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The Mass Hall Trials


YESTERDAY, black students faced charges before the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (CRR) for their participation in the take-over of Massachusetts Hall. We condemn both the nature of the charges the University is bringing against them, and the manner in which they are being tried. The real issue is not the occupation of Massachusetts Hall; rather it is the Harvard Corporation's refusal to sell its 680,000 shares of Gulf Oil stock or to condemn in any other way Gulf's complicity in Portuguese colonialism.

Since 1966, when oil was first discovered in the province of Cabinda, Gulf has been a major contributor to the Portuguese colonial regime in Angola and southern Africa. There is no doubt that Gulf's payments to Portugal, which could total as much as $33 million in 1972, aid Portugal in conducting its war against African liberation forces.

Members of the Pan African Liberation Committee (PALC) and Afro took over Massachusetts Hall to express their condemnation on Harvard's complicity in perpetuating Portuguese colonialism. They left the building undamaged. Yet Harvard is not only prosecuting these people for their actions in support of the cause of Angolan independence, but is also trying them before a kangaroo court, the CRR. The CRR is an illegitimate body which was last year repudiated by a majority of students. Currently there are no students serving on the Committee.

The Administration should drop charges against the Massachusetts Hall protesters. Furthermore, the facilities of the Law School and the Divinity School should not prosecute the two graduate students who participated in the take-over. The protesters' only crime has been to act against the Corporation's involvement in Portuguese colonialism.

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