BOSTON Harvard University formally welcomed the Reserve Officers Training Corps back on campus Tuesday. The move keeps the university’s promise to re-establish the program upon repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned gays from openly serving in the military.
When Harvard voted to expel ROTC from its campus in 1971 it was over a different political issue: the Vietnam War. In the years since, Harvard students who have wanted to participate in ROTC have had to travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After Tuesday, they still will.
Harvard President Drew Faust said the real change will be in the program’s visibility, with a director and office on campus.
“That office will be in a building that houses many undergraduate activities and so students will see it, have access to it and the presence of the military on campus will be evident to them,” Faust said.
The school will also start taking direct financial responsibility for the costs of the program, which have previously been covered by alumni donations.
For now, the agreement extends only to the Naval ROTC, but Faust said Harvard is talking with other branches about their possible return to campus.