After 40 Years, ROTC Back at Harvard

Ivy League universities reinstating military program
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2012 9:29 AM CDT
In this Oct. 20, 2011 photo, Andrew Hendricks, right, leads an ROTC drilling ceremony on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(Newser) – Yesterday morning, Army ROTC cadets reported for duty at Harvard University—for the first time in 40 years. The ROTC left Harvard, along with three other Ivy League schools, after campus protests during the Vietnam War; in the decades following, relations between the military and Harvard remained tense due to policies regarding gay soldiers. But when Drew Gilpin Faust, whose family has a tradition of serving in the military, became president of the university in 2007, she was determined to bring the ROTC back.

She promised to do just that as soon as Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed. Yale and Columbia are doing the same this fall, the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the ROTC program is offered at more than 1,000 US colleges and universities, the Ivies' reversal is symbolically important in showing support for the military. And, of course, it's important to the 25 Harvard students who are taking part in the program so far, because they will be able to take military science courses, train on campus, and apply for ROTC scholarships.

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