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Major universities are warning the Pentagon that a military policy barring homosexuals from service is generating pressure to oust ROTC from campuses.

``The contradiction between the university's principle of non-discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and the presence of an ROTC that does discriminate cannot exist on the campuses indefinitely,' John M. Deutch, provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a letter to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.``Many universities will withdraw from the ROTC program,' Deutch wrote.

The Department of Defense has declined to comment on the issue.

Maj. Doug Hart said that because the policy is being challenged in court, the department has limited responses to a written statement outlining the reasons for barring homosexuals.

The military contends that homosexuality is incompatible with military service because of the close quarters in which people of the same sex must live and because of the security risk posed by the possibility of a homosexual officer being blackmailed.

Top administrators, faculty groups and students from MIT, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and others have actively campaigned against the ROTC policy.

No ROTC program has been removed from a campus as a result of the opposition.

In the past year, the Reserve Officer Training Corps has denied several gay cadets their officer's commission and sought repayment of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

Until recently, gay men and lesbians have been on their own in fighting the policy.

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