To the Editors of The Crimson:
As I read in your paper of prodivestment demonstrations by students and the subsequent disciplinary actions by the Harvard administrations, it is evident that both sides are at loggerheads, their confrontations producing more and more heat but no light.
President Bok has remained in his belief that action against the South African government must occur at the federal level and consequently that the University need not sell its stock in companies that do business in South Africa so long as they abide by the Sullivan Principles. The pro-divestment forces, meanwhile, have just as steadfastly maintained that Harvard should and must divest in order to send a message to South Africa to the present U.S. Administration, and to the world.
Much of the pro-divestment side's opposition to U.S. business involvement in South Africa comes from the past and present failure of U.S. caoporations to exert a positive influence, Nevertheless, I am convinced that there can be a positive role for U.S. business in South Africa and that Harvard can actively promote this role without divesting, My proposal is for Harvard to use its shareholders votes in U.S. companies which do business in South Africa to elect directors who are committed to ethical and that country, and I believe that the man best qualified to be such a director its Bishop Desmond Tutu.
In selling stock in Baker Corp., Harvard has already shown its willingness to divest its share in irresponsible companies. Why should it not then use its shareholder power to elect a director who will act to ensure the proper behavior of the remaining companies in its portfolio? To those who favor divestment, the election of Bishop Tutu would mean that apartheid's most notable, eloquent, and unimpeachable opponent would be able to affect the behavior of U.S. companies abroad depends upon the will of the people, and not just the position of the incumbent administration. For those who do not own stock in the U.S. companies in South Africa, every purchase decision made in the U.S. can be vote for Bishop Tutu.
I hope that people will consider my proposal, which allows the Harvard community to speak forcefully to U.S. companies and South Africa in a language they understand while at the same time allowing the University freedom in its investment decisions. To those who, seething with frustration over the intransigence of the opposition, cannot see any course but the most extreme, I say it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Robert Zafft '86