MIT Official Admits to ROTC Talks
Presidents Rudenstine, Vest Have Discussed Issue Informally
Contradicting her claims that there have been no Harvard-MIT negotiations about the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), MIT's Assistant for Government Relations said yesterday that "conversations are ongoing."
In a letter to The Crimson, Sarah E. Gallop, who last week denied knowledge of any talks, reiterated that "there have been no formal talks" between Harvard and MIT.
But she added that the two universities' presidents have discussed the matter. She did not specify whether the two had met or spoken on the phone. The next of her letter appears on page two of today's Crimson.
She said the current talks are only between the two schools' presidents, and that she did not have further information on their content.
Gallop is a member of the MIT working group on ROTC, and said she would be familiar with any formal discussions. Although the two university presidents may be meeting, she said "[the working] group was not meeting around this issue."
"The only other discussion [the schools have had on ROTC] is trying to work together to try to change the [Department of Defense] policy" on gays in the military, she said. those meetings involved several representatives of the two schools, including Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53.
Jonathan New, associate director for news and information, reiterated yesterday that the talks are "substantive discussions...between Harvard and MIT."
"We're pursuing a modified agreement with MIT which will allow our students to participate while still fulfilling our policy of non-discrimination," New said yesterday. "I can't go into details."
Last February, Rudenstine told the Faculty that he would postpone cutting payments to MIT for Harvard students' participation in MIT's ROTC program. The Faculty approved a report last year recommending that the University end payments because the military had not changed its policy on gays.
According to several faculty members, Rudenstine delayed a decision on ROTC to allow more time to negotiate an agreement with MIT. He said he hoped to reach a decision that would allow students to participate in ROTC without Harvard paying the $120,000 fee it currently pays.