Response to Social Choice Fund Announcement

HARVARD STUDENTS CELEBRATE CREATION OF SOCIAL CHOICE FUND

Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition Commits to Press On

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, December 15, 2012
Contact: Krishna Dasaratha, dasaratha@college.harvard.edu, 703-589-8568

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Harvard University will create a Social Choice Fund as an option for alumni donors by July 2013, the Harvard Gazette reported this morning.

This announcement follows a year-long campaign led by the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition advocating for the creation of a socially and environmentally responsible alternative for the $30.7 billion endowment. The growing group of students and alumni wants Harvard to become the leading responsible university endowment.

Last spring, it raised money from more than 400 people in less than 10 weeks for the Fair Harvard Fund, which the group describes as a monetary petition in support of a Social Choice Fund.

Harvard College junior Sam Wohns said, “We are thrilled that President Faust and Ms. Mendillo have agreed to create a historic, first of its kind Social Choice Fund with no minimum donation size. It’s an important first step on Harvard’s path toward becoming a socially and environmentally responsible, transparent, and accountable investor, and aligning the principles that guide our investment strategy with those that guide our research and education activities.”

Students know there is more work to do, however.

“It is important that Harvard presents the SCF as an option to donors whenever they solicit donations,” Harvard Kennedy School student Alexi White said. “It’s also essential that the SCF be managed transparently, so that the Harvard community can ensure that it remains true to its mission. We have an opportunity to inspire schools across the country to follow our example.  ”

“On behalf of the thousands of students, alumni, professors, and workers who have joined our movement in the last year, we look forward to meeting with the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility early next semester to discuss the details of the Fund,” Harvard College freshman Lindsey Claussaid. “At that point, we will determine whether the SCF meets the criteria for handing over the Fair Harvard Fund.”

 

HARVARD CONSIDERING CREATING A SOCIAL CHOICE FUND

CAMBRIDGE, MA, December 6, 2012—Yesterday, the Harvard Crimson reported that President Faust has asked the Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest governing body, to consider accepting the Fair Harvard Fund by creating a Social Choice Fund as an option for alumni donors within the endowment.

Members of the Corporation will meet with student advocates next semester to discuss their proposals.

“It is high time that the Harvard Management Company live up to our community’s high expectations of principled leadership and long-term sustainability, ” Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition Co-Coordinator and Harvard junior Sam Wohns said.

“We look forward to meeting with the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility in January on behalf of the thousands of students, alumni, professors, and workers who want our endowment to become transparent, accountable, and socially and environmentally responsible,” Wohns said.