ACSR Announces Meeting Date; Students Plan a Petition Drive
Harvard's Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) yesterday announced a date, time and location for its open hearing on the University's South African investments.
The meeting will be held on Monday, March 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Longfellow Hall 100.
Some students contacted yesterday attacked the scheduled time of the meeting as exclusionary, because it conflicts with dinner hours for most college students.
"My understanding of the conditions that we agreed upon for having un open hearing was that it would take place in the evening, after 7 p.m. or so, so that all members of the Harvard community, including students, would be able to attend," Claude Convisser '$4, the undergraduate representative to the ACSR, said yesterday.
ACSR Chairman Richard B. Stewart, professor of Law, last night said he would take steps to reschedule the meeting for a more convenient time.
The ACSR is a committee of students, faculty and alumni that evaluates issues of shareholder responsibility and attempts to represent the views of the Harvard community on such issues.
ACSR recommendations are forwarded to the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, which has final authority over all shareholder decisions.
Other members of the committee downplayed the significance of the early meeting time.
"I don't see a particular conflict with anybody on the Business School side," said Edward Hoff, the graduate student representative to the committee. Hoff added, however, that he was concerned that all members of the Harvard community have equal access to the hearing.
"All members of the community can attend. You can eat at five o'clock, right?" said Committee representative Kate Rooney, associate dean of administration at the Graduate School of Design.
In the announcement, the ACSR detailed protocol for speakers at the hearing, including the provisions that:
* Approximately 15 speakers will be scheduled for the hearing;
* Each presentation will be limited to five minutes;
* Participants will be requested to submit a written statement to supplement their oral comments and provide a future reference for committee members;
* Written statements without accompanying oral presentations will be accepted by the committee.
In a related development yesterday representatives of several campus groups said they will lunch a petition drive today to demonstrate support for immediate and total divestiture of University stock in all corporations that do any business in South Africa.
"We thought it was important for people to see a reaffirmation of our concern of this issue and also to point out that Harvard's investment is being used as a justification for maintaining the status quo," said Dr. Rita Breen, director of the University's Committee on African Studies, and an organizer of the petition drive.
Organizers of the petition effort, said that their document is different from previous petitions because it stresses a moral responsibility for Harvard as an investor.
"We want Harvard to set a positive moral example," said Nancy J. Schmidt, librarian at Tozzer Library, and a member of the Committee on African Studies.
A petition drive last year supporting similar demands claimed 1500 signitures. This year's organizers said they hope to do at least as well.