Moral investment advice

by Alexander R. Edlich | 11/15/93 6:00am

When the Council on Investor Responsibility talks, the Board of Trustees listens.

The Trustee decision to allow reinvestment in South Africa, follows a string of major recommendations on the College's investment policies made by the committee -- including the decision to divest from the Canadian power company Hydro-Quebec last January.

The advisory group, composed of two students, the College's top financial administrators, alumni, professors and three trustees, evaluates the moral and ethical issues of the College's investments and makes recommendations to the Board.

Trustee William King, who chairs the group, said the committee looks "at the College's investments and makes sure they are keeping with ideals and goals that Dartmouth wishes to express itself."

The committee met Thursday afternoon to discuss reinvestment in South Africa. After an hour discussion, the 10 members voted to advise the Trustees to rescind the 1989 ban on investments in South Africa. One member was not at the meeting.

King said the hour conversation was a discussion rather than a debate.

"Good things come from a conversation because members can express different concerns because we can pay proper respect to the minority view on issues," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Virginia. "It was not really as much a debate as it was a discussion because pretty much everyone agreed on the direction we had to take."

Committee members were sent a portfolio on investment in South Africa and the current political situations a week ago, King said.

College Vice President and Treasurer Lyn Hutton presented to the advisory group an analysis of the College's portfolio and discussed the policies of other academic institutions and government departments.

After Hutton's analysis, members of the group discussed their concerns and opinions on reinvesting in South Africa. King said members discussed whether the committee should recommend specific investment practices or simply recommend ending the 1989 restriction on investments.

"Obviously once the events started to unroll, we felt that it was an appropriate time for the College to look into this question," said Kenneth Spritz, the director of foundations and corporate relations, who sits on the committee. "We don't deal with the financial issues ... The Trustees are the financial managers who are concerned with those issues."

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