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MIT Faculty Meeting Approves Proposal to Develop, with DOD, a More Inclusive ROTC Program

CAMBRIDGE, April 17--The faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today overwhelmingly approved a proposal to develop, "in partnership with the Department of Defense," an ROTC program "that is more inclusive and better aligned with the values and mission of MIT."

The voice vote at the faculty meeting, with about 80 faculty members present, recorded only one no vote and three abstentions. The DOD policy regarding homosexuals in the military is in conflict with MIT's non-discrimination policy.

MIT President Charles M. Vest, who presided at the meeting said, the faculty had "taken a creative and I hope ultimately productive action" toward the elimination of discrimination against homosexuals in military service.

Professor Lawrence Bacow, chair of the faculty, commented, "The faculty was extremely strong in its support that we should remain engaged in the ROTC debate, in order to move that national debate along. They endorsed two principles: an open campus free of discrimination and MIT's commitment to national service."

The modified ROTC program would be open to all qualified MIT students, without discrimination or differential treatment. The proposal anticipates that "tangible progress will be made in achieving the modified ROTC program" within two years.

The resolution also calls for MIT to provide students, who lose ROTC scholarships due to sexual orientation, an equivalent financial aid package provided they commit to some form of public service.

The proposal calls for a committee of students, faculty and staff to promote "changes in Congressional, Executive and Department of Defense policies in order to eliminate discrimination against homosexuals in the military."

The proposal was presented to the faculty at the March meeting by Professor Stephen C. Graves, chair of the ROTC Task Force. It was discussed at the March meeting, revised over the past month, and placed on the agenda for a vote at the April meeting.

"The Task Force affirms," Professor Graves said as he went over the proposal at the meeting today (April 17), "that the modified program is an important component in the process of change both locally and nationally.

"We believe that it is possible to design an ROTC program that will be beneficial to MIT students in addition to those preparing for military service, a program that could broaden and strengthen the extra-curricular aspects of the MIT experience. We are also convinced that without some direct engagement with the ROTC programs at home we cannot be an effective and committed agent for change in the national arena, which is ultimately where the issue of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military will have to be resolved."

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