Defense Department Confirms They Will Hold Open Meeting
A Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman yesterday confirmed that a DOD officials is well participate in an open meeting at Harvard to discuss the military's hiring policies, which discriminate against homosexuals.
The meeting, scheduled for Monday, will mark the first time the DOD has discussed its hiring policy in response to student protect, John D' Amecourt, another DOD spokesman, said yesterday.
The agreement comes after ongoing negotiation which included a letter from Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky to Defense Secretary Casper W. Weinberger '38.
Existing Faculty legislation requires that employers discuss their hiring practices before they can recruit on campus if 500 students request such a meeting. Last month, close to 700 students signed a petition sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Students Association (GLSA) asking the Navy to discuss its hiring before a scheduled recruiting visit.
The letter to Weinberger stressed that the Faculty felt obliged to honor the legislation, which applies to all employers and urged the Department to send a representative to the meeting. Rosovsky said in an interview yesterday. "I was not anxious to lose $3-3.5 million," Rosovsky added.
Under the Defense Authorization Act of 1973, DOD can deny funding to universities that bar military recruiters. It is unclear whether Harvard, which receives more than $3 million in defense funding, would have been in violation of that legislation had the Navy refused to hold the meeting.
The Navy had repeatedly refused University requests to hold an open meeting because their hiring policy is dictated by the DOD and "not our policy," a Navy official said yesterday. Navy hiring practice simply "mirrors DOD policy" that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service," he added.
But Epps said yesterday that during discussions with the DOD he suggested that only "members of Harvard College," would be allowed to attend the meeting because he had assured the DOD on "orderly and civil" meeting. Epps added that members of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may also be allowed to attend since they are served by the college's career service office.
George A. Broadwell, chairman of the GLSA, said recently that the meeting should not be restricted to Harvard undergraduates since the issue concerns the entire community.
The Navy will hold its recruiting visit, originally scheduled for April 12, on Tuesday.