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MIT should eject ROTC from campus

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is intolerable at MIT. No program that violates this principle should be allowed to remain on campus. The Reserve Officers' Training Corps adheres to the military's policy of banning homosexuals and should therefore be removed.

ROTC disenrolled Robert L. Bettiker '90 because of his homosexuality and is now seeking to have him repay his scholarship funds to the government. This action is reprehensible. Bettiker wants to serve in the Navy, and there is no reason why he should not be able to do so. The Department of Defense has provided no legitimate explanation of why he or other homosexuals are unfit for military service, and for this reason it is grossly unfair of ROTC to expect repayment.

The Bettiker case raises the question of why MIT retains its affiliation with a program that treats one of its students so poorly and does not allow a substantial part of the student body to participate. While ROTC does provide important benefits to many MIT students, it denies them entirely to homosexual students. The Institute would certainly cut its ties with an organization that treated blacks or women in such a way; homosexuals deserve equal consideration.

Rather than forcing ROTC out immediately, MIT should tell the military that it will eject the training corps from campus if homosexual students are not allowed full participation within a fixed time frame of four or five years. Such an arrangement would lessen the impact on students currently enrolled in ROTC and those who will be entering next year. It would also allow MIT time to seek support from other colleges and universities. Perhaps if a large number of institutions joined with MIT in a principled stand against discrimination, then the armed services would be forced to reexamine their ban on homosexuals.

If at the end of the time frame, the military had still not changed its stand on homosexuals, MIT should cut its affiliation with ROTC. Such a move would undoubtedly be hard on some students, but this is one instance where MIT has no choice but to do what is right. The symbolic implications of such an action would be deep, and would reaffirm MIT's democratic values. Unless ROTC abandons its policy against homosexuals, it has no place on this campus.