Dis-Credit ROTC

HARVARD'S three ROTC units enjoy the status of academic departments -- the unit commanders are full professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the University provides them with free facilities, and the courses they teach earn academic credit. But ROTC is not an academic department; it is a nation-wide recruiting system for the United States military.

As a centrally-controlled recruiting system, ROTC's goals and methods are not those of a university. The military stresses discipline, obedience, and efficiency; the university should properly encourage critical inquiry and individual expression. As long as the military continues to seek educated manpower, there will inevitably be some relationship between the armed forces and higher education. But this relationship should never be allowed to compromise the integrity of our universities.

Harvard's present arrangement with ROTC compromises the integrity of this University in several ways. In a university where academic departments are responsible to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the ROTC departments are ultimately responsible to the Pentagon. In a University which bans classified research, ROTC offers courses which cannot be taken without a security clearance. In a University where a full professorship is a widely-respected honor, military men become professors on the basis of no more than a recommendation from military men.

ABOVE all, Harvard compromises its integrity when it allows its considerable prestige to be put to the service of the American military's routine recruitment efforts. Though the war has engendered resentment of the military, the arrangement would compromise the University in peacetime as well.

Harvard students should have the opportunity to receive military training while in college if they wish it, just as they are able to participate in the running of a newspaper or the organization of a slum community. The University has always felt that these last activities are extra-curricular. ROTC also should be an extra-curricular activity.

No academic credit should be given for ROTC courses. They should not be listed as offerings of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the men who teach them should not be considered members of the Faculty. There should be no departments of Military and Naval Science and Aerospace Studies.

These changes would not prevent a Harvard student from earning a miltary commission while in college. Nor would they mean that the government would stop giving ROTC scholarships to Harvard students. The government provides this money because it wants officers, and it will still want officers even if these students do not get Harvard credit for ROTC courses.

Harvard's curricular relationship with ROTC is inconsistent with a university's commitment to truth--a commitment which must transcend national allegiances.

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