Sanctions and values

The dilemma of American universities over divestment of holdings in companies that do business in South Africa is not confined to South African affairs [```To divest or not to divest' a gnawing issue for universities,'' Sept. 24]. It has long applied to other issues of social responsibility such as unfair labor practices at home and abroad, environmental pollution, and military research and education grants. The current discussion on values in education needs to extend to campus decisionmakers as well as to instruction at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Theodore Herman Cornwall, Pa.

The use of ``tribal chants'' in your report of a protest by South African mine laborers suggests that the black South Africans were doing something more primitive or irrational than we do in the United States when we picket or demonstrate and chant slogans [``A symbol of Soweto's fight,'' Sept. 24]. The workers probably were chanting, but if the writer did not understand their language he was liable to misrepresent them. The term ``tribal'' is pejorative and misleading and should be avoided in objective reporting. Lawrence C. Gilley Washington

The United States did exactly right in cutting off aid to Zimbabwe [``Beating up on Zimbabwe,'' Sept. 11]. It should have done so much sooner -- not because of the lack of what the columnist refers to as ``fawning gratitude'' -- but because it should not be supporting a dictator who loudly proclaims that democracy is a one-party system. Rhodesia was a self-supporting nation. If Zimbabwe can't support itself, that's too bad. It is not our problem. We have problems of our own -- drugs, illiteracy, farm losses, trade imbalance, and a monstrous federal deficit. E. Roger Cleveland

The approaching summits are sure to be dull affairs. There will be no glitter. When modern heads of state have meetings, they always wear drab, bourgeois-style business suits. In 1520, when Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France held a summit on a great plain near Calais -- Field of the Cloth of Gold -- the monarchs and their entourages were arrayed in such a dazzling display of brocades and jewels that it has never been forgotten. Nobody can recall what they talked about. Arthur R. Smith Truro, Mass.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address to ``Readers Write.''

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