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MIT's role in divestment program is anything but certain, mandatory

The need for radical change in South Africa is clear. Apartheid, with its disenfranchisement of black Africans, must be removed. However, the role that MIT should assume in the pursuit of this goal is not clear.

Many in the MIT community are calling on MIT to divest from companies doing business in South Africa. MIT is a university, however, and should not be treated merely as a tool in the pursuit of a particular foreign policy.

Where would such logic, if followed, lead? Perhaps MIT should not accept individuals who purchase products from companies that do business in South Africa. Certainly, MIT should not accept individuals from South Africa, assuming the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid's logic is applied consistently.

MIT's goal as an institution is the education of students and the pursuit of knowledge. Policies which cripple MIT's ability to achieve this goal must be rejected, except in exceptional cases.

Is the situation in South Africa an exceptional case? If so, then how about the situation in China? Are you willing to sacrifice your education, if only to a small degree, so that MIT can develop a foreign policy? Are you willing to sacrifice everyone's education? Do you even have the right to make that decision?

James W. Reiner '94->