- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Prominent Harvard alumni are trying to restore the Reserve Officers' Training Corps to the liberal university's campus after 32 years.
"A time like this makes the ROTC so important. I'd like to see the president of Harvard say, 'We're at war, and we need ROTC training,'" said David Clayman of Lawrence, Mass., a 1938 Harvard alumnus who heads a group called Advocates for Harvard ROTC.
"But at Harvard, ROTC cadets are not wanted; they are not tolerated. It's a deplorable, humiliating situation," Mr. Clayman says.
Advocates for Harvard ROTC have collected 900 signatures of alumni who want to see the return of the ROTC on the Cambridge, Mass., campus. Influential signers include former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Staples founder Leo Kahn. "Caspar Weinberger is on our advisory board," Mr. Clayman said.
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps, established in 1916 to ensure that well-educated men were well-represented in the armed services, was banished from Harvard in 1969 when the campus was engulfed in anti-war turmoil.
Several other schools, including Dartmouth College, and Stanford, Yale and New York universities also abolished the ROTC. Mr. Clayman identified a Washington state woman with two sons who attend Stanford, who has told him she wants to "replicate his efforts" and try to get the ROTC re-established at the California university.
The ROTC is a program that fell into decline after the Vietnam War and began to shrink sharply following the end of the Cold War. Student participation in the Army ROTC peaked at 177,422 in the 1966-67 academic year, but was only 28,470 last year. The number of ROTC programs on college campuses fell from a high of 413 in 1990 to 269 in 2000.
The Bush administration's war on terrorism has sparked renewed interest in the ROTC. Although no quantitative data are available, Paul Kotakis, a national spokesman for the Army ROTC, says, "Based on anecdotal information I'm receiving, without question, we've seen increased interest over the past month."
He and other ROTC officials say this heightened interest can be seen by an increase in the number of students who have walked into ROTC offices, sought information by phone, and applied for ROTC scholarships on the Internet since Sept. 11.
Col. Stefan Eisen, national commander of the Air Force ROTC, said enrollment in that program was growing even before last month's terrorist attacks. "It's 17,395 this year; up from 13,900 last year," he said. He attributes the rise, in part, to the availability of online scholarship application capabilities.
Today at Harvard, the 43 students enrolled in ROTC have to drill and take related classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Anonymous alumni donors pay MIT about $135,000 a year to provide the training. "Harvard does not give one red cent," Mr. Clayman said.
That is correct, says Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn. He said Harvard stopped funding the off-campus training after an openly homosexual male student was forced out of ROTC in the early 1990s.
"At that time, a committee recommended to Harvard's president that the university should not continue the funding, since [terminating the homosexual] violated Harvard's anti-discrimination policy," Mr. Wrinn said.
He declined to speculate on whether ROTC training would come back to the Harvard campus. "But since World War I, there has always been strong institutional support for ROTC and cadets from Harvard," he said, adding that the school has found donors to ensure that the off-campus program continues.
Mr. Clayman says, "Things are not all hunky-dory, as Mr. Wrinn suggests." But he says he is encouraged by recent comments by Harvard's new president, Lawrence Summers, which were published in the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper.
Even if Harvard were to recognize ROTC, the Army would not return because it would be too costly, Maj. Robert W. Curran, assistant professor of military science at MIT's ROTC program, told the Associated Press last week.

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