Provost Says Harvard Should Reassess ROTC

Report Didn't Anticipate Compromise

Harvard must reconsider plans to sever ties with ROTC because the University Committee that spent last year hashing out a policy on ROTC did not anticipate the possibility of a "don't ask, don't tell" compromise, Provost Jerry R. Green said Friday.

Green, who recently returned from fundraising-related trips, said he has been in contact with President Neil L. Rudenstine, who is currently away on a trip, and Committee leader Sidney Verba '53, Pforzheimer University professor, about the issue. No decisions have been made, but Green said he hoped the administration would announce a new policy soon.

"It's just an uncontemplated turn of events," Green said. "I think it's only fair to students who are thinking about applying to Harvard to inform them about whether we're going to have an ROTC program or not. So we'll need to formulate this policy relatively quickly."

President Clinton announced last week that he would implement a policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Under that policy, recruits could not be asked about their sexual orientation but could be discharged because of "homosexual conduct" or admissions about sexual orientation.

The policy, which the Joint Chiefs of Staff narrowly endorsed, was a compromise between those who wanted to maintain the military's long-standing ban on gays and those who wanted the ban lifted completely. The president, who had promised to lift the ban during his campaign, said he agreed to the compromise because Congress and the military would not tolerate any stronger reforms.

The Verba committee report, which the full Faculty approved this spring, recommended that Harvard cease paying MIT to train Harvard students in the ROTC program starting with the first-year class in 1994, assuming that the ban was still in place. Green said that since the committee did not discuss the possibility of a ban, new plans will have to be made.

"Right now I think we have to go back to the drawing board," he said. "We will need to get together--the president, Professor Verba, Jeremy Knowles and myself--and decide what the next steps will be. I'm sure there'll be further discussion among the Faculty of Arts and Sciences."

Green would not say whether he thought the military's new policy complied with Harvard's anti-discrimination policy, but Verba said yesterday that he does not think the new policy goes far enough to meet the Harvard guidelines.

"I don't in fact think there has been sufficiently enough change in the policy that the discriminating aspects have been lifted," Verba said. "My guess is that something has to [be decided] before now and the middle to early fall.