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Healthy Debate


By Melissa I. Weissberg

LAST WEEK, The Crimson reversed its majority opinion on the issue of divestiture, after more than 10 years. Today, The Crimson reverses its position again, after one week. Each time a majority opinion was reached democratically, according to standard procedure, each member of The Crimson holding one vote.

What seems most interesting and relevant not only about the actual editorials appearing in these pages but also about the tremendous response. The Crimson has received both among its own staff and from readers, is that the issue of South Africa is an incendiary one, and rightfully so. No one even discussing the issue, its seems, is doing so half heatedly. No one is "slightly in labor of total divestiture," not are people "learning towards the idea of intensive dialogue." I motions run deep in any debate about a regime as oppressive and heinous as South Africa's; as today's majority opinion asserts, there is some ground on which ardent supporters of any particular practical measures or moral statement can agree.

While Crimson editorials are the product of long debate and heated arguments, so are many conversations in dining halls and dorms, as well as we hope similar dialogues all over the country and elsewhere. As strongly felt as opposition to apartheid is, Harvard students as well as others don't all agree that total divestiture is the best way to oppose it. Not to let those people argue their views would be lantamount to denying as that we're supposedly all fighting for democracy, even on the level of a meeting of student editors of a student newspaper. Room for dissenting opinions even for a majority in one room opposing complete divestiture--is a sign of healthy debate on an emotional and vital subject.

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