House overrides governor’s veto

NIU’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program will not be eliminated in the near future because of action taken Wednesday in the Illinois House.

House members voted 90-16 to override Gov. Jim Edgar’s veto of a senate bill, which would have barred Illinois public colleges and universities from dropping ROTC programs.

The Illinois Senate voted 38-15 Oct. 22 to override the veto, making the bill a law.

State Sens. Judy Barr Topinka, R-North Riverside, and Walter Dudycz, R-Chicago, originally introduced the legislation in April 1991 as a direct response to action taken by NIU’s University Council. The council had voted 29-16 in March 1990 to eliminate NIU’s ROTC program within two years if the Department of Defense retains its policies that bar military service by homosexuals.

NIU council members who supported the measure, which mandated action effective March 7, 1992, said the ROTC commissioning regulation that disqualifies a person on the basis of homosexuality is “inconsistent with the non-discriminatory values of this university” and violates NIU’s constitution.