U.C. Committee Endorses ROTC Compromise

Council Will Also Debate $500 Gift

An Undergraduate Council committee last night approved resolutions to endorse President Neil L. Rudenstine's report on Harvard policy toward the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and to donate $500 to help fund the ROTC program.

By a vote of 19-1, the Student Affairs Committee voted to endorse Rudenstine's decision, which proposes using unsolicited contributions from alumni to fund administrative costs for Harvard students' participation in the ROTC program.

But the committee passed the motion to help fund the ROTC program by an 11-8 margin only after lengthy debate.

The committee chose to "recommend" the endorsement of Rudenstine's compromise to the full council but did not take a vote on whether to "recommend" the donation.

Last night's votes mean that both items likely will be discussed by the full council at this Sunday's meeting.

Council President David L. Hanselman '94-'95, who introduced both proposals to the committee, said the council has a responsibility to protect the interests of students participating in the ROTC program.

"I think that by passing my proposal we're discriminating toward those students who participate in ROTC," Hanselman said. "ROTC students are like second-class citizens on campus."

But Will E. Rehling '86-'95, saying that Hanselman's resolution violates the council's constitution, proposed a counter-measure to "sever all official ties" with the ROTC program beginning with the Class of 2000.

"There's not any dispute that ROTC does discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation," Rehling said. "If you substituted race or creed for sexual orientation, I can't imagine that [Hanselman's proposal] would even be debatable."

And Adam D. Feldman '96 said the council has a "moral responsibility" not to fund discriminatory groups.

"There's an offensively snide tone toward the liberal conscience [in Hanselman's proposal]," Feldman said. "I don't want the Undergraduate Council to support anything connected to ROTC. I would not be part of an Undergraduate Council that did that."

But Hanselman said part of his intention in donating council funds to an ROTC fund is to help end Harvard's reputation as the "Kremlin by the Charles."

Randall A. Fine '96 said patriotism must outweigh concerns about discrimination in the military.

"We have America because we have that military out there to protect us," Fine said. "We want military service to be an option for students at the most preeminent University in the country. Should we cut off the mental acuity that Harvard can provide to the military?"

N. Van Taylor '96-'95, who will be commissioned a lieutenant in the Marines next spring, said the military is doing the "best job that it can" in ending discrimination against homosexuals.

"The majority of the people who serve in our military are homophobic," Taylor said. "The military is...not a social experiment.