A proposal to kick military training programs off the Cal State Northridge campus appeared to have widespread support among faculty members Thursday, but when the issue was to be voted on the Faculty Senate did not have a quorum.
If the Reserve Officer Training Corps is ousted from CSUN at the senate's March meeting, it would be the first time the program has been barred from an American college campus since the Vietnam War.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, students urged an end to ROTC programs as part of a groundswell of anti-military sentiment. But this time the issue is discrimination, specifically the U.S. Department of Defense's continued refusal to allow homosexuals to join the military.
Speaking about that discrimination, faculty Secretary/Treasurer John Clendenning said: "We cannot have it. . . . If it exists anywhere in our university, we must ferret it out and stop it."
Forty-two students participate in Air Force, Navy or Army ROTC programs at CSUN, according to spokesmen for the three branches. Eleven students have ROTC scholarships that cover tuition and books.
Although homosexuals may take ROTC classes, they may not serve in the armed forces after graduation, which Air Force Capt. Robert Feliz said is required for those who receive ROTC scholarships.
Of the three service branches, only the Air Force sent a representative--Feliz--to speak against the proposed policy Thursday.
"By throwing ROTC off the campus, the policy is not going to change," said Feliz, an ROTC instructor. "What will change is the community's access to the program."
The Air Force is the only branch that actually teaches ROTC classes--such as American Defense Policy and Development of Air Power--on the CSUN campus. The Army and Navy ROTC participants must travel to the UCLA campus in Westwood for similar courses.
CSUN's Lesbian and Gay Alliance objected to the expansion of ROTC last year, prompting a review of the entire program by a subcommittee of the faculty's Educational Policies Committee. Before studying the expansion request, the subcommittee determined that the program violates campus anti-discrimination guidelines.
"All the other issues concerning ROTC were considered moot at that point," said Prof. Lawrence Littwin, subcommittee chairman.
The policy considered by the senate Thursday would allow current students to complete their studies. But the military program would not be mentioned in the next printing of the college catalogue, and no new students would be allowed to enroll.
Navy and Army ROTC representatives at UCLA, contacted by telephone, declined to comment on Thursday's faculty discussion, which ended when a roll call counted 54 members, one short of a quorum.
"Our students are important to us, of course," said Maj. Jay Farrar of the Navy ROTC. "But until it's an issue that has to be addressed, we're not involved."
The ROTC runs 37 programs on 15 California State University campuses, said Anne Ambrose, a spokeswoman for the university system. Ambrose said she knew of no similar anti-ROTC movements at the other campuses.
In the midst of a general move toward offering military training at high schools and colleges, several campuses nationwide have become increasingly concerned about the military's policy on homosexuals. A special faculty congress at the University of Wisconsin voted in December to bar ROTC, but that vote was overturned earlier this month by university regents.