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Columbia University sold $2.7 million worth of stock in three banks last week because the banks would not make policy statements regarding their loans to the South African Government.
The three banks were "not willing to disclose sufficient information for the trustees to make a good judgment about the nature of their business," Eleanor Adams, associate director at Columbia's Office of Public Information, said yesterday.
Columbia sold its stock in accordance with a statement made by Columbia's trustees last June, which called for divestiture of holdings from financial institutions that "provide new and continuing access to capital markets for the government of South Africa and respond with indifference to the prevailing repressive racial policies."
The stocks were sold without financial loss and the $2.7 million in stock represented one per cent of Columbia's total investments, she added.
The three banks involved are the Detroit Bank Corporation, Manufacturers National Bank of Detroit, and the Rainier Ban corporation of Seattle.
Brian W. Bell, the finance officer for the holding company of the Rainier Corporation, said yesterday, "We only have two very small loans in South Africa." He added that the corporation did not plan to withdraw these loans or increase its loans to South Africa in the near future.
Harvard does not hold investments in any of the three banks.
The Harvard Corporation, in a statement issued last April, stated that it would not hold debt securities in banks which "ignore moral issues in making loans to South Africa or its state-owned corporations."
That statement also said Harvard will review the practices of banks in which it holds equity shares on a case-by-case basis to determine the South Africa policy of these banks.
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