Seattle Central reaches out to military veterans

May 23, 2012

Seattle Central Community College may be well known for Occupy Seattle protests and antiwar activism. But school officials are trying to make the campus more friendly to returning members of the military.

“Central has really been perceived as an antiwar, anti-military campus," said counselor Lori Miller.

"And the word on the street with veterans was stay away from Central And there’s been really a wonderful shift in that, a shift in support of our veterans.”

The college has become the fifth campus in Seattle to join Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses, which aims to address the unique needs of returning service members.

Navy veteran and second-year student Adam Horton said many veterans feel isolated after leaving their close-knit military units, and need help finding support.

“If you’re not aware of those things, and you get in the weeds, and you don’t know where to go for tutoring or for counseling, then people get frustrated and they’ll just walk away. And that’s the worst thing we can have right now. You have an opportunity to go to school for free and you decide to walk away."

Horton and others say there’s growing awareness on campus of how combat experience can affect new students. They said instructors are learning to be sensitive in the way they talk about war in class, and even how they physically approach hyper vigilant veterans in the classroom.

More than 300 veterans attend Seattle Central Community College, which is joining four other Seattle campuses in the partnership.

Editor's note: This story has been changed since it's original publication to correct the spelling of Lori Miller's name.