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February 24, 1972
President Derek Bok met tonight with members of the Pan-African Liberation Committee and other groups concerned about Harvard University's ownership of Gulf Oil Co. stock.
The group had assembled early in the afternoon at Massachusetts Hall to press its demand that Harvard divest itself of more than 680,000 shares of the company's stock, about 0.3 per cent of the company's stock. The group contends that through its operations in Angola. Gulf contributes to the oppression of black Angolans.
At the meeting, Bok agreed to arrange for representatives of the group to present their views to the Harvard Corporation, which is responsible for Harvard investment policies. The meeting will be scheduled within the next three weeks, Bok said.
Bok also indicated he would give the group his own views on the divestiture within the same time period, after he has had time to examine the facts thoroughly.
Commenting on the issues presented today, Bok said:
"There is no question in my mind that Portugal has inflicted grave wrongs on Black people in Angola and Mozambique. The question for Harvard to consider in the next few weeks is the most responsible position for Harvard to take as a shareholder in a company doing considerable business in those two countries."
Bok had previously met with members of the Pan-African Liberation Committee in September. He indicated at that time that the question would be reviewed in early spring of this year prior to the Gulf annual meeting where Harvard has a proxy vote.
Bok said Gulf and other corporate responsibility questions have been under review since last fall by his assistant. Stephen Farber, in preparation for corporate annual meetings this spring. Farber will present material to the Corporation before voting decisions are made.
The doors to Massachusetts Hall were locked this afternoon when a large group arrived unannounced and attempted to enter to press their demands. The group then gathered in University Hall and caucused for approximately two hours in the main waiting room.
When the subject matter of the demands became clear, the meeting with President Bok was arranged for the earliest available time.
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