The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) last night approved a shareholder resolution that would limit the Du Pont company's work with nuclear weapons.
In a 5-2 vote, with one abstention, the ACSR--which advises the Corporation on the ethical implications of Harvard's investment policy--voted to support a resolution sponsored by several Church groups that calls on Du Pont to half its management of the Savannah River plant. At the South Carolina plant. Du Pont produces plutonium and tritium for nuclear weapons, as well as conducting research on nuclear arms for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Harvard owns about $500.000 of stock in Du Pont, according to the latest University financial report, which covers the fiscal year ending June 30.
The majority of the advisory committee generally felt that the operation of the plant "contributes to the acceleration of the arms race." Candace R. Corvey, secretary to the ACSR, said last night.
Although shareholder resolutions are usually overwhelmingly defeated in a company's proxy vote. Harvard's position on an issue often carries important symbolic weight.
Despite last night's ACSR recommendation, it appears likely that the Corporation--which has the final say on how Harvard votes in proxy resolutions will abstain on the Du Pont resolution. Thus far this year, members of the Corporation have abstained on nearly all the nuclear weapons-related issues that have arisen in companies in the University portfolio. The Corporation last week abstained on a similar resolution--which the ACSR supported--calling on General Electric to end its management of the Pinellas nuclear weapons plant.
Corporation members have explained they want more time to consider the complicate nuclear issue.
The ACSR last night formally decided to hold an open meeting next fall to hear Harvard community opinion on the nuclear question. Student activists had hoped to have such a meeting this year, but Corporation Member Hugh Calkins '45 and ACSR Chairman Walter J. Salmon, Roth Professor of Retailing at the Business School, have indicated that there would probably not be enough time to prepare for such a meeting before the end of the year.
The ACSR also split last night on a pair of proposals that ask Exxon and Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) to issue report on their activities Chile Harvard owns about $28 million in Exxon and about $34 million in Atlantic Richfield, according to the University's most recent financial report.
The ACSR voted to support a church-sponsored resolution calling on ARCO to release a detailed report on the investments it has made in Chile. The report would include an evaluation of the impact of these investments in improving human rights in the country.
At the same time, the advisory committee rejected a similar proposal for Exxon because the company has proved "very willing to supply the information" requested to all interested parties, Corvey said.