The Wrong Tactics

REFUSING TO CONTRIBUTE to the senior class gift because of Harvard's investment policies is like using a machine gun to squash flies--it may or may not get the job done, but it hits much more than the target.

Like the Crimson majority, we want Harvard to divest of holdings in companies that do business in South Africa. Unlike the majority, we want to make our point through rallies and demonstrations and debates rather than by withholding money. Such tight-fistedness would hurt primarily current and future students, who depend on alumni largess to subsidize the cost of a Harvard education. Refusing to contribute is just single-issue politics in an indirect and probably ineffective from.

Furthermore, Harvard has made progress in the last year--not enough, but still something that we should encourage. The University sold $51 million in Citicorp notes and securities--reportedly at a loss--because of Citicorp's loan to the South African government. This spring, Harvard joined only a few IBM stockholders in voting not to sell, lease or service computers to the South African government except for humanitarian purposes.

There may now be some rich alumni so upset at gradual divestment or at liberal students that they will refuse to contribute. That too would be an irresponsible action to punish the entire University community because of particular policies the Corporation espouses. In the long run, single-issue billfold politics--of any perspective--only hurt the students and diminish the University.