Our ROTC Coverage

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I was very surprised that The Crimson at first seemed to have decided not to take an editorial stance on an issue as important to the campus as the recent debate over the restoration of the ROTC program. I diligently read the editorial page during the first few days after the initial Council vote, and found that only one column took a position on this controversial issue. However, I finally realized that I was simply looking in the wrong place. I should have looked no further than the front page.

The "reporting" of the debate surrounding the ROTC issue was inexcusably biased. On Monday, April 24, your front page featured the screaming headline, "Dissent Threatens to Undermine UC," for no apparent reason except that Undergraduate Council had finally taken a stand on an issue which seems to be contrary to the underlying sympathies of the Crimson staff. True, there was a vocal minority which expressed its dissent, but that in no way calls into question the UC's right to take a stand on a controversial issue.

An even more egregious example of an editorial disguised as "news" was your Tuesday, April 25th headline, "ROTC Rule Excludes Gay Recruits." Why was there no story headlined, "ROTC Program Provides Financial Aid to Disadvantaged Students," or "Harvard Policy on ROTC Discourages Officers in Training From Receiving Liberal Arts Education"? All of these examples are arguments for or against ROTC--not objective reporting of current events.

Finally, on Wednesday, April 26, The Crimson reported the Reverend Jesse Jackson's speech at the IOP Forum. Buried deep in the article was the fact that Jackson, despite the anti-ROTC protest outside the IOP, gave his support to the presence of ROTC units of college campuses. One would think that the fact that Jackson, an ardent liberal and champion of homosexual rights, held such a view would merit greater attention. Come on guys, if he had come out against ROTC, you certainly would have run yet another blaring headline such as "Jackson Rips ROTC" or "Jackson Condemns Homophobic Military."

I have mixed feelings about the return of ROTC to Harvard. To help me resolve this issue, I feel that I should be able to turn to The Crimson's news page for a simple reporting of the facts. If the editors wish to take a stance, please do so in the section of the paper normally reserved for opinion. Otherwise you might as well admit your bias and turn the circulation of your paper over to the activists to distribute along with other anti-ROTC literature. Andrew Clubok '90

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