On April 8, the University of Dallas Student Government (SG) passed a resolution on behalf of ROTC students, calling on administration to recognize more ROTC course credits or to create an ROTC program minor. Provost Dr. Jonathan Sanford is addressing this issue by proposing a new 15-credit leadership concentration to recognize more ROTC credits.
SG passed the resolution in response to a Feb. 15 University News article that publicized this issue, according to Senior Class Representative Elijah Montes. As it stands, ROTC students at UD only receive general studies credit for eight of their military science credits acquired at the University of Texas at Arlington, leaving 23 credits unaccounted for in their transcripts and GPAs.
“The senators were pretty shocked about the information [in the article] because we had no clue and since then it has been at least touched on once each senate meeting with the exception of maybe one or two when it was dominated by amendments,” Montes said.
Montes originally proposed this resolution to SG.
“I think it is important to show that UD does care about its ROTC students, and the Student Government has been troubled by the fact that our ROTC students have been mistreated and we want to try and rectify that as best as we can,” Montes said.
The resolution expressed appreciation “that the University Administration has been acting to rectify this problem” and “is responding to student concerns,” and called on administration to “continue in its efforts to better accommodate ROTC students.”
The SG executive student council presented the resolution to Sanford last Thursday, April 27, according to SG President Clare Slattery.
“I appreciate the SG proposal because it shows continuity in efforts to improve things for ROTC students,” Sanford wrote in an email.
The administration has already been working towards the leadership concentration for about six months, Sanford wrote.
“I’ve been looking at some ways to make it more accommodating for our students,” Sanford said. “So we have a proposal for a new concentration in leadership studies that would allow us to count the work that they do at UT Arlington towards that degree, or that concentration.”
“We’re also creating this new category of leadership studies so that the credits that they are accruing can be counted as UD credits across the board,” Sanford added.
On Friday, April 26 the proposed concentration was passed by the Curriculum Committee, according to Sanford. Next, it will be considered in the Faculty Senate on May 7.
The proposed concentration will only account for 15 credits out of the 31 military science credits that ROTC students earn.
“Regardless of the status of that concentration, we will be accepting more credits,” Sanford said. Military science credits that don’t count towards the concentration are still “credits, and it’ll show on the transcript that these credits have been accrued.”
“The U.S. Army is providing the courses, but all of the different universities that participate in those courses on the campus at UT Arlington are transcribing the credits that they receive as their own university’s credits,” Sanford explained. “So I think we are obligated to accept those credits.”
But Sanford also wrote in an email that whether UD will recognize all 31 ROTC credits is still undecided, as it will also be under review at the Faculty Senate meeting.
“As soon as possible we will implement these changes,” Sanford said. He added in an email that the exact timeline for when these changes will be implemented is also under review at the upcoming meeting.
Slattery explained that “the resolution was really meant to be just kind of an encouraging force for this concentration and we’re really happy with the way it was accepted by the administration and the steps that the administration has taken.”
“It seems like both what students wish for and what the administration is trying to do are very like on the same level; we’re going after the same goal,” Slattery added.
Slattery said that SG “wanted to push forth the issue seeing that it was very important, especially to graduating seniors who wanted to see that it was prioritized.”
Senior biology major and Army ROTC student Emily LaFrance has actively sought better accommodations for ROTC students.
“It has taken her [LaFrance] four years to kind of gain traction on the issue,” Slattery said.
“[SG] has been a great help in serving as a bridge between me and Dr. Sanford in development of making things happen for the ROTC students,” LaFrance said. “I have been blown away with their time and attention to the subject and am really appreciative of all their help.”
However, Sanford said he was “not sure yet” whether current ROTC students who are graduating will see all the credits that they have earned on their transcript.
“If it is possible to do that now I will, but I don’t know if it’s possible … Because what we can’t do is change past recorded grades,” Sanford said.
LaFrance is one of these graduating seniors.
“Unfortunately for me, it is a little too late,” LaFrance said. “I’ve accepted that. It’s a sad thing, it’s a hard thing for me to accept, especially over the course of this semester, but if I can help pave the way for future students who do ROTC at UD for the process to become more accommodating and smoother and a better place for Army ROTC students here then I’ll be happy.”
Now that LaFrance is ready to walk at graduation, her hard work is changing UD policy for students like her who are devoting their life to military service.
“That’s what I’m trying to do, is improve the academic experience for future ROTC students here at UD,” LaFrance said.