NROTC CURRICULUM CHANGE

The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

In reply to Monday's editorial about NROTC curriculum changes, I should like to offer a different interpretation of the action taken by the Committee on Educational Policy. You implied that the CEP, motivated by a belief in the existence of "the conflict between ROTC's privileged place on campus and Harvard's academic standards," revised the NROTC curriculum "by chopping one-and-a-half credit courses out of the NROTC program" and adding "some solid college courses." Actually, the Navy proposed these changes, not the college, in an effort to improve its students' education. The CEP's action is rightly seen as preliminary, not as agreement with the Crimson's often-stated view that the conflict mentioned does in fact exist.

Secondly, you say that "Dean Glimp dismissed the difficulty of reconciling what professors May, Kissinger, and Hoffman teach with what Naval officials would like to see their future officers learn." The Dean was referring specifically to administrative difficulties, e.g., that Social Sciences 112 is not taught every year, and his statement does not at all belie that he or the members of the CEP share the Crimson's belief that the Navy would like to change the content of those professors' courses, or that the Navy doesn't want its students to learn what they have to teach. The Navy never asked to change the courses; what it did ask was permission to require its students to take one of the courses.

You reason that since "Harvard gives no academic credit for journalism courses, pre-law courses, or pre-business courses, it should give none for premilitary courses either." Harvard does indeed give these courses, and it gives credit for them. Certainly you will admit that the decision to teach the professions in the graduate schools rather than in the College is based on pragmatic grounds, not grounds of principle. Engineering, for instance, is a profession in which undergraduates may take their degree.

Moreover, ROTC has not become "a narrowly preprofessional program." Of the Harvard NROTC graduates from 1950-1959, only six per cent are still on active duty. I don't know the exact percentage for all ROTC graduates countrywide, but it is assuredly less than 20 per cent. Neither figure is indicative of professionalism in the ROTC. John Miller '68