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Students to Debate Harvard Divestment

By Jeffrey S. Nordhaus

Campus activists will lock horns at the Kennedy School this Sunday in the year's first formal student debate on Harvard's investments in South Africa-related companies.

Representatives from the Southern Africa Solidarity Committee (SASC) will battle members of the Harvard Republican Club in a debate sponsored by the Institute of Politics entitled "Should Harvard Divest."

The divestment issue first gained prominence on campus more than 10 years ago. Although Harvard currently owns $417 million in South Africa-related stocks, University officials have not accepted student invitations to defend Harvard's investment policies in a public forum.

The Republican team will consist of the club's president, Kris W. Kobach '88, and Gregory A. Dohi '87, editor-in-chief of the Salient which is a conservative campus publication. But members of the opposing SASC team will field an extra speaker at the 8 p.m. divestment showdown.

Damon A. Silvers '86 and Robert Weissman '88 will do the debating for the divestment activists, while Jennifer Nessel '88 will help her cohorts answer several questions at the end of the verbal exchange.

SASC members insisted on a three-person team "because they were unable to decide who would sit down," Kobach said yesterday.

Weissman said that "three people very much wanted to debate" and that, because the format calls for three speeches, each side should have three speakers present. The Institute offered Republicans the option of bringing a third debater, but they refused.

Side by Side

During their 23 minutes of alloted speaking time, Republicans plan to argue, in part, that "divestiture holds no moral high ground because it is ineffective," the club's president said.

SASC will attack the Republican view by trying to prove that U.S. corporations abroad do not help blacks but lend support to the South African regime--"the only racist society left on earth," Silvers said yesterday.

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