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Panelists to Discuss VLS Campus Ban on Military Recruiting

February 19, 2010

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- In the wake of the nation's top defense officials calling for an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Vermont Law School will host a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 24, to discuss its ban of military recruiting on campus until openly gay men and women are allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

The VLS Gay-Straight Alliance and Student Bar Association will host the "JAG/Solomon Amendment" meeting, which is free and open to the public in the Chase Community Center.

Vermont Law School is one of two law schools in the nation that bar military recruiters because of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which allows gay men and lesbians to serve as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret.

Panelists will discuss the school's non-discrimination policy and the Solomon Amendment, the federal law that withholds some federal research money from law schools and universities that do not give military recruiters the same access to campus as other employers.

The panel will include Capt. Rory Thibault of the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and a VLS alumnus; Vice Dean Gil Kujovich; VLS trustee Robert Rachlin, the senior director of Vermont's largest law firm, Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC; professors Greg Johnson and Jackie Gardina; and Dan Miller, a military veteran and a current VLS student.

"Vermont Law School isn't non-military. We're non-discriminatory," Gardina said. "Repealing ‘don't ask, don't tell' will make the military more efficient as well, and many VLS students are taking an active role in trying to repeal this law."

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law in 2006, but President Obama opposes the law and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee on Feb. 1 that the policy should be repealed. The Pentagon plans to conduct a year-long review before Congress is expected to vote on the matter.

"This panel will open some eyes because most people have no idea how ‘don't ask, don't tell' really operates," said Kathy Stickel, a VLS student who served in the Army and who is also bi-sexual. "The law is wrong, it's inefficient and it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection on due process of law. I'm proud to attend a law school that refuses to break the highest law of the land even when religious conservatives in government positions threaten or cajole others into trashing their principles for fiscal expediency."

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

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