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Report Upholds ROTC Tie, But Without Direct Funding

Corporation Must Approve Rudenstine's Compromise Plan

By Jonathan N. Axelrod and Douglas M. Pravda

Ending years of dispute and delay, President Neil L. Rudenstine yesterday released a report recommending that Harvard students continue participating in ROTC, but without direct University funding.

In the report, which is dated November 23, Rudenstine calls for the University to create a pool of money funded by alumni contributions that would pay the ROTC fee to MIT. About 70 Harvard students are currently enrolled in ROTC at MIT, and their fee is now paid from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences budget.

The proposal would be a compromise between severing all ties to ROTC, the position recommended in a 1992 faculty committee report and endorsed by the full Faculty last year, and maintaining Harvard's current ties to the program. To become policy, it must be approved by the Corporation, Harvard's seven-member governing board.

Rudenstine's recommendation, which was discussed in yesterday's Faculty Council meeting, said alumni have come forward, unsolicited, and volunteered to pay the fee.

But council members and ROTC activists questioned whether the proposal, if enacted, would continue to violate Harvard's policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.

John B. Fox Jr. '59, secretary to the Faculty Council, said that the statement had been "altered" since the council saw it two weeks ago, but several council members yesterday said they were still unhappy with the document.

In yesterday's meeting, council members decided not to take a vote on the recommendation because members did not think it necessary. Although Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles will present the report at a full Faculty meeting December 13, the faculty has no official authority over University ROTC policy.

According to Corporation member Henry Rosovsky, the body will likely discuss ROTC at its meeting two weeks from now. Since Rudenstine announced Monday that he will take an indefinite medical leave, Acting President Albert Carnesale will have to oversee the report's implementation if it is approved.

The Verba Report

The 1992 report, which recommended severing funding to ROTC because of the military's ban on gay, bisexual and lesbian servicepeople and cadets.

The committee, chaired by Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53, specifically recommended ending direct University financial subsidies for the program while still allowing individual Harvard students to participate.

Rudenstine, in his report, said his decision "comes as close to achieving the committee's objectives as I believe we practicably can, without terminating the ROTC option altogether."

Verba called the recommendation "an alternative that is within the general framework that we recommended."

"Having outside funds support the payment to MIT is not specifically what we recommended, Verba said. "But it is consistent with the University stopping using its own funds to pay for the program at MIT."

Verba said the ROTC issue is "murky," but the Rudenstine compromise "does not violate the specifics of Harvard's non-discriminatory policy."

Others argued the recommendation by Rudenstine does not solve the problem of discrimination.

"Rudenstine's proposal does indeed end the use of general fund for ROTC, but the fact that funds are held in a special account does not, in our view, change the conclusion," said Thomas A. Gerace '93, the chair of the Committee to End Discrimination by Harvard. "The fact is, the subsidy of ROTC violates Harvard's non-discriminatory policy."

In a press release yesterday, Gerace's committee reiterated its disapproval of any form of Harvard funding for ROTC.

"We consider it unacceptable, however, for Harvard to continue to write checks to finance a program which discriminates against its own students," the release said.

Several members of the Faculty Council also said the report did not really cut ties to ROTC.

"I think the current policy is incompatible with Harvard's anti-discriminatory policy," said Professor of Government Kenneth A. Shepsle, a member of the Faculty Council.

"I am a little troubled by it," he said. "I felt the [Department of Defense] had not become consistent with Harvard's policy against discrimination by sexual preference."

Other Faculty Council members, though, said the University was taking a compromise stance on a difficult issue.

"It's very satisfying to deliver ... a pontification on the lack of civil rights in the military. On the other hand, there are also people who are going to suffer if there's no ROTC at Harvard," Professor of History James Hankins said. "I think the University is obviously trying to finesse the issue, to some extent, and put ROTC at arm's length and make the arm longer."

Rudenstine said in the report he was not condoning the military's policies on homosexuals.

