To the UVM Community:
This communication is issued, on behalf of the Budget, Finance, and
Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, as a call to the
University community for issues regarding moral, social and ethical
considerations in investment and shareholder resolutions. The Board has
adopted the following:
POLICY STATEMENT ON MORAL, SOCIAL AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN
INVESTMENT AND SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS
The primary objective of investment by the University is to provide
a satisfactory return on investment for the support of University
operations based upon the Prudent Investor Rule; however, the
University’s policy of fiscal prudence shall not preclude the
consideration of moral, ethical and social criteria in determining
companies in which to invest.
The University will take an active role on request in pursuing
shareholder resolutions through proxy resolutions and other means in
order to further its goal of investing in firms that produce safe
and useful products in accordance with moral, ethical and social
The University has followed a practice of requiring significant research
and deliberation in considering any action affecting the endowment, with
actions taken only on the most compelling issues that were clearly
aligned with UVM values. As a result, resolutions for action have only
been passed on a very select number of issues, including South Africa,
sale and advertising of tobacco products, discrimination in employment
based on sexual orientation, and genocide in Sudan. There are two
mechanisms through which the University may take a position on an issue
-- either through divestment of the stock of certain companies or
through the votes the University may make on shareholder resolutions
raised at company annual meetings.
If you believe that there are issues of social concern that may
potentially be addressed through the University’s investment or proxy
voting actions, these may be brought to the Budget, Finance and
Investment Committee by contacting me (656-0219 or via email at
[log in to unmask]). In considering whether an action is appropriate,
please consider if the issue is of great moral, social, or ethical
concern, and if it is an issue that requires UVM action given the
University’s stated values.
Individuals or groups raising an issue are asked to provide information
and research and supporting its relevance to UVM's mission and values.
If additional research or investigation is needed, the Chair will
appoint a workgroup of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and
administrators. That workgroup would return its findings and
recommendations to the BFI Committee for consideration and
recommendation to the full Board of Trustees.
Please forward to me issues for consideration by the Committee at its
November meeting. Include contact information in case there are any
questions and so I may notify you of subsequent steps in the process. I
would appreciate receiving requests no later than Monday, November 19.
If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you.
J. Michael Gower
J. Michael Gower
Vice President for Finance & Administration
University of Vermont
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