SBP should address UNC’s endowment issues

TO THE EDITOR:
UNC doesn’t want students meddling with its hefty $2.2 billion endowment. Students have rallied in the past for UNC to be a responsible investor and move its money out of companies at odds with our University’s mission. Administrators resort to saying that the endowment’s only job is to maximize returns, yet taking environmental, social and governance factors into account actually improves overall returns by eliminating risky investments.

Former Student Body President Eve Carson told the Board of Trustees that UNC’s endowment should “put our money where our mouth is” on sustainability, and she decided to set up a special projects committee on sustainable endowments through Student Government.
Since then, student body presidents at UNC have generally mentioned the endowment and transparency in their platforms, but failed to follow through in terms of real results.

Our rivals at Duke University have had an Investment Responsibility Advisory Committee with student representation since 2004. It’s now 2012, and there is still no bridge at UNC between legitimate student concerns and the endowment.

Student body presidents are the only students on campus with easy access to UNC’s top administrators and a voice on the Board of Trustees.

UNC has an institutional mission “of leading change to improve society and to help solve the world’s greatest problems.” UNC’s investments cannot continue to be the exception to that rule, and — regardless of Tuesday’s winner — future student body presidents should commit to addressing these endowment issues.

Stewart Boss
Coordinator, UNC Sierra Student Coalition

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