‘Member when Elena Kagan’s comments, back when she was dean of Harvard law, about military recruiters on campus, threatened to derail her Supreme Court nomination? Though Kagan played it cool, her critics attempted to paint Kagan as anti-troop and anti-America. Except it wasn’t Kagan who came up with the policy to keep ROTC recruiters at bay because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; the university technically banned them under its 1979 anti-discrimination policy, and initiated ROTC’s ban in 1969 to protest the Vietnam War. (Kagan eventually relented because the government threatened to pull funding from all of Harvard if she didn’t comply, and ensured students had access to military recruiters. She’s since been criticized for not more boldy defending the school’s policy.) So has anything changed at Harvard? Especially in light of this week’s Senate failure to push forward on a repeal? Nope, not on campus.
Harvard University, which expelled ROTC four decades ago, will welcome the military training program back to campus only when the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members is repealed, the university’s president said yesterday.
Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, speaking the day after the US Senate declined to take up a measure that would have repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy, said vestiges of antimilitarism on campus dating to the Vietnam War are largely gone and she would now welcome the opportunity to “regularize our relationship’’ with the armed forces. “We are very much looking forward to the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ’’ Faust said. “It will be a very important moment to us when that happens.’’
Sen. Scott Brown, for one, is not impressed: “It is incomprehensible to me that Harvard does not allow ROTC to use its facilities, but welcomes students who are in this country illegally. Harvard President Faust has been lobbying on Capitol Hill in support of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants attending college. Harvard has its priorities upside down. They should embrace young people who want to serve their country, rather than promoting a plan that provides amnesty to students who are in this country illegally.”
But maybe Faust will be so excited about DADT’s end she’ll grant honorary degrees to the 10 gays his university kicked out, “for homosexualism,” in the 1920s?