Lewis Says ROTC Will Not Change In Near Future

BGLTSA leaders report positive meeting with dean

Three days after the Undergraduate Council gave its support to greater accommodation of students in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said yesterday no policy change is likely anytime soon.

Lewis met yesterday morning with representatives of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters' Alliance (BGLTSA) and assured them that no large-scale changes were in the works.

The BGLTSA arranged to meet with Lewis because of concerns about a bill passed by the council last Sunday.

That bill, which passed in an amended form, asks the University to allow ROTC to openly recruit on campus, to help oversee the funding for the program and to provide shuttle service for ROTC students to MIT.

BGLTSA leaders said they were concerned that the measure may call for the University to give tacit approval to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prevents people who are openly gay and lesbian from serving in the military.

"We went in to express concerns on the content of the bill and the fact that many U.C. members considered the bill an acceptable compromise," said Adam A. Sofen '01, co-chair of the BGLTSA.

Sofen, who is a Crimson editor, said the half-hour meeting was productive.

"Dean Lewis told us that Harvard is committed to its non-discrimination policy and that there won't be any changes without prolonged debate," Sofen said. "Dean Lewis and BGLTSA agree that supporting [ROTC] cadets doesn't mean that you have to condone discrimination."

But in an e-mail message to The Crimson yesterday, Lewis said BGLTSA leaders felt left out of the drafting process for the bill.

"It is odd, given the mention of the BGLTSA community at the end of the bill, that the BGLTSA leaders with whom I met felt that the drafters of the bill had not made any attempt to work with them in drafting the bill in the first place," Lewis wrote.

The bill, which was agreed to after a heated debate, falls short of calling for ROTC's return to Harvard. It was approved by a vote of 29 to 21, with three representatives abstaining.

Lewis also wrote that the current ROTC policy already keeps the opportu- nity to participate open to students withoutinterfering with the University'santidiscrimination stance. He questioned the needfor such a bill.

"It is very hard to say off the cuff what wouldbe possible and what not. I find the bill, and theway it is coming about, somewhat confusing," hewrote. "No ROTC student has spoken to me aboutthese matters, nor have any of the authors of thebill."

"I absolutely reject the notion that Harvard'spolicies 'implicitly condemn' individual Harvardstudents for their participation in ROTC," Lewiswrote.

Lewis said he felt no need to change thecurrent policies.

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