Making a Strong Point
If the Corporation planned to use Monday's open hearing to put its finger on the pulse of student opinion regarding the recently released report of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR), the verdict seemed clear by the end of the stormy, four-hour meeting.
While the scores of speakers at the meeting often cited different reasons for their opposition to the ACSR report, the overwhelming majority came out strongly against the report for failing to go far enough in breaking Harvard's economic ties with the apartheid system and the South African government.
Several speakers received standing ovations from the approximately 400 people who came to Emerson Hall for the meeting.
Daniel Rabinowitz '78, a member of the Southern African Solidarity Committee (SASC) and the first speaker, told the audience and the three Corporation members who were present that "The ACSR report does not end Harvard's complicity in apartheid, nor does it aid in bringing about the destruction of apartheid."
Representatives of several campus Third World groups linked minority struggles in the U.S. with the black nationalist movement in South Africa. They argued that Harvard should heed the demands of black nationalist leaders by supporting the withdrawal of all U.S. corporations from South Africa.
As the meeting progressed, Hugh Calkins '45, chairman of the Corporation's investment subcommittee, debated with various speakers over the possible results of U.S. corporate withdrawal. However, Mary Nolan, assistant professor of History, found an enthusiastic audience by bringing the focus of the discussion back to Harvard, telling the Corporation members, "If you don't divest, you're an accomplice to apartheid, and I think you should own up to that."