Vet seminar showcases inclusion
By Aaron Wilton
Editor in Chief
Every college campus has some percentage of students that are, or were, active duty military members. LCC is no exception.
A seminar for Vet Net Ally was held Sept. 15 in Dart Auditorium. Several staff and faculty members attended.
The seminar ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dr. Marshall Thomas, director of Veterans Services at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), led the seminar. Thomas started the Vet Net Ally program at CSULB.
He stressed the idea of inclusion and integration for veterans to help them make the transition.
“One of the things that we can do, that can be problematic, is we can look at our veterans’ services and think, ‘That office is the sole place where everything that veterans need on our campus should (be),’” Thomas said.
“I don’t subscribe to that view. I look at (veterans’ services) in our office as a hub; we work with all of the other offices on our campus to ensure that veterans are getting the care and services that they need.”
Thomas listed some of the dos and don’ts, and explained what people can expect from veteran students.
“Never put a veteran on the spot about their experience,” he said. “Never ‘out’ a veteran. Veterans will complain about their non-veteran peers, especially if their classroom conduct is unprofessional.”
He reminded people it will not only be veterans that are sensitive to talking about war, there will be parents, siblings, children, wives and husbands of veterans in the classroom, and it can be a very sensitive topic for them as well.
Another point Thomas made was that saying, “Thank you for your service” could mean different things to each veteran.
“Not everyone had a great experience in the military,” he said. “And when you say (that phrase) they may hear something different.
“They may hear ‘Thank you for blowing up that house that you didn’t know there were kids in.’ So, saying ‘thank you’ might be a problem.”
Thomas said people can show their appreciation differently.
“I am not telling you not to thank veterans,” he said. “What I’m asking you is, before you thank someone for their service … take a minute and think about what you mean by that.
“In fact, take a minute and ask them how their service was, learn a little bit about them. And then say ‘You know, I really appreciate that you served,’ something like that. So, don’t thank out of habit, thank from the heart.”
To learn more, visit the office of Military & Veteran Affairs in the Huron Building or visit online at https://www.lcc.edu/veteran