Date: Fri, 14 Mar 97 18:17:36 CST
From: Marpessa Kupendua <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: !*Yale protest blocks de Klerk
)Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 23:42:21 -0800
)From: email@example.com (Michael Novick)
)Subject: Yale protest blocks de Klerk
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP - Former South African President F.W. de Klerk has decided not to take a fellowship at Yale Law School, where some students and faculty were promising to demonstrate if he showed up, the university said Wednesday.
In a letter to Dean Anthony Kronman, de Klerk said he had become aware
of the objections to his visit and
expressed his wish not to become
involved in a situation that could cause anyone embarassment, said
Gila Reinstein, a Yale spokeswoman.
De Klerk, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, had been scheduled to visit the campus April 24-26 as a Harper Fellow.
His letter was dated Monday. The dean wrote back to de Klerk on Wednesday, saying he agreed that his presence could create an uncomfortable situation at this time, the school said.
The law school voted last June to invite de Klerk to the campus on the fellowship, which is awarded to individuals who have made distinguished contributions to their nation's public life.
In naming de Klerk a Harper Fellow, school officials noted that de Klerk led South Africa away from racial apartheid.
The protesters, however, said de Klerk should not be honored because he headed a violent, white supremacist regime. They also said he lied to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee about his ties to violent elements in the former government.
The protestors noted the Yale invitation had been proferred before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee linked de Klerk to apartheid abuses.
The group had threatened to stage a protest if de Klerk came to New Haven.
We're pleased at the developments. Yale should not honor this
man, Jonathan Klaaren, a protester.
In June, de Klerk's name came up during the hearings of the commission, a body charged with uncovering apartheid crimes, granting amnesty to those who make full confessions, and determining how victims should be compensated.
De Klerk denied knowing about security force members planning to kill anti-apartheid activists.
De Klerk's National Party led the country for four decades under apartheid. As president, de Klerk released African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela from prison and began the negotiations that led to majority rule. Mandela and de Klerk later shared a Nobel Peace Prize.
Ruth Emerson, who graduated from the Law School in 1950 and knew Fowler Harper, the late professor who is the fellowship's namesake, said she was relieved that de Klerk had decided to stay home. She said Harper would have been upset at de Klerk having won the fellowship.
He (Harper) would have hated de Klerk and all that he stood for,
He was a very progressive, racially sensitive guy.
Catherine Roraback, a 1948 Law School graduate who was Harper's friend, agreed.
He was a person really devoted to equal rights and to real
justice, Roraback said of Harper.
I think the current nominee
is not someone he would have gotten along with.
As late as last week, school officials refused to withdraw the invitation.