Inciting An Avalanche


Student opinion about Harvard's South Africa-related investments resembles snow descending from a Cambridge rooftop. It starts to fall in bits and chunks--then avalanches.

The undergraduate committee that selects the student member to the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) is trying to push the snowball off the roof.

Last Wednesday the Undergraduate Committee on Harvard Shareholder Responsibility (UCSHR) circulated its proposed reforms of the ACSR to these committees, seeking help in its bid to reform the ACSR and boycott the advisory body until these reforms are implemented.

Julie Fouquet '80, the chairman of the UCHSR who resigned from the ACSR, shares the committee's reservations about the ACSR. Now they are trying to convince the House Committees.

Proposed reforms include a call for open meetings, a fixed agenda drawn up before the meetings, and democratic selection of ACSR members drawn from representative groups in the community.

But they won't have to persuade North House, because that House committee last month issued a statement criticizing the ACSR for "not performing its function of discussing the moral and social consequences of Harvard's investment policies."

Leverett House followed suit by endorsing the reform of the ACSR in a vote of 18 to three with five abstentions.

Carl Rosen '80, secretary treasurer of UCHSR and a member of the Leverett House committee, said yesterday he believes the committee vote may indicate the mood of other Houses because Leverett House student opinion is the "middle of the road."

Yet even if the Houses do overwhelmingly support the reform of the ACSR, there is no guarantee that the advisory body will be reformed.

President Bok may determine the composition of the ACSR but he has already stated that he does not want to tell the graduate schools how to select their respective ACSR members. Graduate school deans now appoint the committee members.

But whether the vacationing Bok decides to reform the ACSR or not, student opinion on Harvard's South Africa related investments, like rooftop snow, becomes more weighty and lethal with the advent of spring.