The MIT ROTC Working Group was established in October, 1991 in response to a 1990 MIT faculty resolution that asked the MIT administration to develop a five year program of action by MIT individually and in concert with other universities and organizations, to work to change the Department of Defense (DoD) policy regarding sexual orientation.

The group was chaired by former Provost Mark S. Wrighton and included Steve Immerman, Kim Vandiver, Ken Manning and Sarah Gallop, who also served as staff. The following summary outlines the principal activities of the group.

November, 1991

MIT participated in a national survey sponsored by Rutgers University focusing on ROTC programs and sexual orientation issues. The information was gathered to serve a collaborative effort to influence Congress and DoD.

January, 1992

MIT officials and representatives from NASULGC, U-Penn, U-Kansas, CA State, U-Mass, UNC, and Duke met with DoD Assistant Secretary Christopher Jehn to discuss the conflict between the DoD policy and the universities' nondiscrimination policies.

April, 1992

MIT established the Area Institutions Group in an effort to work collaboratively to develop local strategies to bring attention to the issue. Representatives from U-Mass, Harvard, Wellesley, Tufts, and Northeastern joined the MIT Working Group in a series of subsequent meetings.

May, 1992

President Vest endorsed the Military Freedom Act of 1992 sponsored by Representative Patricia Schroeder which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the armed forces. MIT officials attended the press conference in Washington D.C. announcing the legislation and offered to assist Schroeder in forwarding her efforts.

December, 1992

President Vest participated with 100 other individuals and organizations in an ACLU-sponsored full page appeal in the New York Times urging the reversal of the ban.

1992/1993 Congressional Visits

In meetings with Representative Patricia Schroeder, the late Representative Les Aspin, members of the Massachusetts Delegation, and others, President Vest articulated MIT's support of reversing the ban on gays and lesbians in the military.

January, 1993

President Clinton directed that applicants to the armed services will no longer be asked of their sexual orientation.

July, 1993

President Clinton signed an executive order outlining the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy.

December, 1993

DoD issued new regulations on homosexual conduct in the Armed Forces which serve to implement President Clinton's policy.


MIT maintains constant communication with other universities, NASULGC, ACE, ACLU and members of Congress on an ongoing basis in an effort to monitor the implementation of the new regulations and to identify opportunities to work together.

Compiled by Sarah Gallop

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