Remembering 1990

I enjoyed “Commencing a New Era” [News & Notes, Spring 2014]. Another event that occurred in 1990 involved a senior named Jordan Marsh ’90. He recognized that the ROTC policy conflicted with the state’s civil rights law, so he organized a sit-in. It started with just a handful of students, but by the end of the day, others had joined in, and they decided to sleep in Bascom Hall that night.

Before it was over, hundreds of students and a wide range of student groups had lined up to support the cause. Over the following weeks, they negotiated a settlement with Chancellor Donna Shalala that required the ROTC program to include a disclosure on all recruitment materials that stated that its policy prohibiting gays and lesbians violated Wisconsin law.

I do not think any of us could have predicted that by the time [commencement] ceremonies resumed in the stadium, gays could serve openly in the military. The university has always been a place where social movements thrive.

Nancy Prager ’92 Washington, D.C.

Published in the Summer 2014 issue

Tags: Alumni, Campus history

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