To the Editors of The Crimson:
We are unable to sign the faculty letter on South Africa because it asks too little too late. This is no longer the time to "support or initiate shareholder resolutions" for corporate withdrawal with the stipulation that, if these fail, one will "seek additional support for a period of a year or two [our italics] among other stockholders," and only then, when this does not bring about corporate withdrawal, to "adopt a policy of strategic divestiture." The struggle has been going on too long, and other universities have begun to divest. This is not the time to start a slow walk up a gradual slope.
But while deploring the President and Fellows' sluggishness on this issue, it is important not to ignore their arrogant assurances that whatever minor steps they take are not in response to student or faculty efforts to educate them on these issues.
It is also important to understand that the University's lack of sensitivity on the issue of Apartheid in South Africa is in line with Harvard's social and intellectual commitment to the particular brand of exploitation and barbarism cuphemistically known as Western civilization. It is in line with Harvard's failure to recognize the need to broaden its curriculum to include the range of alternative viewpoints to the male, white European ethnocentrism that it now purveys as "liberal" education. Harvard does not recognize or even understand the meaning and validity of Women's Studies.Afro-American Studies. Native American Studies and all the other ways of understanding history and culture that are now finally widening the narrow bias of the cultural "core" that this university teaches its students. Harvard tries not to acknowledge the multiple oppressions of sex, race and class on the basis of which "liberty, equality and fraternity" were achieved and have been sustained.
It is not only economic self-interest that dictates Harvard's position on divestiture and South Africa, but it is the misreading of history and the (we trust) mistaken belief that the kinds of brutality and exploitation that succeeded in the past will continue to be effective in keeping the University and the corporate structure it serves in power. For Harvard, consistency does not demand divestiture and support of the non-white majority in South Africa. This would be a better and more humane place if it did. Ruth Hubbard Professor of Biology Richard C. Lewontin Professor of Biology
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