1982 Divestment from South Africa

Students protesting divestment from South Africa

As international criticism of South Africa's apartheid policies grew, Student Council adopted a resolution in February, 1982, calling for the college to divest itself of stock in all companies doing business in the country. Later that month, members of the college's Anti-Apartheid Committee interrupted a Board of Managers meeting by holding a demonstration outside their meeting room.

Although the college had endorsed the Sullivan Principles since 1978, and had in 1983 sold its 6,000 shares in one company for its unwillingness to adhere to them, debate still existed on whether to support full divestment from all companies. The debate intensified in 1984 with the formation of a board committee on ethics and investment, which deliberated for more than a year but could not reach consensus.

Frustrated by the slow pace of subsequent meetings and committees on the issue, students held a day-long sit-in in December, 1985, in the doorway of the Admissions Office. They also interrupted a board meeting later that month, and the next week staged a nine-day sit-in in President Fraser's office.

In March, 1986, at their next meeting, the Board of Managers reached consensus to proceed toward "prudential mechanisms for total divestment." Some of the college's investment managers began divestment in July; full divestment was completed in 1990. Three years later, after a multi-racial, multi-party transitional government was approved in South Africa, the Board and the investment committee decided to end divestment.