Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed January 21, 1997
Contact: Mark Nickel

Socially responsible investments

Brown to reactivate committee on investor responsibility issues

Brown University will reactivate a faculty-student-alumni committee to consider issues of investor responsibility as they affect the University's investment policies and practices. The committee will provide information to Brown Corporation, which is responsible for the University's assets, including an $850-million endowment.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown President Vartan Gregorian announced today (Tuesday, Jan. 21, 1997) that the University will reactivate a committee of faculty, students and alumni to consider issues of investor responsibility. The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investing was established by the University in 1978 to study issues of investment in companies that were doing business in South Africa while the apartheid system was still in force.

Gregorian also announced that the University will renew its relationship with the Investor Responsibility Research Center of Washington, D.C., an independent research and advisory firm that informs portfolio managers about corporate policies and practices concerning the environment, human rights and other issues of social responsibility.

"In the past, Brown University took seriously the moral and social responsibilities that attended its investments and established an investment advisory panel of faculty, students and alumni," Gregorian said. "That advisory panel provided a forum for research and reasoned discussion that helped inform Brown's investment managers about campus concerns. Today, with an increasingly complex international economy and instantaneous global communications, investment managers have a correspondingly greater need for the information and analysis such an advisory panel can provide."

The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investing will consist of three faculty members, four students (two undergraduates, one student each from the medical and graduate schools) and three alumni. The faculty and student representatives will be chosen by the appropriate governing organizations; Gregorian will appoint the alumni members. The committee will have access to information furnished by the Investor Responsibility Research Center and will be assisted by a staff member assigned by Donald J. Reaves, senior vice president for finance and administration.

The Corporation of Brown University has fiduciary responsibility for the University's assets including the endowment, currently valued at more than $850 million. It exercises its oversight of financial managers and certain direct investments through a standing Corporation Committee on Investment. A Committee on Proxy Issues (a subcommittee of the Investment Committee) considers issues of shareholder responsibility and advises the Investment Committee about proxy resolutions. The Committee on Proxy issues will be the direct point of contact between the Corporation and the advisory committee of faculty, students and alumni announced today by Gregorian.