Northern Michigan University has announced that it plans to fight the proposed closure of the 44-year-old Army Reserve Officer Training Corp program.
The U.S. Army announced earlier this week that NMU's ROTC program is one of 13 that are being eliminated at the end of the 2014-2015 academic school year. The Army cited the number of lieutenants commissioned annually from each program as a key factor in deciding to close the 13 programs.
NMU President David Haynes disagrees with the decision, and stated that the university plans to use any opportunity available to keep the program open.
"Northern Michigan University will explore every appeals opportunity available to fight this," said Haynes. "Our current cadets and all of the high school students in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin hoping to prepare to serve their nation in the Army following completion of their college degrees are being punished by this decision, and we will not take that lightly."
Haynes went on to add that the U.P. has a strong history of a high level of military service, and that the "U.S. Army should repay that tradition of service."
In the last 44 years of the program, NMU has seen nearly 400 students graduate from the military science/ROTC program, with 65 cadets currently in the ROTC program. The Army states that the closures do not reflect on the institutions themselves, but are a way to better use resources.
"The decision to close the 13 ROTC programs is not a reflection on the quality of those academic institutions or the outstanding officers produced at those schools," said Karl F. Schneider, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. "These closures are necessary changes that allow for more efficient use of available resources within the command, while maintaining a presence in all 50 states. The Army will continue to be good stewards of its resources through prudent transformation of the institutional Army."
President Haynes added that this closure will also have an impact on the Michigan National Guard by taking away a training source, and wants to see a clearer picture as to why the program was chosen for closure.
"We want a clear explanation of the methodology used in the decision-making, especially why so many rural institutions are on the list," Haynes commented. "Northern has seen growth in the number of officers commissioned over the past five years. We've also had numerous occasions when our cadets ranked among the best in the nation at U.S. Army ROTC leadership and training camps."
Haynes added that NMU is the second to lowest in cost of tuition in Michigan, and may be one of the least expensive universities to host an Army ROTC program.
NMU's current cadets will continue to receive full assistance through the 2014-2015 academic year, according to the Army. The 13 ROTC programs slated for closure are listed below. There are currently 273 Army ROTC programs nationwide.
University of South DakotaNorthern Michigan UniversityNorth Dakota State UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin--La CrosseArkansas State UniversityUniversity of Tennessee at MartinUniversity of North AlabamaGeorgia Regents (Augusta State) UniversityUniversity of Southern MississippiEast Tennessee State UniversityMorehead State UniversityTennessee Technological UniversityUniversity of California--Santa Barbara