Vest appoints new group to study ROTC gay policy
By Janice M. Yoo
President Charles M. Vest has appointed a committee to investigate the policy that prohibits homosexuals from participating in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
The committee was formed in response to a faculty motion passed last fall which said that "inadequate progress toward eliminating the [Defense Department's] policy on sexual orientation will result in . . . making ROTC unavailable to students beginning with the class entering in 1998." The administration has not made any final decision on the fate of ROTC, however.
Members of the committee, which is chaired by Provost Mark S. Wrighton, include Sarah Eusden, assistant for govern-
ment and community relations, Kenneth R. Manning, professor of the history of science, J. Kim Vandiver, chair of the faculty, J. J. Pitts, director of the Office of Minority Education and Stephen D. Immerman, director of
special services for the office of the senior vice president.
Eusden said one of the committee's tentative plans is to track the history of homosexuals in the US military. The committee also plans to look at the possibility of cooperation with other college faculties, administrations and corporations, she added.
The committee will meet for the first time on Monday, Nov. 4.
Policy has come under attack
Vest said, "I am hopeful that as universities across the country work harder to effect this change, as public opinion continues to move toward favoring such changes and as studies continue to confirm that there is no basis for this discrimination, there will be a change in DOD policy."
Johanna L. Hardy '93, a member of GAMIT, is very supportive of the committee. She expressed concern, though, that the administration would be reluctant to take any action against ROTC because of the financial benefits the Institute and students receive from the program. She called MIT a "haven for this discrimination" because both Harvard University and Tufts University allow their students to take part in the ROTC program at MIT, despite having removed the problem from their campuses.
"I literally almost cry when I walk past the Air Force barracks on the way to class, because it had always been my dream to be a pilot in the Air Force," Hardy said.