Several Harvard officials attending yesterday's anti-apartheid rally said they were impressed with the event, but said it was unfair that President Bok become the focus of personal criticism.
"I think it's extremely unfair [to speak badly of Bok]," said Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54. "I think it ignores his very strong commitment on the issue of apartheid and the great deal he has done here and nationally on issues. He's been a leader of university presidents."
"It's a political event, and political events have their own rules," said Dean of Freshman Henry C. Moses. "If anyone impugned Derek Bok's sincerity or said he hasn't worked extremely hard on this issue, then they're not telling the truth about it; and that's unacceptable."
The criticism of Bok was "unfair and unfortunate," according to John Shattuck, vice president for government and public affairs.
Many administrators said however, that yesterday's protest was necessary and important.
"It's an impressive rally," said Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III. "There's no question in my mind that the rally should take place because it's important to provide means for expressions of views, especially on issues that divide members of the University."
"The rally has been very orderly and appropriate, and I think it's appropriate that the University and College preserve the rights of the members of our community to express themselves on grave and important matters like apartheid in South Africa," said Assistant Dean of the College Mack I. Davis.
Shattuck called the rally very spirited, saying, "There is a universal abhorrence of apartheid at Harvard being manifested in terms of national legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, Bok and I want this. This is by far more effective than any other forms of sanctions."
"I hope students will think critically about what [Jesse Jackson] said and figure out how they want to connect his poetry with political action," Moses said.