UC’s Student Lobby Assails Investment Review Plan
Lobbyists for University of California students charged Tuesday that UC President David P. Gardner’s proposal for a case-by-case review of investments linked to South Africa is inadequate because it fails to call for divestiture of university holdings.
“The president’s recommendation falls far short of the action requested by divestment advocates,” UC Student Lobby spokesman Jim Lofgren said. “Gardner is not calling for divestment of any kind. That is a major disappointment to us.”
The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to decide Friday whether to order the sale of $2.4-billion worth of stock in U.S. companies that do business in South Africa. The stock was purchased with UC pension funds.
Student groups and other proponents of divestiture contend that the sale of the stock would be an effective means of protesting South Africa’s strict policy of racial segregation.
Meantime, the Fair Political Practices Commission announced that Regent Edward W. Carter, a Los Angeles business executive, had sold personal investments in two companies doing business in South Africa that also were included in the university’s portfolio.
Carter’s sale of the stock eliminates a potential conflict of interest that he could have faced in voting on divestiture. Carter earlier had reported owning between $20,000 and $200,000 in GTE Corp. and E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.
Earlier this week, the commission advised two other regents with similar holdings that they would have to disqualify themselves if faced with a vote that could affect the value of their own stock.
Gardner, apparently seeking to develop a compromise position, has privately circulated a proposal among the regents that recommended that the board establish a committee to review the investments, according to sources familiar with the plan. Gardner has declined to publicly discuss his recommendation until he reveals it at Friday’s meeting.
“After months of debate, another committee will be formed to study the issue,” protested Lofgren, a lobbyist for the Sacramento-based Student Lobby, which represents the 141,000 students of the nine UC campuses.