The Harvard Republican Club will initiate a major campaign to bring Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) back to the Harvard campus, club members decided at a meeting Monday night.
The campaign will include a petition to the Faculty, a letter-writing drive and a postering effort, according to Republican Club President Harry J. Wilson '93.
Wilson said he plans to visit Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine later this month with a group of students to voice his support for the program.
Club members decided to launch the campaign after Monday's open discussion focusing on the fate of ROTC at the College. The discussion was prompted by the Faculty Council's approaching 1992 deadline, when the Faculty may choose to server all links to ROTC if the military does not alter its policy of excluding gays and lesbians.
At present, Harvard will not allow a ROTC unit on campus but does permit students to cross register with MIT and participate in MIT's three ROTC units. Harvard also accepts military scholarships contingent upon students' participation in ROTC.
ROTC was effectively kicked off the Harvard campus in 1968 as a result of protests, not against discrimination, but against the Vietnam War. That year, a student-faculty advisory council drafted a resolution forcing ROTC off-campus after a 75-year presence in the face of massive protests.
In 1976 Harvard began to allow students to enroll in MIT's ROTC unit, but still refused to permit a unit on the Harvard campus.
More recently, the ROTC issue was reignited in April 1989, when the Undergraduate Council voted to enter negotiations with the military for the program's return.
The council met with massive protests by students decrying the Defense Department's position toward gays. A week after its original vote, the Undergraduate Council repealed its resolution in a 43-39 vote.
Approximately 100 students are currently cross-enrolled in MIT as ROTC candidates, according to ROTC cadet Joel D. Hornstein '92, who spoke at the Republican Club's discussion.
There is support for ROTC in the present University administration, Hornstein said. Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 has expressed interest in the program, and Rudenstine is a graduate of ROTC, he said.
Students participating in the discussion expressed anger that if the Faculty Council votes to ban ROTC from campus, Harvard will still accept research money from the Department of Defense and scholarship money from corporations that invest in South Africa.
It's "unfair of Harvard to deny someone the chance to go who was accepted," said Robin Mitchell '94, a second year Naval ROTC student. Without her ROTC scholarship, Mitchell said, she would be unable to afford Harvard.
Speaking against the return of ROTC, Sandi L. DuBowski '92, co-chair of the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Student Association, said gays are automatically denied ROTC scholarships.