President-elect Clinton will likely end the long-running campus debate over ROTC by lifting the military's ban on homosexuals when he takes office in January. Clinton promised during the campaign to end the ban if elected. During a speech Tuesday, he publicly reaffirmed that pledge for the first time since last week's election. Once the policy change is carried out, University President Sheldon Hackney will no longer have to decide whether to oust the Reserve Officer Training Corps for violating the University's non-discrimination policy. "If the discrimination problem is really taken care of -- and that is a legitimate if -- then it would certainly seem to make [the ROTC issue] moot," Faculty Senate Chairperson David Hildebrand said yesterday. University Council, the president's advisory board, passed a resolution last year calling on Hackney to kick the Army and Navy ROTC units off campus by next June if the military's ban on homosexuals had not been lifted by then. Hackney has put off making a decision since then, saying that he would continue lobbying the government to change the policy and would await the outcome of this year's election. The decision would have been a tough one. Hackney faced the dilemma of possibly violating the University's non-discrimination policy or eliminating a program that provides scholarships to many students and contributes to the diversity of the student body, as ROTC does. Hackney could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Assistant to the President Nicholas Constan said he thinks Hackney is "very much relieved" that he no longer has to make that choice. But Hildebrand said Council should wait until Clinton actually issues an executive order reversing the ban before deciding whether to withdraw its resolution calling for the ROTC removal. Jason Walthall, co-chairperson of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance, praised Clinton yesterday for reaffirming his promise. "It's something long overdue for our society," he said. "I have high hopes that [Clinton] will follow through with the promise." Walthall added that he considers ROTC "in itself a great program," and that he hopes the ROTC debate will end once the military's ban is reversed. Captain Sandy Stoddard, commanding officer of the Naval ROTC unit at the University, would not comment on how the end of the ban would affect the University's ROTC units. Citing military regulations that do not allow him to publicly make any personal statements, he said only that if Clinton lifts the ban, NROTC would "follow that new direction." Several University students who are ROTC members also declined to discuss the effects of an executive order ending the ban.Comments powered by Disqus
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