"We should, however, take another step toward making clear that Harvard's continued involvement with ROTC does not imply university endorsement of the present federal policy toward ROTC service by gay and lesbian students," the report said.

But Gerace said the report's stance is hypocritical.

"The University does not need to imply endorsement of ROTC," he said. "It explicitly gives its support through the payment of the MIT fee."

Rudenstine's Decision

Rudenstine said in the report that he weighed three basic considerations in making his decision on ROTC policy.

First, he wrote, he was concerned that if ROTC ties are severed they could be difficult to re-establish if the military changes its policy, because ROTC programs are being scaled back across the country.

Secondly, the report said, he believed that a decision to sever ties with ROTC would have no effect on the military's policies regarding homosexuals in the military.

Finally, he wrote, he considered the University's non-discrimination policy, and whether it mandated cutting all ties to ROTC.

"I recognize that the course of action I have outlined will not be satisfactory to many members of our community," Rudenstine said in the report. "My own judgment is that the course of action described above offers the best alternative under existing circumstances, even though it does not claim to resolve the tension between the different values at stake."

Gerace said he disagreed with Rudenstine's assessment that a decision to sever ties to ROTC would have no effect on the military's policy.

"Harvard is a leader among universities," Gerace said. "Other presidents look to ours for leadership. Other faculties look to ours for moral direction. Like it or not, Harvard policies, including the policy on ROTC, extend well beyond Cambridge."

Rudenstine also emphasized the benefits of ROTC in his report, as part of the justification for continued funding.

He included its educational value for students and the benefit to the nation of having graduates of top schools in the military.

The report also said that Rudenstine was concerned with allowing all students admitted to be able to attend Harvard. Severing ties could keep some students on ROTC scholarships from attending, the report said.

According to the report, the cost for ROTC is between $30,000 and $35,000 per class, making the total pledged alumni contribution in the neighborhood of half a million dollars over four years.

Student Groups

Campus groups which have been protesting the University's ROTC policy expressed differing opinions over the report.

"I feel a certain disappointment after reading the report," said Royce C. Lin '96, the co-chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association (BGLSA). "Because I feel by continuing to fund an organization which continues to discriminate against Harvard's own students, it's an unjustified break of principle."

"Regardless of the means through which funds flow, Harvard is still involved with an organization which discriminates," he said. "Until Harvard can say with a clear conscience that it has nothing to do with RCTC, enough has not been done."

"I think it still conflicts with Harvard's non-discriminatory policy because Harvard is still 'entangled' with ROTC," Lin said.

Moon Duchin '97, the BGLSA's other co-chair, said she thought it was a good short-term solution.

"It's progress," she said. "Financially, Harvard is washing its hands of it."

Lin agreed that it was a step, if only a small one.

"I acknowledge transferring the source of funding is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough," he said. "It is unacceptable for Harvard to discriminate."

Duchin said that BGLSA will probably have an official reaction that will likely "recognize that this is progress, but press for an end to the discrimination."

In contrast, the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard (CLUH) said it was satisfied with the report.

"It's not as much as some of us had hoped for, but it is a reasonable and thoughtful compromise," said CLUH Director Eric D. Miller '96. "Students tuition dollars will no longer go toward a discriminatory program like ROTC. It's as much as we could have reasonably hoped for."

Jeff A. Redding '96, CLUH project director for ROTC, agreed.

"The outcome is consistent with the Verba committee report. So, CLUH does not have a problem with the setup, since Harvard is not using money from students," he said. "I don't think Harvard is endorsing discrimination because Harvard itself is not giving the money. It is analogous to these students paying themselves."

Undergraduate Council President David L. Hanselman '94-'95 went even further and said he "was very supportive of the fact that [Rudenstine] did not sever all ties to ROTC." But he made clear he was not speaking on behalf of the council.

"I don't know if the council will take a stand on it," he said.

Harvard's long ROTC march

1968

December 12: Students crash a Faculty meeting at Paine Hall scheduled to Consider Harvard's curricular ties to ROTC.

