Taking a step outlined in a resolution approved by the faculty in 1990, MIT President Charles M. Vest has appointed a five-member task force to evaluate the progress that has been made toward changing the Department of Defense policy on sexual orientation.
In 1990, the policy was that a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality was grounds for exclusion from the military, including ROTC programs. That policy was in direct opposition to MIT's policy of nondiscrimination.
Currently, under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, conduct rather than orientation can be grounds for exclusion.
Dr. Vest, at last week's meeting of the MIT faculty, announced that he has named Professor Stephen C. Graves of the Sloan School of Management to chair the task force. Other members are Professors Kenneth R. Manning of the writing program, J. Kim Vandiver of ocean engineering and William B. Watson of the history section. Sarah E. Gallop, assistant for government and community relations in the Office for Government and Community Relations, is staff for the committee.
Dr. Vest said the task force will have its first meeting soon.
The 1990 faculty resolution requested that the task force be established "to evaluate progress and to recommend a future course of action, with the expectation that inadequate progress toward eliminating the DOD policy on sexual orientation will result in:
"i) making ROTC unavailable to students beginning with the class entering in 1998, and ii) giving notice of the impending termination in all appropriate MIT publications beginning no later than the fall of 1996, should it be decided that ROTC is to be unavailable at MIT."
In other matters at the faculty meeting, a School of Engineering/Sloan School of Management proposal to offer a new joint degree program, the System Design and Management (SDM) Program, was moved, seconded and placed on next month's agenda for a vote.
The new program would lead to the degree of Master of Science in Engineering and Management. Its goal is to provide a second professional degree with the intent of educating future technical leaders in systems engineering/architecture and in the conception and design of complex products and systems.
"Much like an MBA does for a business leader, this program intends to prepare engineering leaders for careers as the technically grounded senior managers of their enterprises," said a description provided at the faculty meeting.
The proposal, which emerges from a six-year planning process, was outlined by Professor Edward F. Crawley of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Professor Thomas L. Magnanti of the Sloan School.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 25, 1995.