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Brown ridicules President Faust over Harvard’s ROTC policy

September 24, 2010

Yesterday, Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts opened a political firestorm by strongly criticizing Harvard University’s policy banning ROTC from the campus.  This criticism was the result of a letter written by Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, to Brown and Democratic Senator John Kerry requesting support for The Dream Act.

The Dream Act, which could create a pathway to citizenship for those students who hope to pursue higher education or to join the armed forces, while well intentioned, has raised contention among Republicans who dub it simply a guise for amnesty.

Brown draws the line here, saying Harvard has its priorities “all upside down”.  He contends that it is absurd that Harvard could support the admission of illegal immigrants through its doors, while banning the nation’s most prominent college military organization from campus.

However, Harvard’s policy stems from an adjacent policy that bans any campus organization that excludes certain groups of people from its membership.  Harvard argues that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell excludes gays from ROTC, and thus Harvard cannot condone its presence on campus.

Although this seems a legitimate reason to deny ROTC’s presence in its halls, many believe the policy originates more from decades old anti-military sentiment than any policy.  They fear that even with the repealing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Harvard will still block ROTC from formally establishing a chapter at the college.   Faust recently stated that the University will not, but are their fears still founded? Perhaps.  One needs look no further than the banning of military recruiters that was in place under the Kagan years at the Law School.

Is Brown right, or Faust?  That is for you to decide.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cody Dean permalink
    September 24, 2010 5:19 pm


    While you know that my personal political ideologies lie largely on the other end of the political spectrum, I hope that you can see this comment under with the expectation of unanimity and pluralism rather than just as something coming from a shark-minded dissenting leftist.

    Harvard, at least as I have come to understand it in my time here, is one of the rare places in the world that people of all backgrounds, orientations, and perspectives can realistically thrive. I think that Senator Brown’s words only demonstrate his obvious ignorance of the culture at Harvard. The use of the word “banning” is in fact employed to provoke a sense of exclusion and to pull on the heartstrings of even his universalists opponents sitting on the other side of the aisle. However, by “banning” groups,organizations, and affiliated bodies that support policy that excludes groups (or in this case effectively forces them to take shelter beneath the blanket of self-repression), Harvard is ensuring the continuation of a culture that has produced the leading minds of both the nation and world over the last five centuries. President Faust has reiterated this position in endless instances and I feel that there is substantial evidence in the form of innumerable documented statements that the university is indeed open to the idea of an ROTC program should the military implement far reaching egalitarian policy that is consistent with the mission of the university.

    …just a different opinion and, as I said, I have great respect for your viewpoint and I am happy to see that you are not letting your political standpoints fade amidst a majority of dissenting future politicians!


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