The Navy announced Friday it plans to close the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Utah and four other universities.
Navy Capt. Don F. Rahn, head of the U. program, said the ROTC closing scheduled for 1996 will not affect the 82 students currently enrolled, but no new students will be accepted.The other programs to be closed are at Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri and the University of New Mexico.
The ROTC reductions reflect plans for a smaller Navy and Marine Corps, according to Rahn, and a need to reduce the number of new officers commissioned each year.
The program head said the decision to close certain programs was based on number of graduates, cost per student graduate and number of graduates from varied ethnic backgrounds.
"All of the students now enrolled and those on leave for LDS missions will graduate with all necessary education and training," Rahn said. "I have talked to the students and their families, promising our doors will be open until the last student graduates."
Midshipman Tina Morgan, one of five women enrolled in Navy ROTC, said her experience with the program exceeds all expectations. While she is saddened by the fact there will be no Navy on campus, she said she will not personally be affected - she graduates this spring.
Midshipman Mark Melson said he believes many of the students with later graduation dates will transfer to other universities. "The whole idea is to develop leadership skills. I'm graduating in 1992, so there will still be underclassmen to lead. When those students are upperclassmen, they'll have to transfer if they are to develop the same skills."
Melson added the students now feel a responsibility to be good officers. "We are part of an era coming to an end. We want to leave a good last impression."
Navy ROTC has been on campus since 1945. It employs five officers as instructors. The ROTC building belongs to the University of Utah.
Marian Jensen, secretary for the U. Navy ROTC for 17 years, said there is an active alumni association with more than 700 members. "They are loyal to the university and often return to campus."
Along with eliminating five programs, the Navy will combine 16 other universities into eight "consortia."