Tensions ran high at the last USUAA meeting as 11 ROTC Army cadets sat poised and resolute, attentively anticipating their opportunity to address the board,
to petition them for a precious commodity: time.
More specifically, the proposed resolution put forth by Senator Cody Kelsoe on behalf of the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC), would grant Air Force and Army ROTC “contract cadets” three days of priority registration. The same amount that UAA athletes and honors college students currently receive.
“We should be the trend-setter university with this change, and then hopefully other universities will follow suit,” said Kelsoe.
Contract cadets have four years to complete their entire degree and each cadet signs an agreement to graduate within the time required. If a cadet fails to finish within the specified time constraints, they can lose their scholarship and are required to repay all funds that they have received. They could also be forced into the Army as a private in order to fulfill their contract with the government and lose the ability to commission as an officer in the armed services.
Along with the regular credit requirements for a Bachelor of Arts, the (current 22) ROTC contract cadets participate in a mandatory 15 to 20 hours a week of ROTC program functions. Three days of priority registration would aid cadets in scheduling the correct classes accordingly.
“Next to money, the best thing that you can give a cadet is time,” said Cadet Little.
“Time is very precious in college. Early enrollment would give them a little bit of time.”
In order to contract into ROTC, cadets are required to fill out a 104R form. The 104R is a proposed academic plan that dictates each class that the cadet will take until the day they graduate, in the order that they will take them and every pre-requisite lined up correspondingly. Four years completely mapped out on one sheet of paper.
“We don’t want to be considered special, that’s not what we’re here for,” said senior ROTC cadet Joya Meyers to USUAA. “We just need your help, that’s all.”
Freshmen and sophomores are especially at risk for scheduling conflicts. Juniors and seniors receive a 24-hour priority and that has aided some upper-class ROTC contract cadets, but does nothing for the contracted freshmen and sophomores facing the same daunting requirements.
“We sign a contract, we absolutely have to fulfill these obligations,” said cadet Rebekah Williams. “If we don’t get into these classes in time, it is four years out the window.”
If USUAA votes to pass the ROTC resolution, it will then be submitted to the UAA administration for consideration. The resolution would indicate that USUAA sees this as an issue, and that it is a concern that has been raised by students as a whole. A resolution requests the administration to review said issues and determine if something can be done to help the contract cadets be successful in the future.
“We all have different majors,” said Williams. “There are only 20 contracted cadets. You will hardly see any [negative] impact on the student population as a whole if we receive this priority.”