Beyond the ‘Burg: Gay student kicked out of ROTC

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February 27, 2009

12:07 AM

The Naval ROTC program at George Washington University recently dismissed a midshipman for engaging in homosexual conduct. University policy states that discrimination cannot be allowed by groups with the university’s label, but the NROTC defended its decision by citing the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The individual in question, GWU freshman Todd Belok, was seen kissing his boyfriend at a fraternity party by a fellow midshipman, freshman Dave Perry, as well as his squad leader Nick Trimis.
Perry and Trimis bypassed standard procedure by directly approaching Lt. Kathleen Meeuf, assistant professor of naval science. A few weeks later, Belok was called in by a commanding officer.

“They told me I could drop out or do a Performance Review Board, a PRB, which is a non-judicial review board. I decided to do the PRB so I could try to fight it,” Belok said to The GW Hatchet, the university’s student newspaper.

Belok was dismissed in December.

According to The GW Hatchet, Captain Brian Gawne noted in the final report that Belok was a high achieving member of the NROTC but “[not dismissing Belok] would be purely self-serving and neglectful of my responsibility to uphold policies instituted by our civilian leadership.”

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy bans homosexual conduct to protect service members from uncomfortable situations. According to The New York Times, over 11,000 service members have been dismissed since 1993 due to the policy.

GWU spokeswoman Terry Schario said that since university policy clashed with federal law in this situation, federal law would be upheld.

According to The GW Hatchet, if a university does not comply with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, federal funding can be withdrawn

Belok is currently working with the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network to petition the Obama administration and Congress to change the law.

“I don’t have any resentment against my battalion or the Navy,” Belok said to The Hoya, Georgetown University’s student newspaper. “After all, they just carried out a Defense Department policy. I cannot rejoin the Navy unless the current policy changes, and I’m focused on lobbying Congress to ensure that happens.”

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