Harvard University divested itself of nearly a third of its $500 million in holdings in companies doing business in South Africa, and Standford University moved to sell off its share of an advertising firm with South African ties.
Harvard's Committee for Shareholder Responsibility reported Thursday it sold $158.7 in holdings in five oil companies, one automaker, an oil drilling firm and a mining company, but maintained its investment policy had not changed.
'We have adhered to our policy of selective divestment right along, and these sales reaffirm that policy,' committee chairman Roderick MacDougall said.
In California, Stanford University's Commission on Investment Responsibility recommended Thursday the university sell its $570,000 investment in Grey Advertising Inc. stock because of the firm's South African operations.
The bicoastal divestment fervor came the same day the Republican-led Senate voted stiff economic sanctions against South Africa into law by overriding President Reagan's veto of the measures.
Harvard sold off $74.7 million in stocks and $84 million in bonds. Prior to the move, the university had $427.7 million in stock and $99.6 million in bonds invested in companies operating in the racially segregated nation.
Harvard divested holdings in Mobil, Texaco, Chevron, Exxon, Royal Dutch Petroleum and Ford Motor Co. because all six companies sold products to the South African police and military, officials said. Harvard also sold stock in Schlumberger Co., which drills oil wells, and Phelps Dodge, a mining company, he said.
The Stanford investment commission said it was urging divestment in Grey Advertising because the New York-based firm had engaged in 'polite stonewalling' when asked about a South African subsidiary.
'There is no evidence (the subsidiary) has consulted with racial group representatives, recognized anti-apartheid groups or labor unions or interceded with government officials on behalf of non-white employees in regard to apartheid laws,' the commission reported.