- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2011

BOSTON | Harvard University is welcoming ROTC back to campus this week, 41 years after banishing it amid dissent over the Vietnam War.

The Cambridge, Mass., school’s change in policy follows the decision by Congress in December to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military, an official familiar with the arrangement said Thursday.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus are scheduled to sign an agreement on Friday that will recognize the Naval ROTC’s formal presence on campus, according to the official, who wasn’t allowed to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

As part of the agreement, a director of Naval ROTC at Harvard will be appointed, and the university will resume funding the program. Harvard cadets will still train at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as they have for years.

Harvard and several other prominent schools, including Stanford, Yale and Columbia, kept the Vietnam-era ban in place following the war because of what they viewed as a discriminatory military policy forbidding gays from serving openly.

But after Congress repealed the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in December, Harvard’s president said she would work toward ROTC’s return.

Harvard, which threw ROTC off its campus in 1969, is the first prominent school to rescind its ban since December.