<< The Body Politic

Why the wait?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Why the wait? That’s the question ACTA president Anne Neal is asking Harvard about restoring ROTC to campus. As she points out, providing official recognition to ROTC – as opposed to establishing a new unit on campus – is an action that the university can and should undertake immediately.

Harvard president Drew Faust’s response is disappointing. While she confirmed that the university is in discussion with the military, she noted that those discussions were focused on “the gay and lesbian issue” and that the transgender issue still has to be sorted through:

“The issues that are being voiced now by transgender students are ones that I think the military hasn’t entirely sorted through because it has been posed to them over the last two decades in terms of gays and lesbians,” Faust said.

“These are voices that have become much more forceful and much more vocal in recent years.”

Meanwhile, Harvard’s archrival – Yale – is moving forward. Fox News notes that Yale has taken the “biggest actual steps in returning the ROTC to campus” with President Richard C. Levin even contacting Defense secretary Robert Gates to express Yale’s interest in establishing a new unit.

Foot-draggers should also take note that pressure for restoring ROTC is stepping up. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called on Columbia to reinstate its ROTC program, while Congressman Duncan Hunter is urging President Obama to make good on his State of the Union address promise and ensure universities “open their doors” to ROTC – via the Solomon Amendment, if necessary.

Cross-posted at the Weekly Standard.