools Want to Ban Military Recruiters Over Transgender Policy; But Such Bans Would Be Suicidal and Illogical, Says Transgender Advocate
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 6, 2019) – Two major universities have just announced that they would like to ban its recruiters from their campuses because of the military’s new policy regarding transgender people.
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But any such ban would suicidal as well as illogical, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who supported prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual identity (as well as sexual orientation) at his own George Washington University.
Dean Margaret Raymond has just reminded students that "The University of Wisconsin Law School does not discriminate against any person in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities on the basis of gender identity or expression. All employers using the facilities and services of the Office of Career and Professional Development must comply with this policy."
Provost Daniel J. Myers of American University has likewise written a remainder about that university's very similar non-discrimination policy for those interviewing on campus.
However, both reluctantly conceded that they will have to violate their non-discrimination policy because, as Raymond put it, "If we restrict access to military recruiters, the entire University of Wisconsin can lose a wide range of federal grant and contract funding" under the Solomon Amendment which mandates loss of funding if military recruiters are discriminated against.
Losses of such funding would be suicidal for any major research university, says Banzhaf, which is why both universities will stick to their decisions despite anticipated protests from many of their students when they return this fall.
In any event, suggests Banzhaf, banning military recruiters from campus is a largely symbolic gesture since even similar bans by many universities would be unlikely to pressure President Donald Trump to reverse his decision, and grant existing and prospective transgender military people equal rights.
Moreover, students who want to join - or at least discuss possibly joining - the military will simply visit a representative at an off-campus site.
If people should be banned from campus because of what they do or stand for, it would be much more logical to ban those from tobacco companies (which kill about 500,000 Americans each year), and/or gun makers or coal companies, both of which are very unpopular on most college campuses.
If universities think bans are warranted because the military engages in discrimination, why did they not press for similar bans when it refused most combat positions (vital for advancement) to women, or when it discriminates on the basis of other factors. These include obesity (almost 1/3rd are turned down on this ground), short stature (former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was kept out because he was only 4ft 11in), or anorexia.
Indeed, the latter ground is especially interesting because both it and transgender individuals involve mental perceptions at odds with those of most reasonable observers: those with anorexia are said to suffer from body dysmorphia which makes them think they fat rather than thin, whereas transgender people with gender dysphoria think they are of a different gender rather than the one indicated by their genitals.
It's too early to tell whether these two universities indicate a trend, and whether others will similarly protest the military over this policy as they did years ago regarding gay rights, says Banzhaf.