One wonders why the State University of New York at Oswego thought it was a good idea to invite John McHugh, U.S. secretary of the Army, to its commencement anyway. SUNY Oswego, a school far, far into upstate New York, is not exactly a hotbed of liberalism but still. The secretary of the army? At a school with no ROTC program, where one of the most popular majors is elementary education?

Well McHugh won’t be coming. According to an article by Michelle Garcia in the Advocate:

McHugh pulled out of commencement activities for a college in upstate New York after learning that students, faculty, and staff were planning a protest over the military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

The Pride Alliance, the State University of New York College at Oswego’s LGBT group, planned to distribute pins for people to wear on graduation day, calling for an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” However, after other students learned of the move, Michael Johnson, president of the Pride Alliance, said they started to organize a protest to be held outside of the
Campus Center Arena on the day of the graduation in regard to lifting the ban.

McHugh, who was to receive an honorary doctorate, explained that he was skipping the ceremony because his “presence at the ceremony might well have a disruptive effect.”

McHugh, a former Republican congressman, represented a New York district that included Oswego for 24 years. As a congressman, McHugh voted to approve the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993. In an October article in Army Times McHugh indicated that the Army would allow gays to serve openly if congress voted to repeal the existing policy. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer