Even as the federal Solomon Amendment—that requires universities who wish to receive federal funds to allow military recruiters on campus—is being successfully challenged by some American law schools, Columbia University, which allows such recruiting despite its ban on sexual orientation discrimination, is now considering the return of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to the campus after an absence of many years.

The debate going on at Columbia is being echoed in campuses around the nation, as criticism of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy intensifies, even among strong supporters of the military and veterans.

Outlaws: the LGBT Law Students Organization at the school and Columbia Law’s Center for the Study of Law & Culture will jointly host a forum on Tuesday, April 5 to discuss the legal, social and political meaning of the debate currently taking place at the university.

Prof. Kendall Thomas of the Law School will make opening remarks. The panel will include: Prof. Lewis Cole of the Columbia School of Journalism; Prof. Suzanne Goldberg of the Rutgers Law School and the Columbia University School of Law; Prof. Sylvia Law of the NYU Law School; Prof. Rosalind Morris of the Columbia University department of anthropology; Prof. Mary Nolan of the NYU department of history; Joseph Steffan, plaintiff in the Steffan v. Cheney lawsuit from the administration of the first Pres. George Bush; Kathi Westcott, senior counsel from the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based advocacy group for gay and lesbian soldiers; and Prof. Julia Wrigley from CUNY’s department of sociology. Fordham Law Prof. Sheila Foster and a representative of Lambda Legal, the gay legal rights group, have also been invited to participate.

Each speaker will present for approximately 15 minutes followed by an open Q&A.

The panel will last from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 5 at the Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102, 116th Street at Amsterdam Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.