New Name May Gain Approval For Proposed ROTC Group
A proposed extracurricular organization of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) apparently made significant progress yesterday towards gaining official College approval.
In a discussion yesterday with the student proponent of the club, the student-faculty Committee on College Life reached what members said was a semantic "compromise" that would probably lead to the group's gaining formal approval next month.
The tentative agreement calls for changing the proposed organization's name from the "Harvard-Radcliffe ROTC Club" to "Harvard-Radcliffe Friends of the ROTC Club."
Most committee members said that such a change would help to alleviate widely-expressed fears that the club was designed to conduct activities related to ROTC itself--a military training program for students that was officially forced off campus in 1969 following Harvard's most violent period of antiwar protests.
But the College Late group postponed a final decision on the matter, pending further discussion of the proposal next week by the Undergraduate Council, from which the five student delegates to the committee are drawn.
Controversy regarding the request for an ROTC club has focused on determining to what extent the club would be affiliated with ROTC recruiting and other operations prohibited by 1969 Faculty legislation.
Club proponent Andrew C Deardorff '84, one of 63 Harvard students currently enrolled in MIT's ROTC division, reaffirmed yesterday that the club was not intended as a recruiting organization. Rather, he said, official College recognition would allow ROTC and other students to use Harvard's name and request official meeting space for social events, films and other activities.
Because the club was "inspired by ROTC cadets at Harvard," Deardorff said, to get approval he would be willing to compromise on the name of the organization, as long as it contains the acronym 'ROTC'."
While committee discussion yesterday seemed to indicate that an amend name would insure the club's approval several members said they were skeptical that a semantic change provided any guarantee against the club conducting ROTC recruiting and other operations prohibited by 1969 Faculty legislation.
"I do have problems with their tenacity in holding onto ROTC in their name," said Victor G Freeman '84 adding "To me it doesn't change anything."
Freeman and other student delegates raised objections yesterday based on the Undergraduate Council's preliminary debate of the proposal at its Sunday meeting. At that time, several Council members pointed out that the five student committee members could not endorse the proposal because military and ROTC policies against hiring and recruiting homosexuals and handicapped students would be in conflict with the council's constitution.
But Deardorff reaffirmed recent statements that his club has no official connection with ROTC and thus could not be judged to follow its practices.
Dean of the College John B Fox Jr. '59 who chairs the committee said that recent questions about the relevant Faculty legislation were settled last week by the Faculty Council the Faculty's advisory steering body.
The regulations prohibit ROTC official presence on campus but leave open the possibility "than it operate as other ordinary extracurricular activities..."
And Dean of Students Archie C Epps III secretary of the committee said that the club had met standard College criteria for gaining recognition including the filing of a proposal membership list proposed constitution and statements of support from Faculty sponsors.