MSU, UPike ROTC programs to close

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

October 4, 2013

MOREHEAD — ROTC programs at Morehead State University and the University of Pikeville are slated for closure, as part of an effort by the U.S. Army to trim costs.

On Wednesday, the Department of the Army announced it would close 13 programs nationwide as part of cost-reduction efforts. The closures are to be effective by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

The Department of Defense plans to phase out the programs during the next two years. Juniors and seniors will be allowed to complete the ROTC program at MSU and UPike. Freshmen and sophomores will be given the opportunity to transfer to other institutions offering ROTC.

MSU’s Eagle Battalion was activated January 1, 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, when other colleges and universities were discussing closing their military programs. The program has continually grown during the past nearly five decades with more than 600 officers being commissioned. MSU’s ROTC program serves as the parent of the UPike affiliate.

“I am deeply disappointed in this decision,” said MSU President Wayne D. Andrews. “By nearly all objective measures, MSU’s program performs at a very high level. ROTC is an integral part of our University culture, and we’ll do all in our power to reverse this decision.”

According to figures released by MSU, in 2006-07, MSU Cadet Shannon Niki Martin was ranked third out of 3,806 cadets from 272 universities across the nation. In 2010-11, MSU Cadet Commander Wesley Tudor was ranked number one out of 5,342 cadets from 272 universities across the nation.

“This action is not a reflection of either the quality of your program or the outstanding cadets you have produced,” Thomas R. Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, wrote in a letter to the chancellor of Arkansas State University, another of the institutions affected, as reported by Inside Higher Ed.

MSU says it has contacted Kentucky’s congressional delegation, the Governor’s office, and members of the General Assembly to enlist their support for overturning the decision.