Bill Clinton's election may put the final nail in the coffin of the ROTC controversy, which has raged at Harvard for more than 20 years in the form of ultimatums, angry protests and unsuccessful compromises.
The Democratic victory may also render moot the 10-month-long effort by the student-faculty committee on ROTC to refashion Harvard's ties with ROTC, which bars gays and lesbians from its ranks. Clinton has promised to strike down by executive order the Pentagon's exclusionary practices.
"If Clinton does what he says he is going to do, it makes this complex arrangement moot," said Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53, who chaired the committee, of the current tentative solutions. "If it's done, all the various things we suggest are not longer necessary to consider."
Verba said that the efforts of the committee, established in January, may prove to have been in vain.
"The whole thing will go down in history," Verba said. "All the work I've done is wasted."
Former Undergraduate Council Chair David A. Aronberg '93, on the other hand, expressed relief that the government solution could make a University stance unnecessary.
"I'd be more than happy to have this problemsolved by an executive order," said Aronberg, amember of the committee. "We'd be thrilled to havethat rather than go through this report."
Nevertheless, the Faculty may still vote onadopting the committee's recommendations.
Deliberations on the report were postponed lastmonth until the presidential elections, butofficials said yesterday they may resume since itis unclear how quickly a new Clintonadministration would reform the military's hiringpractices.
David Leavey, a spokesperson for the Clintontransition team yesterday declined to say exactlywhether or when Clinton would reform ROTC.
"All things are being developed," said Leavey.
Verba said he will present the proposal atTuesday's faculty meeting.
"We're still presenting the report for facultyconsideration" said Verba. "If this were threemonths later and if Clinton had already done it, Iwould say I wouldn't even present the report tothe faculty."
According to acting Secretary of the FacultyJohn B. Fox Jr. '59, unless Clinton moves soon, aFaculty vote could take place in December,depending on the progress of the faculty'sdiscussion.
"We will proceed until any event overtakes us,"said Fox.