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[Excerpt] In recent years, many academic institutions have enacted rules that protect individuals who are gay from discrimination on campus. As a result, some high schools and institutions of higher education have sought to bar military recruiters from their campuses and/or to eliminate Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs on campus in response to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, which prohibits homosexual conduct by members of the armed services. These efforts, however, have largely been thwarted due to several laws that bar giving federal funds to campuses that block access for military recruiters.

These laws include the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, which amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by requiring high schools that receive federal funds to provide certain student contact information to military recruiters upon request and to allow recruiters to have the same access to students as employers and colleges. This provision is different from similar Department of Defense (DOD) provisions that allow DOD to compile directory information on high school students for military recruitment purposes and that require colleges and universities that receive federal funds to give military recruiters the same access to students and campuses that is provided to other employers. Known as the Solomon Amendment, the latter provision was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in the 2006 case Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR).

This report describes the various laws regarding military recruitment on high school and college campuses, as well as discusses the policy and legal issues that they may raise. Meanwhile, several bills that would amend these military recruitment provisions have been introduced in the 111th Congress, including H.R. 1026, H.R. 1091, and S. 87.


Suggested Citation
Burrelli, D. F. & Feder, J. (2009). Military recruitment on high school and college campuses: A policy and legal analysis. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.