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President Bok will testify next Thursday in favor of legislation that would impose economic sanctions on the white minority-ruled regime of South Africa.
Bok has said that the bill, introduced by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass), is necessary because the South African government has shown "little resolve" to improve the living conditions of oppressed Black South Africans, and the U.S. policy of constructive engagement has not proven successful in leading toward reform.
The bill would restrict the activity of American business in the apartheid state and would prohibit the sale of some South African commodities in this country.
Although Bok maintains that the
University will not take any stand on political issues, which do not directly affect Harvard, he outlined his personal endorsement of the Kennedy bill in a letter to the Senator in early April.
Vice President for Government and Community Affairs John Shattuck said yesterday that Kennedy thought Bok's knowledge of the South African government and of American corporate involvement in the apartheid state could help push the bill through the Senate Banking Committee.
Bok's support of the Kennedy bill comes at a time of heightened student protest to pressure the University to divest of its $580 million of stock in companies doing business in South Africa.
Although Bok personally supports sanctions on the South African government he holds that Harvard as an educational institution can only have an effect on the South African government by influencing companies in which it invests and not by taking political stands.
Bok is currently in Florence, Italy this week celebrating the opening of an addition to the library of the Villa I Tatti, a Harvard-owned Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and was unavailable for comment yesterday.
The annex to I Tatti's Biblioteca Berenson, called the Paul E. Geier Library after a noted Harvard benefactor will double the center's collection of medieval books and works of art. It is expected to provide space for I Tatti's expanding collection for the next 40 years and to facilitate a growing public demand for Renaissance studies, according to a statement released by the center.
I Tatti, which was donated by act critic Bernard Berenson '19, a wealthy Harvard scholar, serves 12 Harvard graduate students and other students not directly affiliated with the University
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