To the Editors of The Crimson:
President Bok is retreating from a moral investment policy. The Harvard corporation has been developing an investment policy opposed to apartheid since 1972, when the Corporation declared that it would not invest in companies doing more than half their business in South Africa In 1979. President Bok himself wrote that South Africa constituted a "case of special concern" for American investors. In his most recent statement, however, President Bok rejects the most effective remaining course of moral investment action divestiture.
All other investment action have failed or are ineffective. Support of shareholder resolutions for fair labor practices was the policy adopted in 1978. This relatively painless policy produced few results the University Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility eventually rejected this course, noting that resolutions opposed by management very rarely pass. Harvard's action, therefore, has not changed corporate policy, or had any effect an apartheid. Other non-investment programs proposed by President Bok, such as increasing educational opportunities for Black South Africans, while commendable, are almost as ineffective. President Bok admits these failures. Under existing policy, he writes, "there is little that a University can do to overcome the evils and injustices in a land far removed from our own."
The only remaining course in divestiture. President Bok recognizes this option, but rejects it without careful consideration nevertheless concluding that divestiture is "almost certainly destined to prove ineffective." Other, however, disagree. The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as well as the cities of Philadelphia, Grand Rapids, Cambridge, and others, have all divested. The University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, Hampshire College, Antioch College, and many other educational institutions have also taken action against South Africa through divestiture
By joining the growing nationwide divestiture movement. Harvard can lend its prestige and leadership to the various efforts to affect corporate behavior, and to end South African apartheid. Not only will divestiture contribute toward corporate withdrawal, it will also influence public opinion and governmental action against apartheid here and in South Africa.
Though President Bok concludes that "there is little [we] can do," we believe that the separation of miles should not allow the University to distance itself from the apartheid regime its investments help support While Harvard's divestiture alone will not topple apartheid, it is as Professor Stanley Hoffmann said "The choice is not really between effective and ineffective. The choice is between different degrees of effectiveness, one of which may be more moral than the other." Divestiture is the only remaining untried means to this moral end. Therefore, we urge all who seek Harvard to maintain a morally sound investment policy to contribute to the Endowment for Divestiture, to demonstrate both their concern for Harvard and the world beyond its walls. Todd Collins '83 Jess Velona'83 Spokespersons, EFD Senior Donations Committee