It's the end of the semester and many campaigns in our movement are wrapping up with student government resolutions supporting demands for responsible and accountable investment policies at our schools. These resolutions are often the results of hours of petitioning, tabling, and teach-ins designed to educate the campus community and gain support for ethical endowment practices. Two of those resolutions come from committed REC affiliates at Washington University-St. Louis, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Macalester College.
Washington University-St. Louis students organized Washington University Students for Endowment Transparency (WUSET) last year after learning that many members of the Board of Trustees are connected (by Boards or employment) to dirty energy companies in order to give students and the campus community, not industry interests, a say in how the school's money is invested. After months of rallying, petitioning, meeting with officials, and otherwise raising a ruckus the WUSET has successfully convinced the student government to support their efforts to bring accountability to Wash U investments, predominately by establishing a Committee on Investor Responsibility like those in place at the top universities in the nation. The school plans to begin reviewing other responsible investment policies and develop recommendations this summer. A website about this effort is expected this month.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor graduate and undergraduate students from Net Impact and environmental groups successfully passed a resolution supporting responsible investment practices of the endowment. That resolution focuses on developing proxy voting guidelines on environmental and social issues to add to the existing guidelines in use for governance and financial issues. If the UM administration agrees it will be largest public university endowment voting environmental and social proxies!
Macalester College students recently passed a referendum defining socially responsible investing for their campus. They have since met with administrators who are eager to integrate students into the investment process and are open to using the guidelines students approved! You can read the referendum here.
If your group is currently pushing a resolution, or has successfully passed one, let us know! We'd love to share the news and are happy to provide you with copies of previously submitted and passed resolutions from other schools as well. For access to those resources email organize (at) endowmentethics (dot) org.