Harvard will sell major bank stocks with substantial investments in South Africa. This is the headline from 1978. Citibank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust had lent money to the government of South Africa. Spectacular as that headline is, the official and much more recent Report of Smith College regarding companies investing in Sudan makes better reading and provides sound rationale for public institutions using their power of investment with a moral point of view in extreme cases.
Quote: “The Trustees voiced a note of caution by acknowledging the general difficulty of applying moral criteria to investments in an imperfect world. Nonetheless, they asserted, within a general policy of avoiding perfectionist goals, “we believe it is possible to identify some corporations or industries whose actions or policies do not deserve endorsement by the intellectual community represented by Smith College. We believe that the avoidance of investment in companies in this latter category should be a specific and deliberate part of the investment policy of the College.”