President Donald Trump’s unexpected tweet this week about banning transgender people from serving in the military has left private military colleges are scrambling to understand what this new policy would mean.
Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, is the oldest private military college in the country. It's also the birthplace of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).
Despite Trump's tweet, spokesperson Kathy Murphy-Moriarty, associate vice president of communications and marketing, says Norwich will continue to welcome transgender students.
"Our educational programs and our activities are available to all," Murphy-Moriarty said. “All students and employees should feel welcome and comfortable at Norwich University. We take seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and employees, including our transgender students and employees.”
Murphy admits Norwich doesn't know how a ban would affect graduates hoping to serve in the military. In May, Norwich graduated 103 men and women who commissioned into the military following commencement.
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs tells WGBH News that a transgender cadet who graduated this spring is waiting for guidance on his ability to serve. Right now, the Air Force Academy says, there are no cadets who have identified themselves as transgender.
“We're referring all questions about the president's statements to the White House,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Herritage, director of public affairs at the Air Force Academy. “The Air Force will continue to work closely with the Department of Defense to address the new guidance provided by the commander-in-chief on transgender individuals serving the military."
The Department of Defense is expected to provide revised guidance in the near future. Meanwhile, hundreds of ROTC programs on campuses across the country are seeking answers.
On Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the White House provided no advance warning and that no policy change has been formalized.
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