Barack Obama has given his blessing for ROTC to return to Columbia:
A vote to gauge the opinion of the entire student body on a repeal of the 40-year-old ban could come as early as this week.
A Columbia junior who is a marine officer candidate, Austin Byrd, said that the campus is abuzz about Mr. Obama's opposition, which he discussed at a forum on community service held at the university last week. He said he was surprised by the Democratic presidential candidate's "unabashed support" for allowing the program back on campus.
Other students said that the crowd of 7,500 that had gathered to watch the speech outside was similarly shocked.
A junior at Columbia, Jordan Hirsch, said that Mr. McCain was booed by students when he voiced his opposition to the ban, but that when Mr. Obama expressed a similar sentiment, the crowd had a different response.
"Almost everyone's expecting him to say no, because he's on our side, right? So then you heard him say 'yes' and everyone's mouths opened in stunned silence. It was absolutely priceless," Mr. Hirsch said.
The story reports that Columbia President Lee Bollinger voted to oppose ROTC's return in the Faculty Senate.
The Washington Post echoes Obama and McCain's views and also slips in an endorsement of Obama's views on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."