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Correction of Misinformation Regarding Trustees'’ Actions on College Investments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Statement of Clarification from Sigmund Roos (73F), chair of the board of trustees, Ralph Hexter, president, and Aaron Berman, vice president and dean of faculty, regarding trustees' actions on college investments

We write to correct numerous reports circulating about actions taken by the Hampshire College board of trustees on February 7, 2009.  The facts are as follows:

  • On February 7, 2009, the Hampshire College board of trustees accepted the report of its investment committee, which earlier had voted, without reference to any country or political movement, to transfer assets held in a State Street fund to another fund.
  • Based on a comprehensive review of the fund by the trustee investment committee, administrators and an outside consultant, the college found that this fund held stocks in well over 200 companies engaged in business practices that violate the college's policy on socially responsible investments.  These violations include: unfair labor practices, environmental abuse, military weapons manufacturing, and unsafe workplace settings.
  • The review also led the board of trustees to vote to revise its 1994 socially responsible investment policy to bring it up-to-date with current standards and practices, and, pending revision, to suspend that policy.
  • The review of the State Street fund was undertaken at the request of a sub-committee of the investment committee, to address a petition from a student group, Students for Justice in Palestine. The investment committee's decision, however, was based on the consultant's finding that the State Street fund included 200-plus companies engaged in multiple violations of the college's investment policy; it did not pertain to a political movement and it was not made in reference to Israel.
  • No other report or interpretation of the actions of February 7, 2009 by the Hampshire College board of trustees is accurate.

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