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Posted at 6:35 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Harvard reopens door to ROTC

By Daniel de Vise

Harvard University on Thursday became the most prominent college to welcome the Reserve Officer Training Corps back to campus in response to congressional repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Many universities, including some of the nation's top institutions, have decades-long bans on ROTC because of the old "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which their leaders deemed discriminatory.

"Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Friday are scheduled to sign an agreement that will recognize the Naval ROTC's formal presence on campus," the AP reports.

Military access to Harvard became a news item during the confirmation process of Elena Kagan, the newest Supreme Court justice, who became involved in Harvard's military recruitment policies while dean of the law school there.

I surveyed dozens of Washington-area colleges shortly after the ban was lifted and, at the time, found none that reported a movement to restore ROTC. If anyone knows of such an initiative, feel free to chime in with a comment.

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By Daniel de Vise  | March 3, 2011; 6:35 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Students  | Tags:  Harvard ROTC, ROTC ban Harvard, ROTC colleges, gays in the military  
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This is a bold move by a fine institution. FYI - Our brave gay and lesbian troops are exercising their freedom of speech by saying "Do Ask, Do Tell" now at - the social network for gay servicemen and women.

Posted by: skoa | March 3, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

As for DC area campuses, I don't know of any that had a ban on ROTC, so I'm not sure that any needed to welcome them back. Georgetown, GW, and Howard are the home units to the respective Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC branches for the DC-area consortium. So kind of a moot point.

Posted by: sdc8 | March 3, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I can't speak for DC area schools, but per its 1/10/11 press release, Yale is already in discussion with DOD to return ROTC to the campus.

ROTC discussions underway between Yale and Defense Department

There is a national umbrella organization Advocates for ROTC

Surprised this was not found by the reporter.

Posted by: Bradley145 | March 3, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

as a student at a Boston area college that prides itself on solid civilian-military relations, I am very happy to hear this news. Schools which train policy-makers and strategic scholars should be able to welcome military men and women among them.

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Posted by: zhenge35 | March 4, 2011 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Wow. My respect for President Faust just went up 1,000%.
My brother, a Vietnam vet and Harvard graduate, has been active in the Restore ROTC to Harvard movement. I told him it would never happen. I am SO HAPPY that I was wrong!

Posted by: DorothyfromColumbus | March 4, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

To the best of my knowledge, University of Maryland has both Army and Air Force ROTC. For Navy ROTC, there's an agreement with another university in the region.

Posted by: TerryMcT | March 4, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Stanford is moving in a similar direction to reinstate ROTC:

Posted by: grahamDC | March 4, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back? I seriously doubt that these liberal cesspools welcome ROTC. It's a waste of our tax dollars.
They'll probably want to form their own girlie man battalions and butch brigades.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 4, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What a pointlessly nasty remark about the gay men and women who risk their lives for our country every day, Larry. Shame on you.

I know that Columbia University is reopening the ROTC conversation.

Posted by: NYC123 | March 4, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't "many" colleges that closed down their ROTC programs in the 1970s. It was a handful of Ivy League schools and Stanford. And it wasn't over "don't ask-don't tell", but rather because at that time a large majority of their students and faculty despised the military.

It's unlikely that there's enough student interest at these schools to justify re-establishment of formal ROTC programs. They will "recognize" ROTC by allowing course credit for their students participating at neighboring universities.

Posted by: corco02az | March 4, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Harvard students have always been able to join the NROTC batallion down river at the superior Cambridge school, MIT.

Posted by: BillTfromBaltimore | March 4, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

If I recall correctly,during the Kagan hearing some analysts were saying the military did not have much interest in going back into the Ivy League schools. This was because,once the draft went away,students at those schools did not have much motivation to join ROTC. If they really wanted to serve,they could have applied for a service academy or enlisted for officer training after graduation. The military reportedly felt the expense involved in ROTC at these schools wasn't worth the small number of recruits they would get.

Posted by: 20steveltd | March 4, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Never mind of course that Harvard and other schools first kicked ROTC programs off their campuses back during the Vietnam War and are only know pandering to gay interests to suggest their continued reluctance had anything to do with gay soldiers. Harvard and the rest of these schools look down on much of the military and seek to undermine concepts of authority that the military represents.

Posted by: cprferry | March 4, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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