Charges that members of the Navy ROTC program have been forcibly "volunteered" to march in the Patriot's Day parade at Concord on Friday were vigorously denied yesterday by ROTC commanders and students alike.
A letter to the editors of the CRIMSON charging that "all midshipmen" were being forced to participate in the exercises "at the expense of respectable academic classes" initiated the short-lived controversy. Other students claimed they had been told that hour exam and papers were the only excuses that would be accepted for missing the parade.
Capt. Edward A. Rodgers, professor of Naval Science, repudiated the charges pointing out that a desire not to miss regular classes was a legitimate reason for not attending the parade. He added that only about 50 of the NROTC unit's 130 members were expected to march anyway.
Student officers added that "no one was being forced to do anything" and that the ROTC departments were merely trying to be of help in the Patriot's Day celebrations.
The misunderstanding apparently arose from efforts of the student commanders to "make a good showing" by having a large number of students present at the exercises. Several students said that they were asked to present their excuses in writing if they were not going to attend, but felt there had been no "undue coercion."
The Army and Air Force ROTC units also hope to have volunteer groups in the parade.