On Monday, the Student Congress unanimously passed legislation in favor of academic accommodation for Binghamton University Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students.

Students in the ROTC program at Binghamton University are not issued formal accommodation from administration for missing classes, contrary to student-athletes, which has caused cadets to drop majors, classes and the ROTC itself.

Professors are not required, nor are they recommended by the administration, to accommodate for ROTC students; those decisions are completely under faculty jurisdiction.

With the bill, “The Student Association would declare its official policy that supports expansion of current academic accommodations for student-athletes to students enrolled in ROTC programs on campus.”

Derrick Conyers, vice president for academic affairs and a senior double-majoring in political science and philosophy, politics and law, spoke in favor of the bill before it was brought up for the vote.

“In this bill we are not asking for anything more than the accommodation that student-athletes already receive to be available for the ROTC students,” he said. “If we pass this bill what we can say to administration is that the SA is completely behind this, and with the representation of the entire student body we can show how this is an uncontroversial issue among all students.”

Carmelo Centeno, a previous ROTC student at BU and a junior majoring in political science, said that he had to drop out of the ROTC program due to the lack of accommodation.

“There are many times where teachers are not accommodating at all toward ROTC students. I was forced to drop the ROTC program altogether as a result of the lack of accommodation,” Centeno said. “Since we don’t get accommodation, we [ROTC students] have to make decisions to pursue either our major or the ROTC program.”

The bill also specified that ROTC students have been receiving grade reductions for missed classes due to their training sessions held at Cornell University.

According to the legislation, “… students enrolled in ROTC programs have received reductions in course grades or missed exams, without receiving a makeup opportunity, due to absences resulting from these training sessions.”

Patrick Elliott, athletics director at BU, wrote that if a student-athlete’s academic standing would be compromised by going to an away game, that student would be permitted to miss that scheduled game.

“When student-athletes have a heavy workload or their academic success could be hindered by missing class, they do not travel to away contests,” Elliott wrote in an email. “We take precautions to assure that athletics participation doesn’t compromise academic performance. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for practice, which is an NCAA and Binghamton University policy.”

Conyers said the University should remember its roots when holding back the academic ROTC accommodation.

“One of the reasons that the Triple Cities College, what Binghamton University was called before BU, was built was to accommodate veterans and military servicemen returning from World War II,” Conyers said. “We would like to get back to that, to help out these students who also serve our country. It strikes me that there’s a policy that accommodates athletes but not one that accommodates military personnel.”

Bryan Delacruz, a Student Congress representative and senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said to keep in mind what day it was as the vote was getting passed with no opposition.

“Keep something in mind: Today is Veterans Day,” he said. “If there is ever a time to say you will do something about this issue, it is today.”