Hampshire Students Occupy Offices
Protest South African Holdings
Students occupied Hampshire College's administration offices early yesterday morning and demanded that the school sell its stock in four companies with investments in South Africa.
Negotiations between the students and college administrators yesterday were ineffective, and the 20 students will probably continue their occupation of the offices over the weekend, Victor Fresco, a student spokesman, said yesterday.
Over half of Hampshire College's 1300 students signed a petition in March protesting the school's ownership of $39,000 worth of stock in Texaco, Exxon, Clark Equipment, and International Harvester Inc.
Fresco, who spoke from inside the occupied administration building, said the students will not leave until the school's board of trustees holds a press conference to announce that it opposes South Africa's racial policies and agree to sell the school's stock in the four companies.
Peter E. Gluckler, director of public relations at Hampshire College, said the school has "absolutely no plans to use police force" to remove the students.
Fresco said 150 students attended a rally this afternoon in support of the demonstrators and added that the students plan to hold rallies every day of the occupation.
Although negotiations with the administration went slowly yesterday, Fresco said "the weekend will probably be a turning point in the negotiations" because the students hope to have the students out of the building by Monday.
Although the administration has not agreed to meet the students' demands, it has adopted a relaxed attitude towards the protesting students, Fresco said.
Fresco said the students began planning the occupation three weeks ago when they realized they would have no influence on the administration's guidelines for stock ownership. The students also want the school to establish a committee on shareholder responsibility, Fresco said.
Gluckler said negotiations between the Hampshire students and the administration will resume today at 10:30.
Although Gluckler declined to comment on whether the administration would yield to any of the students' demands, he said students and administrators will make concessions that will lead to the ending of the occupation.
The early-morning occupation of the first-floor offices in Cole Center was similar to the 1972 takeover of Massachusetts Hall by 35 Harvard students protesting Harvard's ownership of stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation.
The Gulf Corporation was allegedly a leading supporter of the Portugese colonial government in Angola. Harvard administrators refused to meet student demands to sell the Gulf stock and the students voluntarily left the building one week after the takeover.