The Naval ROTC program will return to
Harvard's Cambridge campus after the military does away with “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell,” the Boston Globe reported.
Harvard president Drew Faust and Navy
Secretary Ray Mabus signed an agreement Friday reestablishing the
The ivy league school expelled the
military program from its campus roughly 40 years ago. The initial
ban was a Vietnam War protest, but the policy remained in place over
the military's prohibition of gay and bisexual troops serving openly.
“Our renewed relationship affirms the
vital role that the members of our armed forces play in serving the
nation and securing our freedoms,” Faust said at Friday's signing
“At the same time, our renewed
relationship affirms the commitment embodied in Congress' historic
December vote to achieve greater inclusiveness within the ranks of
The Naval ROTC will return to Harvard
on the effective date of repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
The historic bill approved last year by
Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama says the
military's ban will end when its leaders and the president agree that
it is ready for the change.
The Pentagon has begun preparing for
the policy's end, but leaders have only said they hope to lift the
policy before the end of the year.
The agreement signed by Faust extends
only to the Naval ROTC. Discussions to bring other branches of the
military back to Harvard are also underway.
Outside the hall where the agreement
was being signed, about 15 Harvard students chanted “No ROTC
without trans-equality” in protest of the military's continued ban
on transgender people.
The White House praised the agreement.
“The decision by Harvard University
to formally welcome the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps to its
campus is an important step in moving past the old divisions that
often kept many Americans from seeing what we share with one another,
including love of country and a profound respect for our brave men
and women in uniform,’’ White House press secretary Jay Carney
said yesterday in a statement.
“With our nation at war, this sends a
powerful message that Americans stand united and that our colleges,
society, and armed forces are stronger when we honor the
contributions of all our citizens, especially our troops and military
families who sacrifice for our freedoms.’’