ROTC security ensured

By Paul Kirk

The Reserve Officer Training Corps will not be barred from NIU in the very near future after the state legislature demolished the bill’s gubernatorial veto.

Lt. Col. Terry Fielden, director of ROTC at NIU, said he was pleased at the success of the veto.

“The action taken by the General Assembly spoke loud and clear that the University Council’s action was not warranted,” Fielden said.

Actions were taken this year by the Illinois General Assembly to ensure security of the ROTC programs at public universities. House members voted 90-16 Wednesday to override a veto of the bill which was returned to the assembly by Gov. Jim Edgar.

“The Illinois legislature should not be interfering with issues on the campus level,” NIU President John La Tourette said in response to the override.

Fielden said it was his opinion the UC’s actions were an attempt to use a local organization (ROTC) to bring pressure on the federal level to change military policy.

J. Carroll Moody, executive secretary of the University Council, said he was not surprised by the action of the legislature, nor did he imagine Edgar to be upset.

“The decision should be left up to the campus,” Moody said.

Moody said he was disappointed legislative interference succeeded, but said he didn’t believe this issue was settled.

“I expect there will be some discussion at the next UC meeting. We still have a resolution. I expect there will be continued discussion on the military excluding gays and lesbians,” he said.

“We have a very clear mandate from the legislature,” La Tourette said.

However, La Tourette said he still thinks the UC will review the ROTC issue in two years, the date set by the UC.

Fielden said he wanted to make it clear the military science department is an academic department anyone can participate in, including homosexuals.

The policy which was placed in question strictly dealt with the ROTC program, Fielden said.