- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2003

BOSTON (AP) — A group of law schools, professors and students is suing the Department of Defense, alleging its requirement that law schools allow military recruiters on campus violates the First Amendment.

Many universities have barred recruiters, arguing the military’s ban on homosexuals violated nondiscrimination rules.

But last year, after the DOD threatened to pull federal funding from law schools that deny military recruiters access to students, schools including Harvard and Boston universities and Boston College backed off their bans.

Kent Greenfield, a Boston College law professor leading the lawsuit, said the government is forcing agreement on its policies from schools that fear the loss of benefits, and that’s “not the American way.”

The lawsuit also argues there are flaws in the 1996 law, which permits the department to deny federal money to institutions of higher learning that restrict military recruiting or ROTC on campus.

The law “was passed to send the message that academic institutions were being too liberal,” Mr. Greenfield told the Boston Globe.

“They are using this law to reach into the core of our educational philosophy and change it, and that’s contrary to the First Amendment.”

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Newark, N.J. Judge John C. Lifland gave the government a week to respond to a request for a restraining order.

A phone message could not be left on a DOD media line yesterday because the voice mailbox was full.

The Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, which Mr. Greenfield formed to file the lawsuit, declined to release the names of members.

Boston College and Harvard and Boston universities are not party to the lawsuit, the Globe reported.

The group’s board includes professors from Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and New York universities, and the University of Southern California.

Co-plaintiffs include the Society of American Law Teachers, student groups at Boston College Law School and Rutgers University School of Law and three Rutgers law students.

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