Stanford University Trustees in Stock Sale Vote
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ Stanford University trustees voted Tuesday to sell 124,000 shares of Motorola Corp., worth $4.5 million, if the university finds that the company has sold equipment to the South African military or police since 1983.
The trustees’ action, approving the unanimous recommendation of the university’s Commission on Investment Responsibility, came while about 20 students and staff members staged a peaceful sit-in in the lobby above the meeting room.
The conditional divestment would take effect only if the trustees found on the basis of a report from the university staff or the commission that ″Motorola has sold or is selling equipment to the South African military or police after 1983.″
It is the first conditional divestment since the trustees adopted a policy on investment responsibility in 1971.
″At the present time we cannot show that such sales took place after 1983 or will take place in the future,″ the commission said Jan. 23. ″Motorola management categorically denies sales to the South African military but they leave unanswered the question of sales to the police.″
Selling the Motorola stock became an issue on the campus last fall when a student referendum was approved urging the school to divest the 94,000 shares of Motorola stock it then owned. It was the first referendum by students at any university on the divestiture of a specific company doing business in South Africa.
Responding to a Stanford-supported shareholder proposal last spring to end sales to South Africa, Motorola said the major use of radio equipment by South African police is to ″support the protection of people and property.″ The company also said ″imposing an embargo on another government is engaging in the conduct of foreign policy.″
Motorola spokesman George Grimsrud, at the company’s headquarters in Schaumberg, Ill., declined comment on Tuesday’s decision ″until we hear directly from the trustees.″
He also would not comment on whether Motorola had sold equipment to the military or police in the past two years.