Peter Schuck on Solomon:

At the risk of making this the all-Solomon all-the-time blog, in case you didn't see it, Yale's Peter Schuck has an interesting column today in the NY Times on the Solomon Amendment question, "Fighting on the Wrong Front":

But in their opposition to the Solomon Amendment, the universities are not only on shaky legal ground, as confirmed by the skeptical questioning they faced from the justices at oral argument, but intellectually inconsistent.

In the affirmative action cases involving university admissions that the Supreme Court decided in 2003, the universities invoked their educational expertise to defend a definition of applicant merit that disadvantaged whites and Asians; now they argue that the military may not invoke its warfighting expertise to define merit in a way that disadvantages gays.

The universities' position on government threats to cut off financing to enforce public policies is also inconsistent. A quarter century ago, many universities argued that Bob Jones University's tax exempt status and access to federal loans should be revoked because its racial policies violated civil rights law. Now the universities argue that their own funding should not be revoked for violating another federal policy.


Universities exhibit little intellectual or moral subtlety when they treat all who hold that view as a single species of invidious homophobes - regardless of whether their view proceeds from the kind of blind hatred that murdered Matthew Shepard or from ethical traditions or prudential concerns shared by many thoughtful, morally scrupulous people.

Universities should allow equal, unfettered access to their students by any employer whose policy with regard to sexual orientation is legal, so long as that policy is disclosed. The issue is not what the universities think about "don't ask, don't tell" - they have made that clear - but how their students view it.

A university's moral and pedagogical duty to its students is to cultivate their capacity for independent thinking, explain its own view (if it has one) and then get out of the way. The students' duty is to listen carefully - and then make their own decisions.