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Faculty OKs ROTC Proposal Revisions

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

The faculty voted to approve an amended version of the ROTC task force's final proposal at Wednesday's meeting.

The faculty also discussed a measure that would alter MIT's present policy on incomplete grading and nominated Professor of Management Lotte Bailyn as the next faculty chair.

Professor of Management Stephen C. Graves, chair of the task force, presented several revisions to the task force plan, which was announced before the faculty at last month's meeting. The proposal now calls for a modified ROTC program, a change from what the task force originally billed as a model program.

The idea is to better align ROTC with the values of MIT. The group decided to change the name from "model" to "modified" because the program still discriminates against gay students, Graves said.

The task force also amended its suggestions for the inquiry process, should an ROTCstudent come under investigation for homosexual conduct. Originally, the task force recommended that a member of the dean's office serve on any such inquiry, but the revised recommendation suggests that a dean's office representative instead counsel the student to assist with any disruptions the student may experience because of the inquiry.

The new plan outlines what the task force expects from the Department of Defense, both in terms of compliance with the new recommendations and in overall progress towards ending its current policy, which discriminates against gays. The task force will report back to the faculty annually, and expects acceptable progress by 1998.

The revisions also aim to explain that MIT's continuing "constructive engagement" with ROTC - keeping the program on campus - is important so that MIT can maintain leverage in the debate over the DoD's policy on gays, Graves said.

Faculty express qualified support

Professor of Philosophy Ralph N. Wedgwood said that the amended proposal is "a considerable improvement " but urged faculty members to abstain from voting for or against it to give "a muted rather than a ringing endorsement."

"I don't think it's a bad proposal," Wedgewood said. But the fundamental flaw of the plan is that it "overestimates the degree to which we can help," he said.

"In general, I'm in favor of the proposal," said Professor of Economics Michael J. Piore. "I don't think MIT can distance itself with the military by kicking ROTC off campus."

"What makes me feel uneasy [is] this sort of self-congratulatory sense" the faculty has had in its discussion of the revised plan, said Professor of Literature David Thorburn. The discussion has ignored "the really horrific fact [of] institutionalized homophobia," he said. "I would be much more comfortable if we were more explicit on this matter."

Piore emphasized the importance of addressing the policy of "don't ask, don't tell," which he said is pervasive at MIT in general. "We are, for better or for worse, stuck with these issues on campus," Piore said. Gay studies at MIT should be paid more attention, he said.

"We've got to take a strong stance" in two years if progress has been insufficient, said Associate Professor of Literature Henry Jenkins.

Professor of Ocean Engineering J. Kim Vandiver PhD '75, a member of the task force, disagreed. "We can't predict where we will be two years from now," he said. The faculty should decide what action is appropriate two years down the road, not now, he said.

Faculty discuss incomplete policy

At the meeting the faculty also discussed changes that would make MIT's policy on incomplete grades more strict. Under the new policy, students would be required to make up incompletes by the Add Date of the term following that for which the incomplete was given. The new policy would also require students to resolve all incompletes by graduation. Furthermore, students and professors would have to agree to a written plan outlining how an incomplete would be made up.

The policy, which was developed by the Committee on Academic Performance, is meant to tighten up currently lenient rules and reduce the large number of incomplete-related petitions that the CAP faces every term, said Faculty Chair Lawrence S. Bacow. Faculty will vote on the plan at next month's meeting.

Also at the meeting, Professor of Biology Graham C. Walker, chair of the Nominations Committee, announced the nominations for officers of the faculty and standing committees. Bailyn was announced as the next nominee for faculty chair.

Professor of History Anne E. C. McCants was also named this year's Edgerton Award winner. McCants, who is also an associate housemaster of Green Hall and has received numerous awards in the past, is an economic historian who has researched and written about charity in early modern Amsterdam.

The faculty also discussed a clarification to the language in its new calendar. The new wording will make clear that the last day that classes with finals can have exams and assignments is the Friday before the start of reading period.