Interim Report of the ROTC Task Force: Preface

February 1, 1996

Task Force: Ms. Sarah E. Gallop; Professor Stephen C. Graves, Task Force Chair; Professor Kenneth R. Manning; Mr. Alan E. Pierson; Professor Lisa A. Steiner; Mr. Frank P. Tipton; Professor J. Kim Vandiver; Professor William B. Watson


This past fall President Vest convened a Task Force responsible for carrying out the final component of the 1990 MIT Faculty Resolution with regard to ROTC and the military policy governing homosexual conduct in the armed forces. Appendix I gives President Vest's charge to the Task Force. The Task Force has divided its work into three phases: collecting information, gathering community input, and presenting a final report. The Task Force has completed the first phase, will gather community input throughout February, and will then prepare a final report to present at the March 20th faculty meeting.

This document is an interim report. Its purpose is to educate the community about the relevant issues, and to provide a basis for an informed discussion on what MIT should do.

The first four sections of the report provide relevant background information. The first section discusses the origins and intent of the nondiscrimination policy at MIT. In the second section, we present our understanding of the current DOD policy, known as "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue," and its implementation. In the third section, we describe what is happening nationwide. We provide an update on the status of court cases that challenge the current policy, discuss pending "anti ROTC" legislation, and summarize recent actions on ROTC taken by other universities. In the fourth section the interim report provides relevant information on ROTC at MIT, on possible benefits of ROTC to MIT students, and on the potential impact of removing ROTC from campus.

A critical component of the report is to sketch and discuss a spectrum of possible actions that MIT might consider. In the last section, we identify five possible actions, and outline arguments and counter arguments for each. We do so without making any judgments about the merits or strengths of the arguments. Our intent is to present the options and their cases in a way that stimulates discussion within the MIT community and allows us to gather feedback and input.

The Task Force intends to hold several open and targeted forums during February to engage the MIT community in a discussion of the issues, and collect their views on what MIT should do. This input will be essential as the Task Force works towards a final report and a recommendation to bring to the faculty in March.

The Undergraduate Association will sponsor an open forum, on February 8 from 7 - 9 PM, in 10-250. If sufficient interest exists, there will be a second forum later in the month. The Task Force has extended an invitation to meet with the undergraduate dorms and independent living groups, and is interested in meeting with other student groups. (contact Alan Pierson,

In February, the Task Force will also meet with the Executive Committee of the Corporation, with the Academic Council, and with the Faculty Policy Committee, and is making arrangements to reach other faculty and administration groups. If there is interest, the Task Force would be glad to organize additional forums for faculty to discuss the issues and provide input before the final report is prepared. (contact Stephen Graves,

The Task Force would like to hear the comments and views of the MIT community and has set up an email address ( for this purpose. The Task Force also has a homepage for disseminating information, including this report (

Preface | Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4 | Section 5 | Appendices

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