The U.S. Navy announced last week that the University and Villanova University branches of Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps would be combined into one unit next semester, and the new unit will give out fewer scholarships to future classes. According to Navy officials, the combination is part of a nationwide move to cut costs. The Navy will also reassign four officer positions and one enlisted position under the consolidation plan. When the change takes effect next September, both NROTC branches will be commanded by Captain Howard Stoddard, who is currently commanding the Villanova NROTC. Stoddard said Saturday that he will split his time between the two universities. The two branches will also share an executive officer. Captain Lyle Lewis, head of the University's NROTC program, said that the change will not affect current students at the University. Wharton senior Doug Pfiefle, battalion commander of the University unit, said that several other schools that have "cross-town agreements" with the University will no longer offer NROTC scholarships. The cross-town agreement allows students who are at a university that does not have a NROTC unit to take naval sciences classes and participate in drill at the University's unit, Pfiefle said. Due to federal budget constraints, scholarships will not be given out at some of these schools after September. Out of the 124 NROTC programs nationwide, 68 will not be renewed. Currently, Temple University, LaSalle University, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, Drexel University, and Rutgers University at Camden all participate in the cross-town agreement with the University. After the restructuring, scholarships will only be given out at Temple and Drexel. Lewis said that the cuts were part of a department-wide effort to reduce the number of officers in the Navy. He said that the amount of scholarships at the University will remain the same, around 140. "We are following a congressional order to reduce the number of the military," Lewis said. "It won't affect Penn much." The Navy cutbacks are affecting schools throughout the country. In what the Navy terms geographic "consortia," combinations of several schools will be taking in metropolitan areas including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Memphis.Comments powered by Disqus
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