All freshman have filed draft registration formAll members of this year's freshman class who were required by law to register for the draft completed the "Statement of Registration Status," according to Director of Student Financial Aid Leonard V. Gallagher '54.
Fewer students each year, especially freshmen, have indicated their refusal to register with the Selective Service to the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO). Two years ago, when the Class of 1987 entered the Institute, there were 17 non-registrants. Last year, seven members of the Class of 1988 refused to register.
Financial aid policies concerning draft registration will not be altered unless Congress changes the law, Gallagher said. "Our responsibility is simply [not] to ... release any federal funds to a student who has not complied with the Selective Service," he explained.
The same policy applies to state funds. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, after Gov. Michael Dukakis reversed a veto, instituted a similar law restricting state funds in November 1984.
Gallagher also confirmed that there were no special cases in which a non-complying student still receives aid due to a circumstance such as a handicap. "If a student wishes to receive aid without filing the compliance form," he said, "he or she must prove his or her draft ineligibility through outside arbitration or other method, then come to us and tell us so. The law applies to all students, and we can only follow the law."
The SFAO considers itself obligated "to fully assist a [non-registrant] in locating other resources," Gallagher said. One of those other resources is the Committee to Aid Non-Registrants (CAN), founded in May of 1984 by Joseph Minato '84 and Richard Cowan G to aid those denied funds by the Financial Aid Office.
CAN currently involves six active student members, and is funded through tax-deductible private donations, primarily from alumni and faculty. The funds used by the committee are held in trust by the New England Yearly Meeting, a Massachusetts Quaker organization.
The committee provided financial aid to two freshmen last year, according to Scott Saleska '86, head of CAN. Although few students resort to CAN and the amount of aid provided by the organization is small compared to that offered by the federal government, he maintained that CAN is a viable source of financial aid.
Saleska felt any US military action requiring a peacetime draft in the foreseeable future would constitute "an illegitimate use of authority" -- an action with no basis on defending the United States and its own ideals.
"Vietnam was just such a case," he said. "It was a situation that was none of our business, a purely offensive maneuver. By witholding more names from the Selective Service pool, we might be able to hinder such an offensive in the future."