There is nothing free in the world. Not the internet, electricity, Freedom, or as one ROTC member learned tuition.
Sara Isaacson joined the Army ROTC with the intention of becoming an Army doctor like her grandfather. To do so she attended the University of North Carolina. The Army stepped up and paid for 7 semesters of college tuition of $79,265.14 once the out-of-state tuition is totaled. That was not a free gift.
The basis of the payment was that Isaacson would enter the military upon graduation as a military officer. In addition, she would repay the military through her service, especially with her abilities as a doctor. It was a fair trade that Isaacson started as the military is voluntary.
But something has changed now. Isaacson has determined that she is a lesbian. Not only that but she felt that to not be open about her sexual preference would be dishonorable. Therefore she told the military, even as they tried to give her the option not to inform them. But she insisted, and the military had no choice but to break her contract.
All of this is fine. There is no question in anything that happened up to this point. It’s what happens next that is stirring debate.
The Army is asking for the money paid for tuition back. Isaacson is publicly making pleas for help and sympathy. Sites like Huffington Post and liberal blogs are bringing attention to the situation. And there is the problem.
If this was a matter of integrity for Isaacson, she should not be seeking public support for her situation. She made a choice, she broke the contract with the Army. In doing so she released the military from it’s obligation to her tuition. Like in all things there are consequences and again, nothing is free.
The Army to date has not asked for all the money at once. In fact terms have not been made yet. But the question is what did Sara Isaacson think was going to happen? She knew what would happen and it seems she thought she could just walk away scott free?
Moreso it looks like this might have been a set-up. A means to get Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” faster. Because Isaacson states in an interview
“I think it’s a form of activism. I think it’s me saying that this is a policy and a law that’s broken and needs to change. My intent with it was not to be an activist. My intent with it was just to be true to who I am and to not have to lie and compromise something that’s so important to me, my integrity.
The intent seems to be very much an activist statement, as all the publicity seems to confirm that.
The question here really is not about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. It’s not about gays or lesbians. It’s not even about the military.
The question is why anyone is questioning why Isaacson must pay back the money from a contract she initiated and then broke. If Sara Isaacson is basing her decision on integrity, shouldn’t that also apply to her responsiblity to repay the tuition she made a deal to have paid? Honestly, she is no worse off than hundreds if not thousands of college students around the nation. Perhaps with a bit more character.
Now all she needs to do is pay back the money. That’s moral fortitude. But we will see if activism trumps that.