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UC Seeks to Ban ROTC Ceremony At Graduation

Wants Commissioning Held Out of Yard

By Peggy S. Chen

The Undergraduate Council passed a resolution, 30-20, last night asking the University to ban the annual Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Commencement Week commissioning ceremony from the Yard because of the Armed Services' discriminatory position toward homosexuals.

The council also asked that the ceremony not be listed in Commencement Week programs.

The issue was very controversial with passionate supporters on both sides.

Supporters of the resolution pointed out that allowing ROTC to have the ceremony in the Yard implies an endorsement of the program and is in violation of the University's anti-discriminatory policy.

"It's not an issue of patriotism, but of the University maintaining a strong stance against discrimination," said Joshua L. Oppenheimer '97, the political chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association (BGLSA).

"It's about being denied the right, the honor and the moral duty to serve the country which we live in," he said.

In recent years, five students have been removed from ROTC because of their sexual orientation, Oppenheimer said.

The ROTC program has not been on the Harvard campus since 1969. Harvard students in ROTC must go to MIT for their classes and activities.

Their scholarships are not funded by the University, but by a special alumni fund.

However, a significant minority of council members said the resolution will needlessly harm ROTC students who have no control over the military's policies.

"[It's an] act of stigmitization to those who most merit our praise," said Eric M. Nelson '99, who is a Crimson editor.

"Harvard has treated [ROTC students] as if they were lepers. It's a slap in the face of every undergraduate who still values honor, duty and country," said John Applebaum '97.

The resolution also asks the University to reinstate the ROTC program when the military no longer discriminates against homosexuals.

The bill falls under the Grimmelman-Nelson Act and will be sent to Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 for approval, veto or return with suggested amendments. Lewis has two weeks to consider the bill.

In additional business, Director of Dining Services Michael P. Berry addressed the council's concerns about the decision to replace Coke with Pepsi in the dining halls.

Last week, the council passed a resolution asking Harvard Dining Services to re-sign with Coke because of student preference and PepsiCo's investments in Burma, a country known for its human rights abuses.

Berry said he will consider the council's concerns about PepsiCo's human rights record and will decide between Coke and Pepsi by Friday.

"I will take your resolution into consideration. I will also take getting you good products and service into consideration," he said.

Berry said that during negotiations, both companies had agreed to donate $25,000 for student activities. The council would receive $15,000.

Berry also announced for the first time plans to allow students to use their identification cards in vending machines and laundry machines.

The council was also visited by new Harvard Police Chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley, who addressed student concerns about safety.

The council also passed a series of uncontroversial and uncontested resolutions.

The council asked the University to keep Cabot Library open 24 hours, to allow upperclass students to eat at Annenberg during certain hours, to keep the Loker Tex-Mex and ice cream stations open longer and to include peer counseling groups in the mandatory orientation week presentation on student conduct.

The council also voted to add an additional $2,000 to the original $5,000 allocated for a band for Springfest, which will be held next month.

Because many bands originally announced were unavailable, the council has a list of new possibilities: Pharcyde, Samples, Ani Di Franco, Freddy Jones and Suzanne Vega

In additional business, Director of Dining Services Michael P. Berry addressed the council's concerns about the decision to replace Coke with Pepsi in the dining halls.

Last week, the council passed a resolution asking Harvard Dining Services to re-sign with Coke because of student preference and PepsiCo's investments in Burma, a country known for its human rights abuses.

Berry said he will consider the council's concerns about PepsiCo's human rights record and will decide between Coke and Pepsi by Friday.

"I will take your resolution into consideration. I will also take getting you good products and service into consideration," he said.

Berry said that during negotiations, both companies had agreed to donate $25,000 for student activities. The council would receive $15,000.

Berry also announced for the first time plans to allow students to use their identification cards in vending machines and laundry machines.

The council was also visited by new Harvard Police Chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley, who addressed student concerns about safety.

The council also passed a series of uncontroversial and uncontested resolutions.

The council asked the University to keep Cabot Library open 24 hours, to allow upperclass students to eat at Annenberg during certain hours, to keep the Loker Tex-Mex and ice cream stations open longer and to include peer counseling groups in the mandatory orientation week presentation on student conduct.

The council also voted to add an additional $2,000 to the original $5,000 allocated for a band for Springfest, which will be held next month.

Because many bands originally announced were unavailable, the council has a list of new possibilities: Pharcyde, Samples, Ani Di Franco, Freddy Jones and Suzanne Vega

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