As Harvard alumni returned to the University Wednesday to visit classes, many Harvard students attended a very different kind of class--a "teachout" on South Africa. Over 400 students listened to speeches on Harvard's policy towards its South African investments, the plight of non-whites in South Africa and the state of Afro-American studies in the University. In a surprise move, over 300 marched to the Kennedy School to rename the Englehard Library in an emotional ceremony.
"It has become a popular pastime to say apartheid is immmoral and then do nothing else," Chris Nteta, a member of the African National Congress, told the crowd in front of Memorial Chapel. "You are comrades, comrades in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa."
Nteta, two South Africans--Dennis Brutus, an exiled South African poet, and Donald Woods, a Nieman Fellow and exiled South African journalist--and Mary Nolan, associate professor of History, criticized Harvard's policy toward its South Africa related investments, saying divestiture would help end apartheid.
Following the "teach-out" more than 300 people marched behind Woods, Brutus, Cannon Burgess Carr, secretary general of the All-American Union of Churches, through the Yard and Harvard Square to the steps of the Kennedy School.
At the school, Richard A. Guthrie '80, a member of the Committee to Strengthen Afro-American Studies (CSAAS), told the ralliers "we pledge out deeper commitment to the spirit of Afro-American Studies and to the struggles against racist oppression and its pomposity couched in supposedly responsible, morally bankrupt enclaves the world over."
Thursday, CSAAS initiated a petition drive demanding that the University appoint four additional tenured faculty to the Afro-American Studies Department and make the department a priority of its capital fund drive.
After speeches by Guthrie and Brutus the demonstrators marched into the Public Affairs forum past surprised administrators and police and chanted "Harvard Out Now" and "Biko" simultaneously. In the forum, with arms raised and joined, the demonstrators symbolically renamed the library "The Steven Biko Memorial Library."