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ROTC Task Force issues interim report

MIT's ROTC Task Force expects to issue by the end of the week an interim report on the first phase of its work-information gathering.

The second phase-community input-will be the focus of a public forum to be held starting at 7pm Thursday, Feb. 8, in Rm 10-250. Additional forums will be announced as they are scheduled.

Copies of the interim report will be available in Lobbies 7, 10, W20 (Student Center) and E23 (Medical Department) as well as at all 20 Distributed Mail Centers. The report will also be on the World Wide Web or can be obtained by calling x3-1989.

The Task Force also has an e-mail comment line: .

President Charles M. Vest convened the ROTC Task Force in October, taking a step called for in a faculty resolution approved in 1990. The resolution followed a series of events that focused attention on the conflict between MIT's policy of nondiscrimination and the Department of Defense policy of barring military service based on sexual orientation.

The 1990 resolution called for the establishment of a task force in five years 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: 1) making ROTC unavailable to students beginning with the class entering in 1998; 2) giving notice of the impending termination in appropriate MIT publications no later than the fall of 1996, should it be decided that ROTC is to be unavailable at MIT."

The interim report will present the ROTC Task Force's understanding of the current Department of Defense Policy, the "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy enacted by the Clinton administration. The report will examine how the policy is being implemented and describe recent actions on ROTC taken by other schools.

Also included will be some pros and cons of several possible actions that MIT might consider, ranging from no action to severing ties with ROTC. None of the possible actions is endorsed by the group, said Professor Stephen Graves, chair of the ROTC Task Force. They are included in the interim report "to allow us to foster a discussion within the MIT community and gather feedback and input."

Professor Graves is codirector of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program and a faculty member at the Sloan School of Management. Other faculty members on the ROTC Task Force are Kenneth R. Manning of the Writing Program, Lisa A. Steiner of the Department of Biology, J. Kim Vandiver of the Department of Ocean Engineering and William B. Watson of the History Section. Student members are Alan E. Pierson, a senior in the Music Section and the Department of Physics, and Frank P. Tipton, a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. Sarah E. Gallop of the Office of Government and Community Relations is the staff member for the task force.

In his charge to the ROTC 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."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 31, 1996.

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