What Else Can They Do?

DISSENT

The government's policy of institutional discrimination against gays in the army is wrong and the staff correctly admonishes the faculty committee for stalling on cutting ties with ROTC and for making wish-washy statements about Harvard's connection with the program.

But not accepting ROTC scholarship funds is not the answer to ending the army's systematic discrimination. Nor is not accepting the funds the answer to extricating Harvard from it's connection it ROTC.

The faculy's decision to stop paying for the cross-registation with MIT is, realistically, the most it can do. Harvard can't pick and choose which money it will accept from students. The University gets checks made out in student's name, and if a student is not on financial aid, the University has no business investigating the source of the money--any then denying to accept some funds.

The staff suggests that Harvard could give a reasonable financial aid package to students who would otherwise be paying school with ROTC funds. But if the aid package fell anywhere short of full aid, then the University would have to investigate who was paying the rest. Students wishing to participate in ROTC would effectively be banned from the school because we couldn't be sure that weren't paying their tuition with tainted money.

This may seem like a great loss considering the moral bankruptcy of the army's discrimination, but if Harvard starts to pick and choose what kink of money students can use to pay their tuition, they will engage in a slippery slope that will leave a lot of us paying our money to other institutions.

Harvard should deal with ROTC the way it deals with final clubs. The University has no official ties with the clubs, and students and The Crimson speak out against them strongly all the time for their elitism and discrimination. And yet, the University still accepts their families' money and their clubs scholarships. That doesn't mean. however, that the University on The Crimson supports final clubs, or that we are not working to eliminate them from campus.

We should stop short, however, of interfering in the life choices of individuals, and from excluding men or women from the University because of these choices.

Instead, Harvard should be looking for other ways to change military policy--like by having President Rudenstine make strong speeches on the issue or by lobbying in Washington.

There is another possible way to overturn the military's ban on gays: Vote for Bill Clinton. He could solve this whole issue with one executive order. Then we could start the work of getting the people who were unfairly discharged back to their posts.