WASHINGTON, DC—The Associated Press is reporting that Harvard will formally recognize NROTC (Naval ROTC) on the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus Friday, establishing a physical presence for ROTC cadets, appointing a Director, and funding the program. This is a notable break with past practice where boards have deferred to faculty on this issue.
The decision comes just days after the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) wrote the board, calling for immediate official recognition of on-campus ROTC. ACTA has urged Harvard to restore ROTC to campus for years, through written correspondence with the Corporation. ACTA represents alumni across the country concerned about this issue and has uniquely called upon trustees at several schools to take action in restoring ROTC.
“Bravo to Harvard. President Drew Faust and the governing body of Harvard University did right by students when they invited ROTC back on campus,” said Anne D. Neal, ACTA’s president. “It’s time for our campuses to put the anti-military sentiment of the ’60s behind them and properly support students who wish to serve our country and to defend our liberties.”
“For too long, there has been a chasm between the nation’s elite schools and those who defend them,” said Ms. Neal, who graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. “Harvard has shown real leadership by expanding student opportunities for service and recognizing the critical role students with a liberal arts education can play in bringing informed and diverse perspectives to military planning.”
“This is the first time since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that a trustee has taken concrete action on this issue. President Faust has done the right thing—she’s not waiting for the faculty or for anyone. Harvard has done the right thing. Now it’s time for other leading institutions—Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Brown and Tufts—to follow suit,” said Neal.
Harvard is one of numerous private schools that banned ROTC from campus during the Vietnam War—and has resisted ROTC’s return to campus because of objections to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Harvard students wishing to participate in ROTC must commute to MIT to do so. Now, as military policy is beginning to change, Harvard is setting the standard by welcoming ROTC back to campus.