Word came down this week that Harvard University will be inviting back ROTC to its campus for the first time in 40 years. What caused the sudden change? The armed forces can thank Congress for repealing its ban this week on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
This change will end a 40 year old stalemate between the military and one of the country’s best universities. Some quick history on this, the Vietnam War was the catalyst of the initial change and it continued over the last few decades due to student, faculty and Harvard administrators believing that it was unfair that the armed forces were discriminating against gays and lesbians. This has some profound implications on the military now that it will be able to recruit some of the brightest young minds in the country on campus.
University administrators will start up talks soon with high ranking military officials about the timetable for getting them back on campus. It seems as if the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy was the last hurdle they needed to overcome to get Reserve Officers’ Training Corps started up at Harvard again.
Here is what Drew Faust, the president of Harvard had to say; "I look forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard’s full and formal recognition of ROTC," and, "I am very pleased that more students will now have the opportunity to serve their country." So it looks like school officials are definitely on board with this. One thing is for sure, the brain trust in the military is about to get that much smarter over the next decade or so.