How nice of them. Harvard University is expected to sign an agreement tomorrow where they will resume funding a naval ROTC program and allow a military director officially on campus. This is, of course, insufficient – the last time I checked, the US military has more than one branch, and the Solomon Amendment did not permit a gradual approach towards obeying federal law [see UPDATE] – but I suppose that we have to make some allowances towards narrow provincial prejudices like those found at Harvard.
Although if it was up to me, we wouldn’t be making any allowances towards this kind of prejudice at all. Which is probably why it is not up to me.
[UPDATE]: I am politely, gently, and quite relentlessly schooled on some of the technical aspects of this development in comments by a friend of mine who I know knows about this sort of thing. I still reserve the right to sneer at Harvard University’s provincialism in general.
2 thoughts on “#rsrh Harvard decides to
partiallyobey the Solomon Amendment.”
If you look closely at the story, they’re talking with all the branches about getting programs set up for other branches; the Navy is just the first one to say they want to be there and get it finalized. It’s also not uncommon at all for a university to have only one branch represented, or just two — I went to a university with only Air Force & Army ROTC, for example. Each service evaluates where they’d like to spend their resources setting up programs, and the Army might feel that they’d be better served with a program at MIT that will accept Harvard commuters instead of setting up a program for (hypothetically) less than a dozen cadets; I don’t know how many cadets they’re likely to get out of Harvard, and I suspect none of us has looked at it as closely as the Army has.
Each service evaluates where they feel they get the best bang for their buck, and they don’t want to waste resources on a program that provides limited results. Based on my own experience, each program required an O-6, two O-4s, two O-3s, two or three mid-grade NCOs, and a couple of civilians. We wound up dealing with personnel issues when the Air Force decided in the late 1980’s that they didn’t need quite so many butterbar second lieutenants, and they’d rather spend their personnel dollars on retaining more senior officers. Given that the Cold War was winding down, I can even understand that call, too — in a time of declining force needs, the service thought they didn’t need to invest as much in young officers as they had when tensions were higher. There’s nobody quite so dangerous to his own troops as a second lieutenant with a map, after all, and why wouldn’t you want to keep the people who have already shown themselves to be solid officers? An O-1 is not generally regarded as an asset.
Feel free to sneer at their provincialism — my wife’s family has some Harvard connections (her grandfather won a Nobel Prize while on faculty there), and I’ve seen a lot of cases where Harvard folks are just about as bad as New Yorkers at assuming they do things The Right Way, by definition. It’s not universal, but there’s definitely a strong strain of it present.
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