1969

February 4: The Faculty recommends that the administration rescind ROTC's academic status and make it an extracurricular activity.

April 9: Students take ever University Hall, demanding that the University sever all ties with ROTC.

1970

Harvard students can participate in ROTC by enrolling in MIT's ROTC units.

1976

The Faculty approve a measure allowing students to cross-register in ROTC courses at MIT without receiving Harvard credit.

1990

May: The Faculty Council issues a statement "deploring discrimination by military services against gay and lesbian students." It recommends that if the military does not change its policy significantly in two years, Harvard should not its ties to ROTC.

1991

1992

Rudenstine establishes the Verbs committee on ROTC. The committees again recommends that Harvard out its ties unless the military others its stance on gays in the military.

1993

February: Rudenstine extends ROTC for another year, saying he is negotiating with MIT to allow Harvard students to participate in ROTC, without the University paying MIT for involvement.

1994

November: President Rudenstine announces his ROTC plan which allows students to continue participation, but with special alumni contributions, not tuition dollars, paying for the administrative cost.CrimsonMelody A. Lee and SoRelle B. Braun

Verba called the recommendation "an alternative that is within the general framework that we recommended."

"Having outside funds support the payment to MIT is not specifically what we recommended, Verba said. "But it is consistent with the University stopping using its own funds to pay for the program at MIT."

Verba said the ROTC issue is "murky," but the Rudenstine compromise "does not violate the specifics of Harvard's non-discriminatory policy."

Others argued the recommendation by Rudenstine does not solve the problem of discrimination.

"Rudenstine's proposal does indeed end the use of general fund for ROTC, but the fact that funds are held in a special account does not, in our view, change the conclusion," said Thomas A. Gerace '93, the chair of the Committee to End Discrimination by Harvard. "The fact is, the subsidy of ROTC violates Harvard's non-discriminatory policy."

In a press release yesterday, Gerace's committee reiterated its disapproval of any form of Harvard funding for ROTC.

"We consider it unacceptable, however, for Harvard to continue to write checks to finance a program which discriminates against its own students," the release said.

Several members of the Faculty Council also said the report did not really cut ties to ROTC.

"I think the current policy is incompatible with Harvard's anti-discriminatory policy," said Professor of Government Kenneth A. Shepsle, a member of the Faculty Council.

"I am a little troubled by it," he said. "I felt the [Department of Defense] had not become consistent with Harvard's policy against discrimination by sexual preference."

Other Faculty Council members, though, said the University was taking a compromise stance on a difficult issue.

"It's very satisfying to deliver ... a pontification on the lack of civil rights in the military. On the other hand, there are also people who are going to suffer if there's no ROTC at Harvard," Professor of History James Hankins said. "I think the University is obviously trying to finesse the issue, to some extent, and put ROTC at arm's length and make the arm longer."

Rudenstine said in the report he was not condoning the military's policies on homosexuals.

"We should, however, take another step toward making clear that Harvard's continued involvement with ROTC does not imply university endorsement of the present federal policy toward ROTC service by gay and lesbian students," the report said.

But Gerace said the report's stance is hypocritical.

"The University does not need to imply endorsement of ROTC," he said. "It explicitly gives its support through the payment of the MIT fee."

Rudenstine's Decision

Rudenstine said in the report that he weighed three basic considerations in making his decision on ROTC policy.

First, he wrote, he was concerned that if ROTC ties are severed they could be difficult to re-establish if the military changes its policy, because ROTC programs are being scaled back across the country.

Secondly, the report said, he believed that a decision to sever ties with ROTC would have no effect on the military's policies regarding homosexuals in the military.

Finally, he wrote, he considered the University's non-discrimination policy, and whether it mandated cutting all ties to ROTC.

"I recognize that the course of action I have outlined will not be satisfactory to many members of our community," Rudenstine said in the report. "My own judgment is that the course of action described above offers the best alternative under existing circumstances, even though it does not claim to resolve the tension between the different values at stake."

