The Spring Ahead: II

This is the second in a two-part preview of Spring 1985 at Harvard Today, the semester in sports, the Faculty, the University, national education issues, and Massachusetts politics.

South Africa Investments

What with Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, and Harvard's United Ministries all recently calling holdings and divest loudly rallying against apartheid the University may be headed for an unusually heavy wave of criticism.

Each Spring for nearly a decade--during the corporate proxy season--students have demonstrated against the University continued investment in companies doing business in South Africa.

President Bok has repeatedly argued that disinvestment would be counterproductive and has insisted that "intensive dialogue" with portfolio companies has more impact on South African work conditions Word is that Bok may finally carry through on this stated investment policy by selling stock in companies which consistently fail to comply with accepted standards for work conditions. It is yet to be seen whether any such move would mollify student and faculty activists and the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility--which last year for the first time advised the Corporation to divest all its South Africa-related holdings.


Students are expected to keep up pressure on the Corporation through demonstrations and by continuing for a third year the Endowment for Divestiture, an alternative to the official Senior Class Gift fund.

Education Aid Cuts

Harvard lobbyists will be busy as bees on Capitol Hill this spring trying to stave off massive education aid cuts proposed this winter by President Reagan.

The cuts--which include eliminating Guaranteed Student Loans for students whose family income is more than $32,500--could, if they are approved, prompt Harvard under extreme conditions to drop its need-blind admissions policy.

Lobbyists and admissions officials say, 'however, that they are confident that most of the Reagan program, which would cut in half the $15 million Harvard students receive yearly, will not be adopted wholesale by Congress. However, Reagan is expected to have greater clout this year than he did in 1981-82 when his proposals to cut student aid were clobbered on the Hill.

In the long term, lobbyists fear that the Higher Education Act, which includes authorization for undergraduate aid programs, may undergo major changes when Congress discusses the bill's reauthorization over the next two years. The current bill expires in October, 1986.

Harvard researchers are also concerned about an ongoing crackdown by the Reagan Administration on the flow of academic information. National Security Directive 84, instituted in March 1983, requires approximately 120,000 federal employees--if they wish to have access to classified information--to sign a agreement by which they will submit for government approval all subsequent speeches and publications.

Harvard officials worry that Directive 84, on the congressional agenda this spring, could hurt the large number of Faculty who have served in government.

The University is also fighting federal restrictions on the publication of research conducted with federal money, and hopes to combat what education lobbyists call an ever greater propensity to classify information.

Grad School Review