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Over 500 students at the Business School have signed a petition opposing "further United States military involvement in the war in Vietnam."
The statement was prepared and circulated among the 1500 students in the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) program by the B-school's Vietnam Peace Committee.
The sixty-man committee, chaired by Peter C. Aldrich, a second-year MBA student, will send the statement to President Nixon and leading national businessmen. "The Business School represents people whose opinions will have the greatest impact on the leaders of the country." Newell C. Cook, first-year MBA student and member of the committee, said yesterday.
The group is also trying to persuade local and national businessmen to support the October 15 Moratorium. Peter Rousmaniere, first-year MBA student and civic action subcommittee chairman, said that he will mail the petition with an explanatory cover letter to 1000 Massachusetts businessmen, most of them Business School alumni, tomorrow.
Rousmaniere said he hopes that local businessmen will support the moratorium by closing their stores for the day; his subcommittee will canvass the Cambridge area this week. "We're going to lead the business community, show that it can speak with an open mind and a clear conscience." Rousmaniere said.
The Vietnam Peace Committee was organized last week when four independent anti-war groups at the B-School met to pool their efforts. They drew up the petition on Sept. 28 and began circulating it in B-School classrooms last Thursday.
At a meeting of about 100 B-School students yesterday, the leaders of the committee said they are trying to raise enough money to publish the petition as an ad in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. They are also organizing a program of outside speakers to replace classes on October 15.
Rousmaniere said that many students were hesitant to sign the petition because they feared reprisal from their draft boards. Others, he added, were worried that corporations might not hire them if their names were made public. "I'd call 33 per cent fantastic success in view of the environment," Rousmaniere said.
Rousmaniere added that most of the signatures came from the first-year MBA class, "Our class is more liberal than the second-year class," he said. "Ten per cent of the students are black and there are a lot of people who are not particularly interested in going into business- they just want to learn the techniques."
Answering a comment questioning the committee's right to represent the Business School. Aldrich said, "We're not pretending to represent the Harvard Business School. We're individuals at the school and quite frankly, we don't want to represent the Harvard Business School."
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