ROTC Bill Introduced in Congress

Would Eliminate Funding of Universities Blocking Program

A bill that would eliminate federal funding of universities prohibiting ROTC units on campus was introduced last week in Congress.

If passed, the "ROTC Campus Access Act" which was introduced by Representative Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) would cut deeply into research and student aid monies at Harvard, which booted ROTC off campus more than two decades ago.

For example, the division of applied sciences currently receives about two-thirds of its $30 million budget from the federal government, according to dean Paul C. Martin.

"This would be a very big hit for us," Martin said in an interview yesterday. "I hope that this bill never gets passed. Let me not think about what would happen if it did."

Representatives from the Medical School budget office and the Office of Financial Aid--both of which receive large quantities of money from the federal government--did not return phone calls yesterday.

The Pombo bill would explicitly forbid any "federal funds...by contract or by grant...to any institution of higher education...that prohibits, or in effect prevents, the Secretary of Defense from maintaining or establishing a unit of the Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps at that institution..."

The bill has already made its way into theHouse's national security committee, according toPombo spokesperson Mike Hardiman.

And three more members of Congress--Rep. JohnDoolittle (R-Calif.), Rep. Michael Forbes (R-N.Y.)and Rep. Jerry Solomon (R-N.Y.)--have signed on asco-sponsors to the bill, Hardiman said yesterday.

But in an interview several days ago, ProvostAlbert Carnesale termed the proposal a "bad bill."

Citing nationwide cutbacks resulting frombudgetary crunches, the provost said that themilitary will not be interested in "insisting thateach of the campuses...have their own individualROTC programs on their own campuses."

He added that he thinks even those affiliatedwith the ROTC program would oppose the bill.

Hardiman said that the bill would likely makeits way onto the House floor by late summer orearly fall.

The bill might be tacked on as an amendment toa large bill, such as the defense renewal act,Hardiman added.

Harvard students have participated in MIT'sROTC program since the early 1970s, when theprogram was kicked off campus in response toanti-war demonstrations.

Last month, the University's most powerfulgoverning board approved a plan that would allowHarvard's participation in the MIT program to befunded by anonymous alumni donors.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences and variousstudent groups had objected to Harvard's fundingof a program that discriminates againsthomosexuals