In 1965, South Dakota State and the Army forged a contract stating that the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program requires offices, storage rooms, a gym floor and classrooms used exclusively by the program.
Since then, SDSU has impeded upon that contract at least three times.
Most recently, by drilling into the floor of the gym in DePuy Military Hall and setting up cubicles for the Department of Economics.
Now, when ROTC needs to complete necessary training, they jump through hoops to complete standard practices in their program.
ROTC needs special permission to bring training equipment to athletics facilities, like the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex (SJAC), and they also must be escorted by the University Police Department to bring training materials there — all while having a facility of their own that regularly isn’t their own.
We, at The Collegian, understand there are growing pains during construction, renovations and expansions our university is experiencing right now. However, we also feel there must be a better solution to prioritize the cadets who will be the future military leaders of our country.
At the very least, we feel our university should be able to uphold their agreement to provide the facilities and resources necessary to train cadets.
Ideally, our Editorial Board feels the next fancy new facility on our campus should be for ROTC.
Realistically, we believe ROTC deserves to have their space to themselves.
We believe the Department of Economics department could have been given a better temporary home than a gym.
We believe drilling holes into the gym floor and setting up cubicles and computers in the only training facility ROTC has is shameful.
We also believe ROTC deserves more autonomy in decisions about their facilities.
When the university works to update its contract with the Army soon, we, at The Collegian, hope ROTC gets to call the shots on their own program and their own facilities.
At the least, we hope ROTC will be shown the respect it deserves and has earned.