Admins to discuss ROTC with military reps

Yale administrators are moving quickly to bring the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) back to campus since Congress voted last week to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy that banned gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.

Since the Senate voted against the policy — which has been the University’s main objection to ending a 41-year ban instituted by faculty during the Vietnam War — Yale President Richard Levin has asked General Counsel Dorothy Robinson, University Secretary Linda Lorimer and Yale College Dean Mary Miller to meet with military officials in early 2011. The administrators will gauge military interest in establishing an ROTC unit at Yale, Levin said in a statement Monday.

“We are very hopeful that these discussions will enable us to begin a new chapter in the long history of Yale’s support of the U.S. Armed Services,” Levin said.

Yale College Council President Jeff Gordon ’12, who supports ROTC’S return given the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said he is pleased by Levin’s actions. Gordon added that YCC will not be involved in talks with the government but will work with administrators to implement the program on campus.

In November, YCC conducted a survey of undergraduates’ opinions toward ROTC and military service. The president’s office asked YCC to provide information from the survey, Gordon said, adding that he thinks it probably contributed to Levin’s support for ROTC’s return to Yale.

James Campbell ’13, who heads the YCC ROTC Committee, said in an e-mail that he hopes Levin’s statement signals the end of debate over ROTC at Yale — but he acknowledges that ROTC may face some hurdles in the months ahead.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge will be demonstrating that there is indeed enough student interest to make a Yale ROTC unit a worthwhile endeavor for the Department of Defense,” Campbell said.

YCC will release survey data detailing student opinion and interest in ROTC on Jan. 11, he added.

Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust also expressed support for ROTC’s return to her campus in a public statement on Monday. She said she will be meeting with military officials and others “to achieve Harvard’s full and formal recognition of ROTC.”

Drew Henderson and Sam Greenberg contributed reporting.

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