Trustee press conference on new divestment policy

February 22, 1986

Trustee press conference on new divestment policy

After much discussion among themselves and pressure from different members of the Smith community, the Smith College trustees held a press conference in Wright Hall to announce their plans for divestment in South Africa. The policy they put forth disappointed many students with its long timeline and cautious nature. Students rallied outside Wright Hall before the press conference began to push for total divestment within two years, a proposal that had been made by the Smith Senate’s Ethical Investment Committee. However, under the trustee’s new policy, Smith would only initially divest from two companies, and would divest from the rest in “an orderly fashion,” not a specific period of time. Out of the $22,306,791 in investments the College had in South Africa, these two companies would only account for $1,700,000. Members of the Ethical Investment Committee made comments and announced a sit-in in College Hall in protest.

A description of the press conference and the policy can be found here (1, 3).              

Letters to the editor written in response to the policy can be found here and here.

[Last updated on October 31, 2018]