THE Committee on Educational Policy showed Wednesday that the Faculty is not insensitive to the conflict between ROTC's privileged place on campus and Harvard's academic standards. By chopping one-and-a-half credit courses out of the NROTC program the CEP rightly recognized that uniform regulations and nuances of military leadership have no place in the College curriculum.
In themselves, the revisions voted Wednesday cannot be faulted: the CEP added some solid college courses to the NROTC requirement as well as sifting some of the chaff from the curriculum. But a reform like this carries the danger that the Faculty will feel spared of reconsidering the larger questions around ROTC. Just as fourth course pass-fail for the moment pushed any wide debate on Harvard's grading system aside, the NROTC revisions threaten to bury the issue of whether ROTC has any place in the Harvard curriculum.
Dean Glimp, who was chairman of the Faculty committee that recommended the NROTC changes, defends ROTC's place in the curriculum as part of Harvard's responsibility to the community. Pushing ROTC out of the Harvard program, he argues, would be making the college insular at a time when it should be becoming involved. The analogy might hold if ROTC had not become what it is--mechanism for military recruiting and a narrowly pre-professional program. Harvard gives no academic credit for journalism courses, pre-law courses, or pre-business courses; it should give none for pre-military courses either.
Even in last Wednesday's reforms there was a hint of how shaky any compromise of ROTC with the rest of Harvard's curriculum must be. One of the CEP's recommendations was that seniors in NROTC be required to take a course in American military history or national security policy. Glimp dismissed the difficulty of reconciling what professors May, Kissinger, and Hoffmann teach with what naval officials would like to see their future officers learn. He explained that during some years such a course might not be given, and the College could not promise to create one to satisfy NROTC's needs. That kind of thinking should be applied to the entire ROTC program: the University should not be warping its academic standards to fit military's manpower needs.