Over the last few days, nearly every undergraduate received a personal e-mail invitation to apply to be a commissioned officer in the United States Navy.
The government-sanctioned spam has surprised many students, particularly given the University's complex relationship with the military.
The Solomon Amendment to the National Defense Appropriation Act, signed into in law in 1997, requires all universities that receive federal funding to submit a directory of their students to the military for recruiting.
The Harvard drive was led by Lieutenant Chris Dunphy and Chief Petty Officer Laura L. Jones, two Navy recruiters.
In an interview, Dunphy said that federal law also stipulates that universities must offer the same recruiting opportunities to military recruiters as they would to civilian companies.
Normally, Dunphy said, the Navy gets the directory of students from schools' registrars' offices.
Georgene B. Herschbach, associate Dean of the College, confirmed that any "official data files" including e-mail directories would have to be supplied by the Registrar's office, though she and others in the office were unable to confirm that they had submitted the files to the Navy.
"There are very strict policies regarding who can get what information," she said.
NAMsaid. "If people are so interested in the military, they should be going to a military academy, not a private
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