Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hampshire College Divestment "Clarification"

It was to be expected they would strenuously differentiate between Israel itself (hunky dory) and the occupation (not so much), but to not even mention Israel or Palestinians or occupation at all in their statement seems a bit rich...


-----Original Message-----
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 7:12 pm
Subject: Hampshire College Board of Trustees investment decisions of
February 7, 2009

Dear alums, parents, and friends,

There has been some inaccurate publicity surrounding an investment decision made by the board of trustees on February 7, 2009. In anticipation of questions you may have, I send the following statement to explain what actually took place:

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 100 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 100-plus companies engaged in multiple violations of the college's investment policy; the decision expressly did not pertain to a political movement or single out businesses active in a specific region or country.

No other report or interpretation of the actions of February 7, 2009 by the Hampshire College board of trustees is accurate.

Please get in touch with me if you have questions. Thank

Killara Burn
Director of Alumni and Family Relations
893 West Street
Amherst Mass 01002
T: 413.559.5316

F: 413.559.6764