Ending years of dispute and delay, President Neil L. Rudenstine yesterday released a report recommending that Harvard students continue participating in ROTC, but without direct University funding.
In the report, which is dated November 23, Rudenstine calls for the University to create a pool of money funded by alumni contributions that would pay the ROTC fee to MIT. About 70 Harvard students are currently enrolled in ROTC at MIT, and their fee is now paid from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences budget.
The proposal would be a compromise between severing all ties to ROTC, the position recommended in a 1992 faculty committee report and endorsed by the full Faculty last year, and maintaining Harvard's current ties to the program. To become policy, it must be approved by the Corporation, Harvard's seven-member governing board.
Rudenstine's recommendation, which was discussed in yesterday's Faculty Council meeting, said alumni have come forward, unsolicited, and volunteered to pay the fee.
But council members and ROTC activists questioned whether the proposal, if enacted, would continue to violate Harvard's policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.
John B. Fox Jr. '59, secretary to the Faculty Council, said that the statement had been "altered" since the council saw it two weeks ago, but several council members yesterday said they were still unhappy with the document.
In yesterday's meeting, council members decided not to take a vote on the recommendation because members did not think it necessary. Although Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles will present the report at a full Faculty meeting December 13, the faculty has no official authority over University ROTC policy.
According to Corporation member Henry Rosovsky, the body will likely discuss ROTC at its meeting two weeks from now. Since Rudenstine announced Monday that he will take an indefinite medical leave, Acting President Albert Carnesale will have to oversee the report's implementation if it is approved.
The Verba Report
The 1992 report, which recommended severing funding to ROTC because of the military's ban on gay, bisexual and lesbian servicepeople and cadets.
The committee, chaired by Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53, specifically recommended ending direct University financial subsidies for the program while still allowing individual Harvard students to participate.
Rudenstine, in his report, said his decision "comes as close to achieving the committee's objectives as I believe we practicably can, without terminating the ROTC option altogether."
Verba called the recommendation "an alternative that is within the general framework that we recommended."
"Having outside funds support the payment to MIT is not specifically what we recommended, Verba said. "But it is consistent with the University stopping using its own funds to pay for the program at MIT."
Verba said the ROTC issue is "murky," but the Rudenstine compromise "does not violate the specifics of Harvard's non-discriminatory policy."