Cultural Revolutions

Changing Mottos

Harvard University, in 1959, refused more than $350,000 in money offered for student loans by the National Defense Education Act in the wake of the Soviets' Sputnik shock because of the requirement that students submit to an oath and an affidavit of loyalty and noncommunist affiliation. Harvard President Nathan B. Pusey stated that the demand singled out college students as a group not worthy of the nation's trust. It would have been possible to interpret the NDEA requirement differently, but Pusey was in harmony with the old academic and professional tradition which contended that higher education presupposes adherence to certain standards of personal integrity and academic accomplishment.

Since then, the old idea that education includes moral education has suffered some harsh blows. Recently, following an earlier decision by the Student Council, the Harvard Faculty Council recommended "that Harvard end its remaining connection with ROTC within two years unless the Defense Department drops its discriminatory policies against gay and lesbian applicants for cadets." The Harvard faculty "downgraded" ROTC from a for-credit to an extracurricular program in 1969, but allowed students to participate in M.I.T.'s ROTC program (91 students in 1989-90). In April 1989, the Harvard Student Council first approved, then rejected proposals to bring the ROTC back to Harvard on a credit basis, the...

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