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Stanford trustees remove ban on buying stock in four companies

STANFORD -- The Stanford Board of Trustees Tuesday, Dec. 14, agreed to remove its ban on the acquisition of stock in four companies from which the university had divested in the 1980s because of their business activities in South Africa.

In so doing, the trustees accepted the recommendation of its five- member Special Committee on Investment Responsibility.

The four companies are Air Express International, CBI Industries, Grey Advertising, and the Interpublic Group of Companies.

"This action of the Board of Trustees is a milestone for Stanford's policy on investment responsibility," said trustee Roger Clay, chair of the special committee. "It is also an affirmation of the university's approach of selective divestment and working with companies to change their behavior in South Africa.

"It's a good feeling to be part of a positive force for change in South Africa, and we are delighted that the changes are occurring much sooner than any of us expected," Clay said. "The long-term cumulative efforts of many organizations, agencies and governments in being willing to use economic sanctions in South Africa helped to bring about this time of great hope for the South African people."

Stanford eliminated the four stocks from its portfolio in the mid- to late-1980s, and prohibited re-acquisition until the firms changed what a trustee panel had determined were socially injurious policies and practices at their businesses in South Africa.

Because of recent events in South Africa, including African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela's call for the lifting of all economic sanctions, Stanford's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility unanimously voted to recommend that Stanford make eligible for reinvestment any company that receives a passing rating under the State Department guidelines or the Statement of Principles program.

As a result, only one firm - Ingersoll Rand - remains on Stanford's list of banned securities. The advisory panel recommended that no action be taken on Ingersoll Rand until after free elections are held in South Africa. The advisory panel expressed concerns about Ingersoll Rand selling equipment to the South African Defense Forces.

The advisory panel is an eight-member group made up of Stanford faculty, students, staff and alumni. The panel does research and makes recommendations on all investment responsibility issues.



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