CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ Nine students were charged with disorderly conduct Thursday as they protested a decision by trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Endowment Fund to keep investments in South Africa.

Authorities said the students refused to leave the office of Farris Womack, vice chancellor for finances at UNC. They were released on $500 bail and were to appear in Orange County District Court in December.

UNC Chancellor Christopher Fordham made a motion in the closed-door trustees' meeting that the university sever all ties with South Africa, but the motion received no second and was not voted on, according to Bryan C. Hassel, student body president.

''I'm extremely disappointed, not incredibly surprised,'' Hassel said. ''They are pursuing a path where they are supporting apartheid and are supporting a racist system that is terrible, that is killing people every day.''

The trustees agreed to halt investments with four companies - Dresser Industries, Malco Chemical Co., Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Those companies deal directly with the South African government, according to Endowment Board Chairman Simpson Tanner III.

Tanner said opponents of a broader divestiture did not support apartheid but felt university funds should not be used for political reasons.

About 75 students waited in the hall outside the room where the seven- member Endowment Board deliberated. Many held signs bearing slogans for or against divestiture.

Most of the students appeared to favor divestiture. Many belonged to the UNC Anti-Apartheid Support Group, while opponents of divestiture were organized by the College Republicans and Students For America, a conservative youth organization.

Tanner said he believed that the controversy eventually would take care of itself as more and more companies find it prudent to get out of South Africa because of increasing political unrest there.