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Arkansas State Losing Army ROTC Program

JONESBORO, Ark. — The U.S. Department of the Army officially informed Arkansas State University on Wednesday that its 77-year-old Army ROTC program will be ended, the university said.

“This action is not a reflection of either the quality of your program or the outstanding Cadets you have produced,” Thomas R. Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, wrote in a letter to university Chancellor Tim Hudson, according to a news release from Arkansas State.

Lamont said the Army “arrived at this difficult decision after careful consideration of how to best accomplish its mission with a reduction of resources.”

Hudson said the university disagrees with the decision and the process, which he said did not give Arkansas State the opportunity to provide input.

“We will do everything possible to reverse this decision,” he said in the release. “We have reached out to our federal and state officials for assistance.”

Jonah Shumate, a spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford Rick Crawford -Search using:News, Most Recent 60 DaysBiographies Plus Newstold The Jonesboro Sun on Tuesday that Crawford had been notified about the closure. Crawford’s office said Arkansas State is one of several campuses losing its ROTC program for not meeting “viability standards.”

Arkansas State’s program, which according to the university’s release is one of 13 programs scheduled for closure nationwide, has about 122 participants. About one-third of those on Arkansas State’s Beebe campus will not be affected by the closure.

According to the university, Lamont said methodology for reviewing the 273 programs nationwide included considerations for market potential, the Army’s academic discipline needs, the program’s historical production and proximity to other Army ROTC units.

Arkansas State said nearly 2,500 officers have graduated from the ROTC program since it was established on campus in 1936.

“Arkansas State values its historic relationship with the Army’s ROTC, and we have produced nearly 2,500 officers who have served our country,” Hudson said in the Arkansas State statement. “We have a compelling case to share with the Army and want to learn more about the criteria used to reach their conclusion.”

Bill Smith, Arkansas State’s executive director for marketing and communications, told the newspaper that the decision is reminiscent of past military base closures.

“We’re just not going to sit and wait for a catch-22. … We’ll continue to make a case for ROTC at Arkansas State to continue,” Smith said.

“We feel like we’ve got to stand up for our ROTC program,” he said. “If this comes to pass, we will engage our U.S. congressmen and U.S. senators and rally them to help us overturn this proposed change.”

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