To the Editors of The Crimson:
In response to your editorial of October 2, 1986, denouncing MIT-NROTC [Naval ROTC at MIT which includes Harvard students] and the military in general for its exclusion of students infected by the AIDS virus from officer training, I feel compelled to point out that while this policy may seem discriminatory to a particular campus interest group, it is certainly consistent with the military regulations which exclude from active duty anyone suffering from a variety of ailments ranging from cancer to high blood pressure. On the contrary, the Navy's concern is, understandably, economic.
Each NROTC scholarship student costs the government more than $70,000 in tuition and training. Consequently, the Navy wants to choose personnel that have a maximal chance of surviving the four-year commitment. AIDS-infected students are not only a high risk statistically, but potentially infectious. While some scientists in some labs don't feel this is true, their arguments don't sell too well in the sardine can-like enlisted berthing compartments of any U.S. Navy vessel.
In addition, the editors showed their ignorance of our situation by calling for a continuation of Harvard's "banishment" of ROTC. In fact, since Harvard officials ingraciously threw NROTC off campus in 1973, the Navy hasn't shown the least interest in renewing this arrangement. Christiana B. Huffaker '87 MIT-NROTC Battalion Executive Officer Stephen J. Smith '87 MIT-NROTC Battalion Operations Officer