REC Community Investment Organizer Published in "The Boston Globe"

REC Community Investment Organizer Caroline Incledon’s letter to the editor was published in the June 11 edition of The Boston Globe! In her letter, Caroline argues that recent changes to the term limits and size of the Harvard Corporation will not be enough to spur complete endowment transparency. Check out the full letter:

Schools must move to full transparency

Jun 11, 2011 02:20 AM

RE “HARVARD improves governance, but full accountability still lags’’ (Editorial, June 4): While term limits and increased size may help modernize the Harvard Corporation, they are hardly sufficient reforms. Term limits may deter selfish interests from dominating the school’s main governing board, and increased size could lead to more debate and oversight regarding investment decisions. However, full transparency, which is necessary for operational accountability, will still be lacking.

When Lawrence Bacow was president of Tufts, the school received extremely low grades for endowment transparency from the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s report card. Furthermore, Tufts lost $20 million in the Bernard Madoff scheme under Bacow’s leadership of the board. If your editorial is going to hold ex-Harvard president Lawrence Summers accountable for his university’s endowment losses, it should recognize Bacow’s role in losses at Tufts as well, and realize that Bacow’s addition to the Harvard board doesn’t represent the sweeping change people might think.

However, neither Summers nor Bacow are individually responsible for their universities’ endowment losses. They are part of a larger, structurally ineffective higher education investment system that is convoluted and lacks transparency.

The group Students at Tufts for Investment Responsibility, of which I am president, agrees with your editorial that full improvements will occur only when the way business is carried out changes. As you suggest, this change should be built upon the release of more information and welcome more community input. “Formal rules requiring the release of minutes and agendas’’ is the least the Harvard board can do.

Caroline Incledon, Medford

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2011/06/11/schools_must_move_to_full_transparency/

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