October 2007


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"J. Michael Gower" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:17:05 -0400
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:


    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.

Thank you.

J. Michael Gower

J. Michael Gower
Vice President for Finance & Administration
University Treasurer
University of Vermont
(802)304-1069 Fax
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