UNM grants “hunting licenses” to military recruiters
A decade after banning military recruiters from campus, the University of Northern Maine has begun issuing visitation permits allowing recruiters to speak with college seniors about post-graduation plans. The ban was initially enacted in opposition to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but was reconsidered after DADT officially ended last September.
In what’s come as a surprise to many, the UNM philosophy department officially supports the move, citing the desire to help its majors find employment after graduation. While traditionally the department limited its efforts to helping majors gain admission to graduate programs, in recent years the department has encouraged its majors to consider other career paths.
“We knew there was a problem when papers started showing up talking about ‘the applications paradox’ instead of ‘the lottery paradox,’” explains Alan Pittman. He’s referring to the question of why someone applying to a graduate philosophy program can know they’ve been rejected after receiving a rejection letter but not before, given that the probability a rejection letter was sent by mistake is greater than the probability, before receiving such a letter, that an applicant will be accepted by a given program.
At the same time, there are so many programs that the mismatch between the number of job openings and the number of PhDs entering the market is becoming extreme. And, in the words of department chair Janet Ramos, ”drastic times call for drastic measures. It’s time to thin the herd a little bit.”
Not everyone feels that allowing military recruiters back on campus is the solution, however. The permits have been likened to hunting licenses by some students who, in the words of senior Meghan Gray, “feel targeted by what is a violent and intimidating entity.”
University spokesman Kirk Sweeney takes umbrage at the appellation. ”Calling them ‘hunting licenses’ is dehumanizing and inaccurate,” says Sweeney. ”They’re more like fishing licenses. If you hook someone who’s too young, you have to throw them back. We’re trying to give our graduating seniors more options, not increase the dropout rate.”
“Some careers are just too risky,” adds Marine recruiter Jamie Chang. He’s talking about the decision to enter a PhD program after graduation. ”Let’s say you go for it. Who knows if you’ll even make it through alive, and if you do, whether there will be a job waiting for you on the other side?”
It remains to be seen how successful the new program will be. The first visit is scheduled for UNM’s annual career fair early next month.