HUC Asks That R.O.T.C. Courses Not Be Credited
The HUC is on the verge of recommending the withdrawal of academic credit for all ROTC courses and abolition of Corporation appointments for ROTC instructors.
At the meeting last night, Lance E. Lindblom '70, and James E. Sedney '70 touched off a long and heated debate when they submitted a report on ROTC status at Harvard which included a three-page letter justifying academic credit from Colonel Pell, head of the Army unit at Harvard.
There was only one dissenting voice at the meeting, but the Council is holding off on a formal resolution while it distributes the ROTC report to all Harvard students this week.
Council members made five major criticisms of the ROTC program:
* Several of the courses offered fall far short of the standards that other Harvard courses must meet.
* All ROTC courses are directed by the Department of Defense, not subject to major changes by the Harvard Faculty. They are standardized throughout the country with less than 25 per cent of the material chosen by the individual college unit.
* Although instructors' salaries and teaching equipment is paid for by the government, Harvard has given ROTC units the use of the Shannon Hall complex rent-free.
* ROTC is on campus solely at the request of Harvard University.
* All Air Force classes and one Naval Science course still disseminate classified materials; therefore they require a security check on anyone who takes them.
In defense of academic credit, Colonel Pell said "it is a historic fact that stu- dents were persuaded and influenced to take ROTC, when they otherwise didn't have to, and perhaps were disinclined to do so, because they could also receive academic credit toward their degree."
Pell said that dissatisfaction with academic credit for ROTC is linked to antiwar sentiment--a political, not academic issue that should not involve ROTC status. "The minimum military skills a student is taught in college," he said, "are not radically different from many other skills taught in the typical institution of higher learning today."
"Let's not kid ourselves," Jeffrey L. Elman '69 said in reply. "Harvard is teaching these things as a part of a military program; the ROTC will have to stand or fall on its military value.