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Divestiture and Tuition

THE MAIL

To the Editors of the Crimson:

Amid all the recent uproar over the University's South African investments, there seems to be at least one factor I have heard no one discuss. Any number of student placards have proclaimed that "Harvard Profits from Apartheid" and the like. I wonder whether the bearers of such signs realize that they, as the principal raison d'etre of the University, share in whatever profits of oppression our South African holdings may support.

Somehow, I have not heard student leaders explaining the fact that total divestiture means less income to run the University as prices continue to soar and that, therefore, the deficit must be made up if Harvard is to continue to deliver the kind of education for which students have competed so hard to obtain. Even the divestiture process itself would cost a great deal of money. Without for a moment agreeing wholeheartedly with the Corporation's decision of April 27, I have to ask whether students have thought about what total divestiture might actually mean. In brief, it might increase tuition.

Moral rectitude always costs a great deal on many levels. If students sincerely want Harvard out of South Africa, why has no on initiated a campaign for student pledges to bear whatever tuition hikes total divestiture might require?

Again, let me emphasize that I personally feel that economic starvation alone will bring white South Africa to its knees, so I sympathize with student demands for total divestiture. But I hardly think that a Corporation decision for divestiture swiftly followed by the announcement of, say, an additional $500 tuition increase next fall would draw hosannas from the Houses. Yet nothing could so dramatically illustrate the fact that every student at this University benefits directly from the proceeds of Harvard's endowment--including those from South Africa.

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As an alumnus of the Class of '69, I would like to see today's protesters put their money where their mouth is. Are they willing to pay the personal price of helping bring outrageous injustice to an end? Or is all the marching and shouting just another empty rite of spring? --Marvin Hightower

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