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Law forcing universities to divest is overruled

The nation's first law forcing public colleges to dump investments in companies operating in South Africa has been overturned on grounds it violated the schools' constitutional autonomy. In a decision released Wednesday, the three-judge Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the University of Michigan was right to balk at being ordered to sell off stocks, and said Michigan does not have a public policy favoring South African divestiture.

A spokesman of the attorney general's office, which argued in favor of the divestiture law, said staff lawyers would consider an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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The law, intended as a protest against South Africa's policy of racial separation, was signed by Gov. William Milliken in 1982. It was the first state to force its public colleges to rid portfolios of South African investments.

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