While escalating student protests over the war in Vietnam forced the Reserve Officers Training Corps out of Harvard 20 years ago, other campuses were also involved in the movement to expel the military training program.
Today, the debate over returning ROTC to campus here is also mirrored at other schools--though most contacted say they are not sure where such movements will lead.
At Princeton, where ROTC was only briefly banished from campus, the ROTC program currently occupies a university building and uses facilities such as the gym and the football stadium.
Because of a "vocal minority" of students, says Capt. Michael J. Burbach, an instructor in Princeton's Army ROTC unit, ROTC was forced to leave campus in 1971. He says a university-wide vote the following year brought the program back, but without giving ROTC instructors faculty status or allowing its participants to receive academic credit.
"When it came to a less emotional vote, people changed their minds," he says.
But the presence of ROTC at Princeton is once again in jeopardy as a committee appointed by the university's president considers student opposition to ROTC because of its discrimination against gays and lesbians. The committee, which includes students, faculty members and administrators, is expected to produce a recommendation early this fall, Burbach says.
ROTC still hasn't made its way back to Yale and Stanford, where student support for the program is apparently not as strong as it is at Princeton.
Yale students in ROTC currently must join most other Connecticut participants at the University of Connecticut ROTC units, which include only Air Force and Army programs. In addition, there are two small Army and Air Force detachments at the University of Bridgeport and Central Connecticut State University, which are far from the central unit at UConn.
At Stanford, students participating in ROTC are also sent to neighboring colleges, says Capt. Dennis W. Miner. He says that Navy ROTC students must spend at least an hour commuting to the University of California at Berkeley for instruction, while Army and Air Force ROTC units meet at the University of California at Santa Clara and San Jose State University, respectively.
"Students must be pretty well dedicated to do that for four years," he says.
At state-funded schools established as land-grant colleges, charters included provisions for military science education, leaving students with little say over the matter. So at Berkeley and Cornell--which is also partly private--some ROTC programs maintain on-campus presences, despite the efforts to remove them in the '60s.
Both schools were founded shortly after the Civil War, when educators considered the creation of an educated officer corps a priority, according to Capt. John M. Keefe, an assistant professor of military science at Cornell's Army ROTC unit.
Students at Cornell and Berkeley tried in the late 1960s and early 1970s to "boot" ROTC from campus, says Miner. But since the school is partly state-funded, the ROTC units were preserved.