The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday August 9th

Discrimination? Don’t ask. UNC needs to take moral stand against Army policy

The University’s increased collaboration with the U.S. Army flies in the face of UNC’s commitment to non-discriminatory employment practices.

The UNC system and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command recently signed a partnership to work together and share resources.

The University has a very clear policy on non-discrimination that clearly elucidates its commitment to offer educational and employment opportunities to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.

But the Army blatantly discriminates against gays through its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Any openly gay individual is discharged.

Part of this partnership will include accessing the Asian language talent at UNC, which includes the in-demand Arabic and Farsi languages.

The University will give the Army the ability to tap into the talent pool of Arabic linguists and shamelessly refuse opportunities to gays.

This is a national issue. The Army has fired numerous linguists whose skills are vital to the war effort merely because they wanted to serve their country as openly gay individuals.

A connection to such actions undermines the moral authority of the University and the integrity of its commitment to non-discrimination.

 It wouldn’t be new for the school to take a moral stance.

There is a clear precedent for holding the employers it deals with up to the same moral and ethical standards that it espouses itself. The University has severed ties with Russell Athletics because of its labor policies. It has also refused rights to Victoria’s Secret to use its brand on the company’s products.

So, rather than defer carte blanche, the University should tell the Army that it can no longer collaborate if it cannot share the University’s commitment to equal educational and employment opportunity.

To be clear, there is much to be gained from collaboration with the Army.

But there is also much to be lost by merely deferring to an employer that espouses policies that go against the values of our institution.

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