Student-led effort advances potential military affairs minor at UC Berkeley

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UC Berkeley students enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, are pushing to introduce a military affairs minor with support from the ASUC.

Campus students who train in the ROTC program hope to create the minor in order to receive formal academic accreditation for the extra classes they take with the programThe ASUC introduced a resolution Oct. 8 supporting the military affairs minor, sponsored by ASUC Senator Andy Theocharous and ASUC President Alexander Wilfert.

Theocharous, who served in the military and whose platform included creating a military affairs minor, said he wants to help build stronger relations between the ASUC and the ROTC. He said he is highly confident that the minor will be implemented within this academic year and that all of the respondents to a survey sent to the ROTC community replied in support of the minor.

“There is currently no formal academic accreditation for the classes that they are taking for the ROTC program,” Theocharous said. “Let’s say that an ROTC person wants to take a civilian job — they are unable to show their participation in the ROTC program to a potential employer.”

Campus junior Noah Choi, who is in the Air Force branch of the ROTC, said the main benefits of the minor are that he would receive recognition of the additional hours spent in the program and an official record of his military affairs background.

No additional classes will be added for the minor, which will comprise current ROTC classes and additional upper division courses. The campus ROTC has not yet determined if this minor option will be available solely for ROTC students or if it will be open to the entire student body, according to Theocharous.

The minor would require students to complete at least five upper division courses — two would be from an established ROTC track and the other three from a list that includes classes such as “International Conflict: Analysis and Resolution” and “The Politics of Displacement.” Theocharous said these requirements will give cadets a more “nuanced understanding of conflict.”

Theocharous said the minor is currently in the process of gaining approval from the ROTC professors in the military science department. Once professors from all three branches of the ROTC sign off on the proposed minor, the Divisional Council of the Academic Senate will review the minor.

Campus professor of military science Lt. Col. Aaron Elliott said in an email that the minor has been in discussion among students for several years.

“We’re excited the College of Letters and Sciences and UC Berkeley’s Military Officer Education Committee is conducting a thorough analysis of this potential minor,” Elliott said in an email. “Numerous students have worked hard to petition and develop the minor, and we fully support UC Berkeley’s decision on the fate of this matter.”

Contact Boyce Buchanan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BuchananBoyce.