As Harvard welcomes back ROTC, other elite schools may follow
At a ceremony with the secretary of the Navy, Harvard welcomes ROTC back to its campus, ending a Vietnam-era ban. Columbia, Brown, and other top schools may soon do the same.
Elite universities like to compete, and Harvard Friday crossed the finish line as the first elite school to welcome back ROTC to its campus since Congress ended the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military in December.Skip to next paragraph
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But watch out Harvard: others may not be far behind.
The bans on the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Harvard and other elite schools date back to the Vietnam era. Most of the schools that still ban ROTC – including Brown, Columbia, Stanford, Yale, and the University of Chicago – have flirted with the idea of getting rid of these policies for years. But with the repeal of DADT, several have shown a reinvigorated willingness to reconsider their policies.
The Senate, a university-wide legislature that represents Columbia faculty, students, and administrators and makes policy on a range of university-wide issues, formed the task force after the DADT repeal.
Around 60 percent of Columbia students surveyed said they support bringing ROTC back to campus, according to a Columbia Senate poll. Mr. Mazor says the Senate is slated to vote sometime in April on whether it is bringing back ROTC.
At Brown University in Providence, R.I., University President Ruth Simmons appointed a similar committee of students and faculty in February to study their own ROTC policy. The committee is expected to make their progress known on March 15, according to the university’s website.
While ROTC does not maintain on offices on campuses from which it is banned, individual students at those universities can be enrolled in ROTC and receive their training at campuses nearby.
At the signing ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., reversing Harvard’s ban on ROTC, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a Harvard Law School graduate, invoked the school’s long relationship with the military, pointing out that Harvard boasts 17 Medal of Honor recipients, trailing only West Point and Annapolis.