April 07, 2005


SANTA CRUZ ó UC Santa Cruz junior Jonathan Perez dressed in a suit and tie Tuesday, hoping to impress company recruiters at the campus job fair.

But more than 200 student anti-war protesters got there first, storming the Stevenson Event Center, shouting and banging on windows and demanding that military recruiters in the corner of the room leave.

The noisy sit-in ended after an hour of chaos and tension when military representatives vacated their posts. Student protesters hugged each other happily after administrators allowed them to hand out information on alternatives to military careers and agreed to a meeting to discuss future job fairs.

I wonder what the University would have done if these had been anti-abortion, or anti-gay-marriage, protesters? But in fact, the antiwar movement has been reduced to this sort of embarrassing futility because it has no real popular support outside a few enclaves. And this -- frankly unpatriotic -- face isn't helping it. And, yes, it is unpatriotic to obstruct military recruiting in time of war.

And if I were an employer, I'd give UC Santa Cruz a pass, this year and in the future.

UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall emails:

The rarely-mentioned dirty secret of it all is that the military are increasingly disinclined to recruit in such places to begin with. They did not push to reinstitute ROTC at places like Harvard and Middlebury because "frankly, we've found that students from such institutions tend to perform poorly as officers," to quote an officer (O-4) in a position to know.

Fewer and fewer students attending places like UCSC are of the sort who can handle the military. These institutions do not, however, yet sseem recognize their growing irrelevence and its connection to a woefully distorted and unbalanced political environment.

Ouch. And Brian Dunn adds:

Why encourage employers to skip UC Santa Cruz? Where will the folks like the guy in the suit go? And it's not like it will hurt the protesters. What corporation wants their skill set? I don't think Taco Bell sends recruiters to campus.

Ouch, again.

MORE: A reader says that Bart Hall has it partly wrong:

Reader Bart Hall isnít quite accurate

When I was Marine Corps recruiter I avoided career fairs like the plague because they were a complete and total waste of my very limited time. I never landed a single enlistment from one of those damn things.

Now and then I would go because I was under orders to do so. It was all a numbers game. A career fair would generate a lot of contacts, the CO could then go to his boss and say look how busy my boys are.

I would then waste yet more of my precious time having to prove that the red hot leads this event would generate (like I. P. Freely and I. C. Weiner) probably werenít going to result in a body at boot camp.

Iím sure they were glad to leave. I would have been.

John Stockley late of the USMC

P.S. Heís being a little unfair about Harvard. The amount of officers recruited from the Ivy League is so statistically insignificant, there is no useful data available on their performance. His Majorís opinion is strictly his own.

So noted. And another reader asks why the Randall Terry comparison. I thought it was obvious -- the antiwar folks here remind me of Terry's pro-lifers thuggishly-yet-ineffectually protesting outside abortion clinics, because they've lost everywhere else. Both groups even call the objects of their protests "baby-killers."