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Problems of Rotc in Relation to Society

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The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), first practiced in Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont in 1819 and first conceptualized in the United States, is a program focused on military and field training alongside required college and university classes. ROTC also provides college scholarships covering tuition, books, and miscellaneous fees for students applying for this program. Additionally, the program claims to provide opportunities for students to develop and establish leadership skills through “hands-on” training. In return, students are required to serve under the government as part of the country’s armed forces. On the other hand, issues regarding the abuse of power within the units to the community have proven to be a serious problem in the program. For instance, Mark Welson Chua, a Filipino student studying in the University of Santo Tomas, was found dead floating in the Pasig River near the Jones Bridge caused by the ROTC unit of the university leading to the removal of the program’s mandatory conditions in the Philippines. Though this is only one out of many examples about ROTC, the program also contains serious issues regarding its function in society towards cadets such as their health, their education, and their character.

Colleges and universities often provide information about the benefits of joining ROTC and often disregard the main drawback of joining this program: being committed. In order to recruit more people to join the program, schools often mention tempting offers to students such as scholarships, ranks, and careers; in return, a small list of requirements that are to be followed. A serious commitment, especially for scholars, requires the respondent to sign a contract that may last up to 12 years. Committing to join the program has several downsides for a student to be wary of. First, cadets must always maintain good marks in their academics while maintaining a physically fit body. Second, the contribution of service towards the community must be presented in order to apply for the program. Most importantly, drawbacks of these offers are as important and serious because failure to comply with the following requirements will result in the student being expelled from the university and requiring legal actions to be taken into account.

First, if a student does manage to do the following requirements, the problems that students have to deal with after are the sheer amount of tasks given to them. Although exercise is a normal practice that everyone can do, ROTC cadets have to practice in a more heavy and advanced level of exercise. Cadets must wake up early in the morning to do some physical training such as sit-ups, push-ups, and various kinds of exercise in order to maintain a healthy physical condition. Along with physical training, cadets will also have to focus on their studies and academics leaving them both mentally and physically exhausted. According to the proposal of Josh Wells at James Madison University, “Army ROTC cadets are prime candidates for experiencing sleep deprivation,”. Due to the early starting time, the cost is “a lower total amount of sleep for the cadets per night”. As cadets suffer from sleep deprivation, it causes them to experience poor performances and build up stress, thus affecting their health negatively and decreasing their effectiveness in training.

Second, scholarships may be provided but maintaining it may prove to be difficult for cadets. Students apply for the ROTC program because of the free scholarships that it offers, but it risks their lives and freedom as a consequence. Though not needing to worry about student loans and tuition fees may be beneficial, cadets have to serve under the military for four years of active duty, and an additional eight more years of military service. As mentioned before, failure to accomplish ROTC’s standards can lead to being expelled from the university and other consequences regarding legal actions. Furthermore, cadets have to do physical training early in the morning and study for their lessons in college, leaving them exhausted and unable to perform well in school. In fact, cadets who suffered from this condition had proven to have difficulties in participating with the training due to physical fatigue and difficulty in concentration. Unfortunately, the ROTC program requires cadets to maintain their top performances while under its strict field training in order to be granted with a scholarship.

Lastly, ROTC claims to instill discipline and leadership to cadets but in spite of their claims, many cases of discrimination remain present within universities. One of the many victims is transgender individuals. Even though ROTC authorities have approved of the participation of transgender individuals in the program, discrimination remains. With some universities even going as far as denying entrance for transgender individuals, equal right is far from being applied in ROTC. In addition, transgender individuals also experience harassments from fellow cadets and high authorities after getting accepted by the university. While harassment is a serious problem, it has not been given enough attention to the government. Without the help of the government, transgender cadets are “not protected under the military’s Anti-Harassment Action Plan” and are “ left with no possible recourse to protect themselves,” according to the Harvard Crimson, thus continuing discrimination within ROTC and raising more issues pertaining to the program.

In conclusion, the cons of ROTC outweigh its pros. For instance, the need for heavy physical training that is scheduled throughout the week conflicts with their college lives. As strict training continues, cadets are also required to manage their time for schoolwork and their constricted schedules. Apart from their education, cadets will most likely suffer from sleep deprivation due to the many tasks that are given to them, preventing them from performing efficiently and effectively. Even though sleep deprivation is already one of the most common problems within colleges, ROTC cadets are forced to adjust in order to maintain a healthy body and to achieve ROTC’s standards. Another major problem to ROTC is discrimination. As ROTC claims to instill discipline, many cases of discrimination are found within countless schools further disproving this case. Even if cadets are capable of withstanding all the difficulties that ROTC have in its program, they would still have to deal with maintaining their status for 4 years of active duty and an additional 8 years after.

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Problems Of Rotc In Relation To Society. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from
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