A Survey of ROTC's Status in the Ivies

The following report was prepared by Crimson staff members Amanda P. Bennett, Robin Freedberg, Geoffrey D. Garin, Seth M. Kupferberg, H. Jeffrey Leonard, Richard J. Meislin, Mark J. Penn, Dale S. Russakoff, and Peter M. Shane.

There are hushed whispers at Harvard, peaceful objections at Princeton and ROTC courses at three of the eight Ivy League institutions. More than three years after the 1969 outburst of campus antiwar protest, the ROTC program is limited but credited at Cornell and Penn, extracurricular at Princeton and dead and buried at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth.

Like an octopus, ROTC firmly plant its tentacles into all Ivy League school for decades. But since the late 1960s, when the program became a target of antiwar protest at all eight colleges, ROTC and the various climates in which it lived or died have taken different forms.

A look at ROTC's fate at the eight Ivy schools reveals that the arms of the Ivy League ROTC octopus no longer seem to belong to the same animal.


ROTC left the Dartmouth campus in much the same way that it exited from Harvard's pearly gates. In 1969, student opposition to the Vietnam war fostered widespread agitation against the program. Students viewed Dartmouth's cooperation in officer training as evidence of more than tacit approval of the U.S.'s war effort. So in the Spring of 1969, about 200 students occupied Dartmouth's central administration building demanding the abolition of ROTC. The Administration called in the state police and had the students peacefully evicted.

A student vote to strike until ROTC was abolished virtually shut the school down. As a first result, classes and examinations were cancelled, and almost everyone got A's in courses they had technically not completed. Secondly, the faculty voted to abolish ROTC and the Administration announced that no new ROTC students would be accepted and no new contracts with the Defense Department would be negotiated.

ROTC finally left the Dartmouth campus when a handful of Navy officers was graduated from the college last spring. Army and Air Force training had ceased two years earlier.

Harold Moorman, professor of Military Science at Dartmouth from 1954-1960 and now director of the college's career counseling unit, opposed the eviction of ROTC from the campus. He maintained that the program had benefits to offer individual students and the college. But Moorman, who retired from the Army in 1964, said yesterday that student interest in ROTC has waned and that "it certainly would be silly to teach a course that no one wants to take."


The University of Pennsylvania is one of the few Ivy League schools which still maintains an active ROTC program. The Army and Navy units are old ones--Penn had an Air Force unit which it has given up--and there appears to be little possibility that Penn will move to terminate its ROTC program in the near future.

Students receive credit for ROTC courses from three of the University's undergraduate divisions: The College for Women, The Wharton School and The School of Engineering. Students in the largest undergraduate division, The School of Arts and Sciences cannot get academic credit for ROTC courses.

Arts and Sciences suspended ROTC credit after Penn students demonstrated against the program in 1970. In 1971, demonstrations to have ROTC removed entirely from the University proved unsuccessful.

ROTC's presence is no longer a major issue at Penn. After ROTC enrollment reached its low point in 1971, student participation in the program began to rise and continues to do so.

Charles Dwyer, assistant professor of Education at Penn, who wrote the Faculty report on ROTC in 1971, called Penn's ROTC program "unconventional" and said that the directors of ROTC at Penn have taken "the broadest kind of latitude in designing their own program."