To the Editors of The Crimson:
Humor is almost universally a welcome challenge to the seriousness with which we consider ourselves and our undertakings. But the advocates of divestment from companies doing business in South Africa ultimately oppose apartheid, a cruel system of institutionalized racial oppression there. There is nothing humorous in the situation of Black people in South Africa, nor is there anything intrinsically humorous in the efforts of others to condemn apartheid.
The anti-apartheid movement is the only possible context for the efforts of two freshmen (Crimson, October 23) to solicit University sanctions against the demise of the woolly mammoth. While their efforts can be dismissed as being all in fun, President Derek Bok's ready complicity in all this silliness seems to mock the seriousness of the issues involved in the antiapartheid advocacy of divestment. Bok's response may also have been all in fun, but it seems insensitive just the same.
Regardless of where we stand on the divestment question, two matters seem clear: apartheid oppresses Black people in South Africa, and continued investment in South Africa implicates Harvard as at least a willing partner in the apartheid regime. These are serious issues. We can only hope that the University does, in fact, consider the plight of fellow humans in South Africa more seriously than the plight of long-extinct animals. Paul Bommans, GSAS History Department