First it was students criticizing Harvard.
Now it's Cleveland.
The city council of the Midwestern metropolis has issued a resolution "deploring" and "condemning" Harvard's decision to withhold the diplomas of four anti-apartheid protesters pending a decision on discipline. The resolution also praises two Harvard students--both from Cleveland--for their courage in protesting South Africa's apartheid regime at a demonstration last May.
Benjamin B. Robinson '85 and his brother, Zachary Robinson, a second-year math student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, were to receive their Harvard diplomas last June.
But, in accordance with a 1973 Faculty of Arts and Sciences ruling, the University has withheld the diplomas of the Robinsons and two other Harvard seniors until a disciplinary committee rules on their involvement in last spring's blockade of a South African diplomat at Lowell House (see story, page A-11).
Cleveland City Councilman Jay Westbrook, who sponsored the July 15 resolution, said the council "felt compelled to call on an institution with the prestige and recognition of Harvard to recognize that there's a higher command we should all abide by."
Westbrook said the unusual resolution was consistent with Cleveland's policy of "expressing abhorrence of and taking action on apartheid in South Africa." The city will not invest in companies doing business in the apartheid state. It is currently considering full divestment of city funds from banks doing business in South Africa, Westbrook said.
The resolution states that "the action of Harvard University in withholding the diplomas of Benjamin and Zachary Robinson in retaliation for their acts of peaceful disobedience is to be condemned in this matter of higher moral conscience."
Neither of the Robinsons could be reached for comment. They could receive their diplomas before the end of the month if the disciplinary body levies punishment less severe than probation. If probation or more severe discipline is administered, the seniors and Zachary Robinson would not receive degrees until the first faculty degree-granting meeting after their probation ends.
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