President Bok held a two-hour talk with a disappointingly small crowd of Harvard Republicans Wednesday night, and he seemed to please the 15 person audience with his warnings against government interference in University affairs.
Bok said the root of the problem is Harvard's dependence on government funding. "If the University becomes dependent," Bok said, "there is the natural tendency on the part of the government to try to reach out and control behavior."
Harvard received 66 million in federal funds in the past fiscal year.
Bok hinted that the government's affirmative action requirements was one instance of government interference into University affairs. Bok said that Harvard policy on ROTC and on campus military recruitment is greatly affected by government regulation.
Bok addressed himself to the legal issue behind Harvard's "symbiotic" relationship with the government when he said he did not think Harvard would have to go to sex-blind admissions if the equal rights amendment is ratified. "The question becomes one of whether the Constitution applies to a private institution like Harvard," Bok said.
Bok later explained that he did not oppose sex-blind admissions, just government interference.
In a fit of good humor, Bok told his audience, "If an orangutan was elected president of the United States and asked the Harvard Faculty to advise him, there is no doubt that we would." The Republicans laughed.
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