But investigations produced by the DOD itself contradict these assertions. In December 1988 and January 1989, the Pentagon issued two reports, together known as the Personnel Security Research and Education -- or PERSEREC -- reports, which examined the possibility of gays and lesbians serving in the military and having security clearance. The reports cite the successful integration of blacks into the military, despite the concerns of many at the time. "It would be wise to consider applying the experience of the past forty years to the integration of homosexuals," the reports say. The reports also state that between 76 and 80 percent of retired soldiers who said they had been homosexual while in the military received honorable discharges. "Homosexuals could be satisfactorily integrated," the study concludes. "Though the study has several limitations, the preponderance of the evidence presented indicates that homosexuals show . . . adjustment that is as good or better than the average heterosexual. Thus, these results appear to be in conflict with conceptions of homosexuals as unstable, maladjusted persons." But Pentagon officials last week dismissed the reports. Explaining that the PERSEREC reports were just "drafts," DOD spokesperson Hart said that the reports have never been accepted by the Defense Department. He said that the Pentagon asked for an analysis of the "possibility with security problems with homosexuals." "The report came back addressing an entirely different issue," he said. NROTC battalion commander Doug Pfeifle, a Wharton senior, said that he was unsure how having gays and lesbians in the military would affect it. "It's hard to say," he said last week. "If that's what the policy were I'd have no problem. I will follow whatever policy DOD sets." But Representative Studd's aide Dyer said that the report did address the issue of security and reliability of homosexuals. Studds and Representative Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) were primarily responsible for the release of these reports, which had reportedly been suppressed by the military after their completion. Dyer said that rather than addressing only the question of reliability in homosexuals, the reports also focused on their suitability for service in the armed forces. "The report says 'yes, they can keep secrets,' " she explained. "They threw it out because they did not want both answers, on reliability and suitability. The DOD line is that, 'They [the investigators] didn't answer only the question we asked.' " Dyer also said a policy change could come from courts declaring it unconstitutional, Congress outlawing such discrimination, or by executive order, which can be made only by President Bush. She said that some opponents of enlisting gays and lesbians have pointed to a statute in the Unified Code of Military Justice, passed by Congress, that prohibits sodomy. But she noted that the law also forbids any sexual contact other than heterosexual, missionary-position intercourse. "Heterosexual oral sex is as much against the law as homosexual sodomy," she said. · If the Pentagon refuses to change its policy, throwing the ROTC and NROTC programs off campus may cause an entirely different set of problems. Many University officials said the scholarship money available to students through ROTC is worth preserving. And, at a time when federal and state monies to financial aid are being cut back, military officials are counting on that feeling. "When a good number of [administrators] see the thousands of dollars, they are not going to jeopardize that relationship with the ROTC unit," Army spokesperson Shepherd said. And Past Faculty Senate Chairperson Davies agreed that kicking ROTC off campus would create further financial burdens. "The long term effects [would be] quite serious," he said. "[Kicking them off] may well turn out to be the proper thing. . . it does not come without costs, and it comes at the cost of the students" who are currently in the program. Assistant to the President Constan agreed. "For some, it definitely enables them to come to this University," he said. "The existence of ROTC is important because that's where officers who are citizen-soldiers are trained." But Education Professor George, who is heading the University committee examining the ROTC program, said he was concerned that scholarship funds were not equally available to all students. "You can't just say that this money is only available to non-gay and non-lesbian people," George explained. "As it stands right now, they are not eligible for scholarship but they can attend the classes," NROTC head Lewis said. "It's well known that our courses are open." Student Life's Schoenberg, however, said he sees a larger issue than scholarship funds. "It isn't only the money," he said. "The core problem is with the military generally." He said since the military is one of the largest employers in the country, its discrimination against gays and lesbians could lead to larger problems. "What kind of message does that send to the millions of smaller employers in the country?" Schoenberg asked. Alumnus Laska said he simply regrets not being able to finish officer training, and becoming a naval pilot. "I think I would have been a really strong leader and a good officer," he said. Now, Laska simply hopes the issue can be resolved fairly. "At the University, I'd like to see Penn stand by its nondiscrimination policy and to stop ignoring their own rules," he said. "They are endorsing and supporting a program which explicitly says, 'No gay men, lesbians or bisexuals allowed.' " He said that the problem, however, extends outside the confines of the West Philadelphia campus, and to fully remedy the situation, changes must be made at the national level. He said that he looks to the day when "the DOD will take their head out of the sand and realize that this is 1991."Comments powered by Disqus
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