While Harvard University welcomed back its Naval ROTC program after more than four decades following yesterday’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” students objected the reinstatement by protesting outside the school’s steps.
Holding signs like “Don’t stain Crimson with blood,” an informal group of students said because transgendered individuals are barred from serving in the military, the historic move bumped heads with the university’s own non-discriminatory policies.
“It’s a partial victory,” said William Whitham, 19. “Harvard has a clear policy, and it is inconsistent with military policy.”
The group also criticized the school’s involvement in “cultivating militarism” and handed out fliers saying Harvard should study war, not enlist for it.
A second group of advocates were set to sit on the steps of the State House last night to protest as well.
Sasha Kaufmann, state leader for GetEQUAL Massachusetts, an advocacy group fighting for LGBT civil rights, said the repeal “was a springboard” and would be celebrated, but more work needs to be done to gain equal rights for everyone.
Members of Kaufmann’s activist rally gathered underneath the golden dome drawing attention to rules that keep transgendered Americans from serving their country.
“We are trying to bring a local message to the federal level,” said Kaufmann.
The Bay State chapter’s outcry was part of a nationwide protest.
It also targeted the inequalities same sex couples will still face while being able to openly serve in the military.
Kaufmann and her group issued a statement saying the victory, while significant, is still insufficient.
“Full federal and complete social equality for all members of the LGBT community is demanded immediately,” the group said in a statement.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.