Army ROTC students, with the encouragement of their new unit commander, are quietly organizing a grass roots movement to keep AROTC at Harvard after next June, when it is scheduled to leave the campus.
Four student leaders in AROTC are drafting a letter to solicit support from Harvard students.
Their sudden interest in keeping AROTC here stems from the recent draft lottery. Since December 1-the day of the lottery-the AROTC office has received over 30 inquiries about joining the program from low-number men who want to become officers.
These 30 "are just the tip of the iceberg," according to Colonel Milton S. Hochmuth, head of Harvard AROTC.
"For the first time you've got students who suddenly see they may have to serve two years." Hochmuth said yesterday. "Of those, there must certainly be a majority who would choose to do so as officers."
"The majority of the Faculty, given a calm atmosphere and not the pressure of last spring, would probably vote to keep ROTC on campus," Hochmuth said.
"In the current climate, a campaign to bring ROTC back to the campus has to come from the students," Hochmuth added. "The Faculty would listen to the students, but they will not listen to me."
Harvard's ROTC negotiating committee recommended last May "that all ROTC programs be terminated as of June 30, 1971" and that "only students already enrolled in ROTC or accepted for advanced ROTC programs be permitted to participate in ROTC."
The Faculty and Corporation approved these recommendations. Accordingly. Navy and Air Force ROTC announced they would leave campus by June. 1971, while AROTC and that it would leave by June, 1970.
It Started With Scovell
The move to save AROTC originated with John Scovell, a second-year Business School student and the chief AROTC student leader.
Scovell spoke to Hochmuth at length last Friday about organizing a student movement for keeping AROTC. Scovell said that Hochmuth "wanted it to be a student approach. He didn't want this to construed as the Pentagon jumping back on our campus."
Scovell drafted over the weekend a letter soliciting support. He showed it to Hochmuth on Monday.
About ten students leaders of AROTC met yesterday afternoon to look over the letter. Three Law School students in AROTC agreed to revise Scovell's work and to present it to a student meeting tomorrow.
The staff meeting probably will begin at 4 p. m.-one hour before a scheduled battalion formation of the 146 men in the AROTC program. Scovell said he will tell these men how they can help keep AROTC at Harvard-by canvassing, for example.
Facts and Figures
At least 100 men in each Harvard class would be interested now, because of the draft lottery, in joining AROTC, according to Scovell.
Of the 1200 students in a typical class, Scovell said, 400 fall in the top third of the lottery list and are therefore liable to be drafted. Two hundred of these will be deleted for occupational or medical reasons, he added, and at least 100 of the remaining 200 would prefer two years as AROTC officers to two years as draftees.
Under present AROTC rules, a freshman can join the program without having to commit himself until the beginning of his junior year. At age 19 a student with a high lottery number could drop out of AROTC without being penalized.
Michael Denger, a third-year Law School student helping revise Scovell's letter, said yesterday, "What we object to is the students' not having the opportunity to choose.
"We would like people in our position in future years to be able to continue fulfilling their ROTC obligations here, if they choose." Denger said. "Were not trying to push the Army; were just trying to push the option."