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ROTC program returns to Harvard

BOSTON - Harvard University is welcoming the Reserve Officer Training Corps program back to campus this week, 41 years after banishing it amid dissent over the Vietnam War.

The school's change in policy follows the decision by Congress in December to repeal the military ban on gays serving openly, an official familiar with the arrangement said yesterday.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus are scheduled to sign an agreement Friday that will recognize the Naval ROTC's formal presence on campus, according to the official. As part of the agreement, a director of Naval ROTC at Harvard will be appointed, and the university will resume funding the program. Harvard cadets will still train at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as they have for years.

Harvard and several other schools, including Stanford, Yale and Columbia, had kept the Vietnam-era ban in place following the war because of what they viewed as a discriminatory military policy forbidding gays to serve openly.

But after Congress cleared the way for the repeal of the so-called "don't ask, don't tell," policy in December, Harvard's president said she'd work toward ROTC's return. - AP

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