The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

Now that the Harvard Corporation has acted on the ROTC motion presented by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, there is a crying need to make one fact crystal clear: the action which has been taken is emphatically political, not academic.

Why is it even necessary to make such a distinction? Primarily, because there is the strong insinuation both in the motion itself and in President Pusey's statement that action was taken to remove academic credit after careful consideration of the ROTC curriculum. Nothing could be further from the truth. In their "august deliberations," the Faculty of Arts and Sciences did not devote even one minute to the quality of the Air Force ROTC curriculum. As a matter of fact, no member of the faculty even indicated an awareness of the existence of a separate branch of the Department of Defense known as the USAF. The faculty members who spoke at the decisive meeting on 4 February 1969 invariably lumped everything together as "the Army." Let us nor further insult the intelligence and sensitivity of those interested by pretending that the Faculty motion, and the approval by Harvard Corporation, rest on academic principles. To call a spade a spde, the war in Vietnam precipitated the action at Harvard, not concern for academic quality. There is absolutely no justification for imputing what has happened to a higher (or purer) motive. It is simply political, not academic. Vive le viscera. The cavalier treatment given to ROTC by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences must be seen for what it was: a supercilious, offhand treatment of a grave issue.

Again, let us call a spade a spade. The Air Force ROTC program provides pre-professional education in military officership. That fact should not shock anyone. If we are to be accepted on campus, we must be accepted for what we are, not for what various interest groups would like to reduce us to. AFROTC is not at Harvard or on any other campus to train students to go "tiptoeing through the tulips." AFROTC may need a little trimming here and there, but we hardly need the meat ax.

It must be kept in mind that the real concern of the Air Force is with the possibility of nuclear confrontation, not student confrontation. As Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr., the newly appointed Secretary of the Air Force recently stated, "The primary objective in he Air Force is to develop equipment necessary for national security."


Finally, the USAF is honored to be represented at Harvard University, and some would no doubt rejoice in that fact that Texas A&M and the University of Alabama are not the only schools making inputs into the professional officer corps of the USAF.

Why, one of my best friends is a Harvard graduate! W. R. (Bob) Folk   Professor of Aerospace Studies   Major, USAF   Harvard University