Colleges Call for SEC Rule on Political Spending Disclosure

Macalester College (St. Paul, MN,) Unity College (Unity, ME), and Carleton College, (Northfield, MN), joined the growing chorus of institutions, investors, members of congress and citizens calling for Securities and Exchange Commission rulemaking. Over 470,000 comments have now been submitted in support of the petition to require companies to disclose to shareholders the use of corporate resources for political activities.

According to the letter from Macalester President Brian Rosenberg, if the SEC chooses to act on the Petition for Rulemaking, “Macalester College stands to gain the capacity to monitor more effectively the political activities of companies in which we hold shares through our institutional endowments, and thus discharge our responsibilities as a shareholder in a manner consistent with our institutional mission.”

Macalester, Unity, and Carleton, join The New School, whose Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility stated its support in October of 2012. 

In his letter, Stephen Mulkey, President of Unity College, the first college to divest from fossil fuels, described how fossil fuel companies spend money “to prevent the environmental regulation and political action on climate change that [Unity] supports.”

Macalester student Zhe Yu Lee, who helped recommend this action to Macalester’s president said, “For a flourishing democracy, young people and others must be able to understand which stakeholders are influencing the political process.”

Dan Apfel, Executive Director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition which has supported colleges working on this initiative as investors, explains that, “disclosure is particularly important for colleges and universities, which have a mission to support the public good and help develop engaged citizens. It is time for higher education to stand up and let its voice be heard on this crucial issue.”

“When the trustees agreed to endorse the SEC Petition, I felt that we were finally speaking for our future generations, who want to live in a country ruled by citizens, and not by corporations," said student Rafadi Hakim, who serves on Carleton College’s Responsible Investment Committee.

The letters from Macalester College and Unity College are available at http://www.sec.gov/comments/4-637/4-637.shtml.

 

 

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