Despite the Bush Administration's request for universities to curtail their policies against investing in South Africa, the University has no plans to resume contact with the racially fragmented nation, said Associate General Counsel Steve Poskanzer. In 1987, the University sold off all of its stocks in companies which refused to withdraw from South Africa. These holdings then totaled nearly $35 million. Four years later, this policy has remained unchanged and unchallenged, and without trustee discussions concerning the possibility of eliminating the divestment plan, Boskanzer said. Reinvestment in South Africa would require approval of the trustees. "The University has divested from South African stocks," Boskanzer said. "The trustees are certainly always monitoring the situation in South Africa." None of several trustees contacted said they are aware of possible moves to re-invest in South Africa. "I have not heard any [such] discussions," said Susan Catherwood, trustee and chairman of the board of overseers of the University Museum. The decisions that the federal government make about policy for South Africa, according to Boskanzer, are independent of the University's decisions about where to invest its endowment, and its decision in 1987 was independent of the government. "The University is not linked to what the federal government is doing," he said. "The University's policy is not because of federal actions." The University's change in policy, which became a controversy on campus in 1986, is a statement about the University's disapproval of apartheid, trustees said. Trustees of the University drew up a policy to limit it in 1986. "In the initial report, the University gave South Africa 18 months in order to substantially dismantle apartheid," Boskanzer said. When this was not successful, the trustees passed a second policy, in 1987, ordering all corporations that the University is affiliated with to withdraw from South Africa. According to Boskanzer, most did consent, and the ones which did not were eliminated from the University's holdings. Universities across the country were embroiled in the debate during the mid-1980s, and many others also divested from the nation. "Most in the University's portfolio had already withdrawn [from South Africa]," he said. "Those who hadn't [withdrawn], the University dropped."Comments powered by Disqus
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