ROTC at Harvard--The Fight This Fall

Faculty Meets Tomorrow To End the ROTC Morass

When the current drive to change ROTC's status began here last fall, Harvard's crew was heading for the Olympic trials, Humphrey and Nixon were breezing into town in search of votes, and Jacqueline Kennedy was hinting that she might soon move to Greece.

Four months, one sit-in, and countless committee meetings have passed since then. And now the tortuous machinery of Harvard's academic bureaucracy has digested this fall's proposals and is finally ready to determine ROTC's fate.

When the Faculty meets Tuesday to vote on changes in the ROTC program, it will consider four motions that will be discussed in the special student convocation this afternoon:

* The SDS resolution--to be presented by Hilary Putnam, professor of Philosophy -- which calls for ROTC's complete expulsion from Harvard

* The SFAC resolution--presented by Rogers Albritton, professor of Philosophy--which asks the Faculty to remove ROTC's academic credit,

* The HUC resolution--to be introduced by Gen Ed director Edward T. Wilcox--which seeks essentially the same action as the SFAC motion.

* The CEP resolution--which will probably be presented by James Q. Wilson, professor of Government--which would force ROTC courses to reapply individually for credit through existing Harvard academic departments.

The collection of acronyms that surrounds the four resolutions gives a slight hint of the institutional maneuvering that has gone on all fall. And in each case, the goal of the committee meetings and the student petitions has been to gain a position on the Faculty docket. The reason that places on the docket have become so widely-sought is that only the Faculty can take any decisive action on ROTC; student groups like the HUC and the HRPC can debate and pass resolutions, but their action means little without Faculty concurrence. The separate paths that each of today's three resolutions has taken to get to the Faculty docket shows now the Byzantine innards of the decision-making process here can get bogged down.

Albritton's SFAC

The resolution that Albritton will present for the SFAC is the many-times-altered off-spring of a proposal that the HUC first came up with in early October. The HUC concluded that ROTC didn't deserve academic credit, and it proposed a four-point plan for trimming ROTC's privileges:

* withdrawing academic credit from all ROTC courses,

* removing corporation appointments from ROTC instructors,

* reducing ROTC's privileges to those of normal extracurricular organizations (including ending the rent-free use of Harvard Buildings), and

* eliminating ROTC course descripitions from the course catalogue.

But the HUC resolution proposal had no formal effect, of course; and so the HUC began to work for a place on the Faculty docket. The simplest way to get the resolution onto the floor of the Faculty was to find a Faculty member to sponsor it. Since the HUC, unlike SFAC, has no faculty members to do this as a matter of course, Wilcox later offered to introduce its resolution.