In an effort to make its slate more competitive with that of Harvard's official alumni organization, Harvard-Radcliffe Alumni Against Apartheid (HRAAA) officials said yesterday that they plan to nominate only three candidates for this year's Board of Overseers elections.
The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) nominated eight candidates last week, including a U.S. senator and a Boston College law professor. Last winter, the group reduced its number of candidates from 10 to eight in a move that several HRAAA officials said was intended to place the alternative candidates at a disadvantage.
Since alumni can only vote for five candidates, HRAAA officials said, the votes for HAA candidates will be divided between fewer candidates, providing more concentrated support for Alumni Association nominees. Under last year's new plan, the pro-divestment HRAAA failed to win any seats on the governing board.
HRAAA officials said they hope that by nominating fewer candi- dates this year--three instead of five--they can counteract the Alumni Association's strategy.
Donald M. Solomon, executive director of HRAAA, said that "quality and not quantity" was the most important factor in their choice of candidates, but he added that HRAAA had certainly considered the fact that "the mathematical odds do favor a smaller slate."
HRAAA's candidates, whose names will be submitted officially by petition next week, are: The Reverend F. Forrester Church '74, senior minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City; fourth-year law student Barack H. Obama, who is president of the Harvard Law Review; and Nadine Strossen '72, president of the American Civil Liberties Union.
John P. Reardon '60, executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Alumni Association's candidates are: Steven A. Ballmer '77, an executive at Microsoft Corp.; Jeff Bingaman '65, U.S. Senator from New Mexico; Renee M. Landers '77, a professor of law at Boston College Law School; Thomas S. Murphy, chair of Capital Cities/ABC; John T. Noonan Jr. '47, a federal judge; Kathleen Smalley, a counselor for a holding company; Paul M. Weissman '52, a director at Bear, Stearns, and Co.; and Tim Yee '50, chief executive officer of the Queen Emma Foundation.
HRAAA was formed in 1985 with the stated goal of electing pro-divestment overseers who would encourage Harvard to end South Africa-related investments. Four HRAAA-nominated overseers, including Bishop Desmond M. Tutu, currently sit on the 30-member board.
Although the time when divestment could have most helped anti-apartheid efforts has passed, HRAAA will continue to nominate candidates in an effort to forward broader goals of diversity and social responsibility, Solomon said.
"What's important now is to try to get the University to consider social responsibility in a more ongoing and long-range way so that the next time a moral crisis comes up, things might be resolved differently," Solomon said.
Ballots for the elections will be mailed to alumni by April 15, and must be returned by May 31