Formally Recognize ROTC

To the editors:

Your article “Alumni Org Calls for Return of ROTC” (news, Oct. 2) misconstrued my views on the relationship between the various ROTC programs and the Harvard administration. I strongly agree with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that the Harvard Corporation should take up this important issue and formerly recognize the ROTC programs which provide valuable leadership training to Harvard cadets and midshipmen. Such formal recognition should lead to greater participation of Harvard students in ROTC programs and the eventual physical return of the ROTC units to the Harvard campus.

Harvard students can and do currently participate in ROTC at MIT, which is the ROTC host school for many local universities. However, such patriotic efforts are not officially recognized by the Harvard Corporation for political reasons. I do not advocate for the recognition of ROTC nor related overhead reimbursement from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences but from the Harvard Corporation. It is possibly illegal and certainly not fair nor logical for the Harvard Corporation to in effect punish Harvard cadets and midshipmen by withholding formal recognition of ROTC programs due to political policies imposed by Congress. Such political issues are entirely beyond the control of the Defense Department, the ROTC units and Harvard students. It is not appropriate to embroil U.S. military organization with politics.

The Advocates for Harvard ROTC has over 2,200 members who promote diversity at Harvard. Such diversity should be inclusive of the opinion among the Harvard undergraduates who believe in duty, honor and country as evidenced by the service to our great country as officers in the U.S. military through their ROTC training. The bottom line is that ROTC units of the Air Force, Army and Navy/ Marine Corps should be welcomed at Harvard and the Harvard Corporation should say so!

Concord, Mass.
October 7, 2008

Captain Paul E. Mawn is the chairman of Advocates for Harvard ROTC.