Gerace said he disagreed with Rudenstine's assessment that a decision to sever ties to ROTC would have no effect on the military's policy.

"Harvard is a leader among universities," Gerace said. "Other presidents look to ours for leadership. Other faculties look to ours for moral direction. Like it or not, Harvard policies, including the policy on ROTC, extend well beyond Cambridge."

Rudenstine also emphasized the benefits of ROTC in his report, as part of the justification for continued funding.

He included its educational value for students and the benefit to the nation of having graduates of top schools in the military.

The report also said that Rudenstine was concerned with allowing all students admitted to be able to attend Harvard. Severing ties could keep some students on ROTC scholarships from attending, the report said.

According to the report, the cost for ROTC is between $30,000 and $35,000 per class, making the total pledged alumni contribution in the neighborhood of half a million dollars over four years.

Student Groups

Campus groups which have been protesting the University's ROTC policy expressed differing opinions over the report.

"I feel a certain disappointment after reading the report," said Royce C. Lin '96, the co-chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association (BGLSA). "Because I feel by continuing to fund an organization which continues to discriminate against Harvard's own students, it's an unjustified break of principle."

"Regardless of the means through which funds flow, Harvard is still involved with an organization which discriminates," he said. "Until Harvard can say with a clear conscience that it has nothing to do with RCTC, enough has not been done."

"I think it still conflicts with Harvard's non-discriminatory policy because Harvard is still 'entangled' with ROTC," Lin said.

Moon Duchin '97, the BGLSA's other co-chair, said she thought it was a good short-term solution.

"It's progress," she said. "Financially, Harvard is washing its hands of it."

Lin agreed that it was a step, if only a small one.

"I acknowledge transferring the source of funding is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough," he said. "It is unacceptable for Harvard to discriminate."

Duchin said that BGLSA will probably have an official reaction that will likely "recognize that this is progress, but press for an end to the discrimination."

In contrast, the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard (CLUH) said it was satisfied with the report.

"It's not as much as some of us had hoped for, but it is a reasonable and thoughtful compromise," said CLUH Director Eric D. Miller '96. "Students tuition dollars will no longer go toward a discriminatory program like ROTC. It's as much as we could have reasonably hoped for."

Jeff A. Redding '96, CLUH project director for ROTC, agreed.

"The outcome is consistent with the Verba committee report. So, CLUH does not have a problem with the setup, since Harvard is not using money from students," he said. "I don't think Harvard is endorsing discrimination because Harvard itself is not giving the money. It is analogous to these students paying themselves."

Undergraduate Council President David L. Hanselman '94-'95 went even further and said he "was very supportive of the fact that [Rudenstine] did not sever all ties to ROTC." But he made clear he was not speaking on behalf of the council.

"I don't know if the council will take a stand on it," he said.

Harvard's long ROTC march

1968

December 12: Students crash a Faculty meeting at Paine Hall scheduled to Consider Harvard's curricular ties to ROTC.

1969

February 4: The Faculty recommends that the administration rescind ROTC's academic status and make it an extracurricular activity.

April 9: Students take ever University Hall, demanding that the University sever all ties with ROTC.

1970

Harvard students can participate in ROTC by enrolling in MIT's ROTC units.

1976

The Faculty approve a measure allowing students to cross-register in ROTC courses at MIT without receiving Harvard credit.

1990

May: The Faculty Council issues a statement "deploring discrimination by military services against gay and lesbian students." It recommends that if the military does not change its policy significantly in two years, Harvard should not its ties to ROTC.

1991

1992

Rudenstine establishes the Verbs committee on ROTC. The committees again recommends that Harvard out its ties unless the military others its stance on gays in the military.

1993

February: Rudenstine extends ROTC for another year, saying he is negotiating with MIT to allow Harvard students to participate in ROTC, without the University paying MIT for involvement.

1994

November: President Rudenstine announces his ROTC plan which allows students to continue participation, but with special alumni contributions, not tuition dollars, paying for the administrative cost.CrimsonMelody A. Lee and SoRelle B. Braun

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