Sign in or register
for additional privileges

Living History Project

A Collective History of Student Engagement at UC Santa Barbara

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

UC Divestment From South Africa

South Africa: The UC Connection 

Policy of apartheid officially adopted when the National Party takes power.

Population classified by race. Group Areas Act passed to segregate blacks and whites. Communist Party banned. ANC responds with campaign of civil disobedience, led by Nelson Mandela.

Seventy black demonstrators killed at Sharpeville. ANC banned.

South Africa declared a republic, leaves the Commonwealth. Mandela heads ANC's new military wing, which launches sabotage campaign.

International pressure against government begins, South Africa excluded from Olympic Games.

ANC leader Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment.

More than 3 million people forcibly resettled in black 'homelands'.

UC Santa Barbara A.S. President John Frant is not allowed to speak about UC divestment in South Africa during a meeting with the UC Regents.  

More than 600 killed in clashes between black protesters and security forces during uprising which starts in Soweto. The Soweto uprising marked the beginning of the end for Apartheid in South Africa.  On this the day police opened fire on unarmed black students as they staged a protest march.  Soweto remains one of the defining moments of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle. It started as a revolt against plans by the minority white government to enforce teaching in Afrikaans, considered the language of the oppressor by the black population. 

UC Santa Barbara A.S. Legislative Council supports AB 974, which sets moral criteria for UC investment in South Africa.

1977 -1978 
The last time the issue of divestment from South Africa was considered by the Regents, they rejected a two year divestment plan proposed by former Regent Dymally.  During the same year, a student referendum for divestment passed five-to-one on the Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara campuses and a related statewide petition received 10,000 signatures: both were ignored by the Regents.  477 students were arrested at that time throughout the nine campuses in sit-ins protesting UC's investments in South Africa.  

Leg Council supports AB 974, sets moral criteria for UC investment in South Africa.

May 15, [year unknown]
UCSB student group Student World Federalists [S.W.F.] invited Bishop Crowther, who was exiled from South Africa for his militatnt opposition against apartheid in 1967, to share his talk titled Apartheid:  U.S. or South Africa? Syndrome of Suicide.

November 1984
The U.C. Divestment Coalition was formed by a diverse group of organizations on the Berkeley campus in order to help coordinate anti-apartheid and divestment work throughout the U.C. system. 

"We are united around the demand that the University divest itself of all holdings in companies and banks doing business in the Republic of South Africa.  Our commitment to total divestment is in solidarity with the South African liberation movement's demand for a complete economic and political boycott of their country until apartheid is dismantled and all South Africans are free."

The Regents of the University of California are responsible through the Office of the Treasurer for managing approximately 5.5 billion dollars of State money.  Just counting their aggregate holdings in those corporations with direct ties to South Africa and this banks which lend money directly to the South African government or government-owned corporations, gives a conservative estimate f 1.7 billion dollars invested in South Africa, about 30% of the UC portfolio. [The Regents compute their South African "exposure" at only 17 million dollars:  if a company does only 1% of its global business in South Africa, they count only 1% of their stocks in that company.  No other institution uses this system.]

The accompanying list gives a description of these investments.  Of the companies listed here GM, IBM, GE, and Xerox were among the top ten American corporate investors in South Africa and played a critical role in enabling the apartheid system to survive.  Likewise the five banks listed were among the top ten lenders to South Africa. 

Over 40 universities, several church coalitions, 5 states, and 20 cities had moved toward full or partial divestment. The Regents have traditionally been among the lest responsive of all university administrators in the country to the demands of the divestment movement.  Their entire constituency-students, faculty, and staff-had made repeated statements for over 10 years in support of divestment and shareholder responsibility measures.  

UC Santa Barbara A.S. Legislative Council supports the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid.  This year A.S. Legislative Council also recommended UC divest itself from companies in South Africa.  

April 10, 1986
As part of the system-wide UC Divestment Day, 100 students rally in Storke Plaza, where they boast a petition signed by 1,200 students demanding that the UC Regents divest their $3 billion in investments in companies that help uphold South African Apartheid.  The $3 billion figure represents over 30 percent of the total Regents investment portfolio.  At the event, AS President Darryl Neal offers a pen to UC Chancellor Robert Huttenback, but Huttenback refuses to sign the petition.  By April 24, nearly 1,000 students were protesting at Cheadle Hall, 150 of whom decide to occupy the building. Sixty-nine of them are arrested for trespassing.

May 16, 1986 
Over 3,000 students from across the UC system converge in a protest at the Regents meeting at UC Berkeley, and the Regents agree to place a moratorium on investments in Apartheid.  Further, they agree to form a committee to investigate the possibility of divesting all their holdings in companies doing business with the country.

Later in the year, the Regents give in to the pressure and bad publicity brought by the UC-wide student movement and the UC Regents take a final vote on the issue of UC investments in companies with business ties to South Africa, with regard to apartheid; at this time, the Board adopts a policy of phased full divestment.agree to withdraw their holdings by 1990 in all companies doing business in South Africa.  

FW de Klerk replaces PW Botha as president, meets Mandela. Public facilities desegregated. Many ANC activists freed.

ANC unbanned, Mandela released after 27 years in prison and Namibia becomes independent. When Apartheid collapses under the outside economic pressure and South African liberation leader Nelson Mandela is released from jail, his first stop on his US speaking tour is at UC Berkeley, where he thanks the students for their critical support for his people’s struggle.

Start of multi-party talks. De Klerk repeals remaining apartheid laws, international sanctions lifted. Major fighting between ANC and Zulu Inkatha movement.

Agreement on interim constitution.

1994 April 
ANC wins first non-racial elections. Mandela become president, Government of National Unity formed, Commonwealth membership restored, remaining sanctions lifted. South Africa takes seat in UN General Assembly after 20-year absence.

Comment on this page

Discussion of "UC Divestment From South Africa"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...