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ROTC Task Force seeks community input

The chair of the ROTC Task Force has announced an e-mail address and a home page on the World Wide Web.

The address is and the community is invited to use it to send comments to the task force. The home page can be found at .

The chair, Professor Stephen C. Graves of the Sloan School of Management, also said the committee is in the final stages of meeting with students who have expressed an interest in serving on the task force. An announcement of the addition of students to the group will be made soon, Professor Graves said.

The task force has been asked to make its report at the March faculty meeting.

At the October meeting of the MIT faculty, President Charles M. Vest announced that he had named Professor Graves to chair the task force. Other members announced then were 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.

In his charge to the task force, President Vest said its "important activity will proceed in parallel with our continuing efforts to achieve further change in DOD policy regarding the service of homosexuals in the military and their access to ROTC."

Dr. Vest said the role of the task force "is to enable the faculty to establish an informed position regarding the future of MIT's relationship with ROTC." The task force is charged with assembling "relevant information in order to evaluate progress since 1990, to summarize and disseminate this information to the MIT community, to engage the community in an informed discussion of the issues, to frame these issues for the faculty, and to recommend a course of action."

Dr. Vest's charge set out three tasks--gathering information, gathering community input and rendering a final report--"all of which should be completed by March 1996.

"In order to evaluate progress, the task force will gather information about MIT's ROTC programs and the implementation of the 1993 DOD policy [the "don't ask, don't tell" policy] governing sexual orientation and conduct in the armed forces, and about prospects for future policy changes by the Executive Branch, the Congress or the courts."

The charge said the information gathered should be in, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Data regarding ROTC enrollment, dismissals, financial aid, disciplinary actions, etc., at MIT.
  • ������������������Relevant actions on other campuses.
  • MIT's contractual agreements with the federal government regarding ROTC.
  • Summary of executive, legislative and judicial actions and prospects for future actions.

The charge directs the task force to compile this information and make it available to the community through campus publications and the World Wide Web.

In seeking community input and feedback, Dr. Vest said in his charge, the task force should use a variety of mechanisms, including an e-mail comment address, community meetings and forums.

"The Task force should hold individual meetings with various groups or their representatives, such as the commanding officers of MIT's ROTC units, the Faculty Policy Committee, ROTC students, GAMIT, the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid and various other student and faculty groups. All community input will be welcomed and reviewed by the task force as it organizes its findings," he said.

Appointing the task force was a step outlined in a resolution approved by the faculty in 1990 when the DOD 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.

Under the current "don't ask don't tell" policy, conduct rather than orientation can be grounds for investigation and possibly exclusion or dismissal.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 6, 1995.

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