Recently proposed changes in Defense Department regulations could end a simmering controversy between the army and six universities--including Harvard--whose law schools do not permit military recruiting.
The dispute started last May, when a high-ranking army official warned the institutions that they could lose any future defense contracts if they continued to keep army recruiters off their law campuses.
All six schools enforced the ban because the army violates their on-campus recruiting policies by refusing to accept homosexuals and handicapped persons for military service.
The implications of the warning had seemed severe. In 1980-81--the most recent figures available--Harvard received almost $3 million from the Pentagon, mostly for research activities.
But one month ago the Defense Department proposed changes in its regulations, stating that "the prohibition of the use of funds applies only to the elements in which recruiting is effectively barred."
This would mean in Harvard's case that only the Law School--and not the whole University--would be subject to penalty And according to Law School Dean James D. Vorenberg '49, the Law School currently receives no Defense Department funds anyway.
ACE on the Case
Sheldon E. Steinbach, general counsel to the American Counsel on Education (ACE), which reported the possible change to Harvard, said yesterday that none of the other five law schools which received the May warning letters-Yale, Columbia, New York University. Wayne State University in Detroit, and University of California at Los Angeles," have Defense contracts.
These proposed changes in the regulations are currently subject to public suggestions, and will become official on November 29.
Both Vorenberg and University Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54 declined to comment on the changes. But Steinbach, who is monitoring the situation for the ACE: -a Washington-based lobbying organization that includes Harvard called the amendments "very reasonable."
A Defense Department official yesterday said that the proposed changes were unrelated to the May letter of Major Gen. Hugh J. Clausen, but rather came from a periods review and clarification of existing regulations.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said that the changes simply made explicit the Defense Department's policy of punishing only the specific school barring the recruiters and not the entire university.
Clausen wrote in his May letter to six law school deans that "I am considering recommending that no Defense Department contracts be awarded your university as long as our officers are denied the ability to recruit on campus. "But the Defense Department official said Clausen "was referring to the Law School."
The official said that about 10 "small religious" schools have in the last decade been placed on an official Defense Department list withholding funds