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President Bok, responding to the Rev. Jesse I. Jackson's March 12 open letter asking Harvard to divest its $565 million of stock in companies which do business in South Africa, recently reaffirmed, the University's long-standing opposition to such divestment.
In his March 28 letter released by the University yesterday. Bok told Jackson, "I fully share your abhorrence of apartheid." But he reiterated the University's decade-old position that divestment would be an inappropriate and ineffective way of attacking the racist regime.
Jackson, who will speak at a rally today in the Yard (See story, page 1), wrote Bok that Harvard's policy of conducting dialogue to improve ethically delinquent companies with South African operations "is little more than tokenism."
The civil rights activists, comparing investment in South Africa with investment in Nazi Germany, called on Bok and Harvard to lead the way in the fight against the white minority-ruled. South African governments completely divesting.
Bok, who was out of town yesterday and unavailable for comment, wrote in his reply that he agrees with Jackson's criticisms of the white minority regime, and that many difference between us, therefore, have to do with means rather than ends.
Bok has repeatedly argued that Harvard would compromise its academic autonomy if it were to wield its influence in areas unrelated to education because it would leave itself open to having the influence of others imposed upon it.
Instead, Bok wrote to Jackson that individuals should work nationally to impress their views upon their elected representatives. "I hope that we can unite in supporting Congressional initiatives in Washington" to impose various economic sanctions or the South African regime.
On Tuesday, the University released another personal Bok letter, in which he told Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass.) that he supports the Senator's proposed economic sanctions against South Africa. (See "Real World" column, page 4.)
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