ARAC to Hold Rally Thursday
Anti-ROTC Group Will Protest Last Week's Drill
In response to a recent ROTC drill at Harvard, the Anti-ROTC Action Committee (ARAC) plans to stage a rally this Thursday in front of University Hall, said ARAC spokesperson Thomas A. Lauderdale '92.
The rally, which will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, was decided upon after two hours of debate at an ARAC meeting yesterday afternoon in the Science Center. Group members said they were opposed to the Reserve Officers Training Corps' discrimination toward gays and lesbians.
"The military discriminates against homosexuals. This can in no way be reconciled with Harvard's policy of non-discrimination in its extracurricular groups," Lauderdale said. "We are upset with the administration for allowing ROTC to act as an extracurricular activity without addressing the concerns of sexual-orientation discrimination."
ARAC members said at the meeting that they also opposed ROTC members recruiting at registration and at career forums on campus.
To increase popular support for the rally, ARAC has decided to invite speakers from various student groups such as the Women's Alliance, Bi-Gay Lesbian Students Association, Minority Students Association, and Students for Creative Action.
"The administration has disregarded students demands and opinions on a number of crucial issues," said ARAC spokesperson Gwen A. Robinson '92. "Things like ROTC, minority and women faculty hiring and randomization [of the housing lottery] show that they are just not in touch with the students."
In the wake of a recent student poll conducted by the The Harvard Independent stating that just under half of the Harvard student body would not oppose ROTC on campus, many ARAC members also expressed concern about educating the student body about the ROTC issue.
"We can't be silent because it is important that the administration clearly understands that students are not in support of ROTC despite the poll, " Lauderdale said. "We are going to appeal to the student body through pamphlets, letters, and through this rally."
The group also questioned the validity of the poll. "I don't believe the recent poll is a valid representation of the student body's stance on the issue," said Robinson. "Last year's Undergraduate Council decision is the official student position."
"Besides, a poll certainly doesn't justify a violation of human rights," said Lauderdale.
The Undergraduate Council decided last year that affiliation with the military violates a clause of the council constitution that prohibits association with organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
"Aside from the civil rights aspect, we are protesting against militarism in general," said Robinson. "Harvard has many classes on war, how about some concerning peace?"