Spring 2013 Administrative Correspondence

February 20, 2013
From: Carl Sgreeci
To: The Environmental Leadership and Actions Network

Kathleen, I want to take this opportunity to follow up on our correspondence below in which we had indicated the Investment Committee of the College’s Board of Trustees was going to be taking up the issue of divestment from the fossil fuel industry at future meetings. The committee has spent considerable time discussing the issue at meetings in December and again last week. The following statement summarizes the position the Investment Committee has taken and which has been shared with the full Board of Trustees.

Statement from the Investment Committee Re: Divestment of investments in the fossil fuel industry.
The IC Board of Trustees appreciates the commitment to a sustainable energy future shown by the members of ELAN.  In that light, the Investment Committee of the Board has reviewed the demands by ELAN members that the IC endowment be altered to ensure that no college funds are invested in a list of companies identified by ELAN as involved in the fossil fuel industry.  After review, the Investment Committee has determined that it is not possible for IC to identify individual companies for exclusion from within large and diversified pooled investment funds.  We therefore cannot certify that no IC funds are invested in the companies named by ELAN.  The Investment Committee learned that at present less than one percent of the IC endowment is invested in the companies named by ELAN.  The Investment Committee determined that it will not in the foreseeable future commit IC endowment funds to any investment vehicle that focuses on investments in the fossil fuel industry.   The Investment Committee will in the future explore the possibility of opening a channel for future investment that follows the principles of socially responsible investing.

If you have any questions about the statement, let me know and I will do my best to address them.

Carl

______________________________________

March 4, 2013
From: The Environmental Leadership and Actions Network
To: Carl Sgreeci

Mr. Sgrecci,

We appreciate the time you, the Board of Trustees and the Investment Committee have taken to respond to Divest Ithaca College’s initiative. Divestment is a tangible opportunity for our entire community to ensure the perpetuity of our institution and environment. With this in mind, we would like to express our excitement and solidarity with your announcement that “The Investment Committee determined that it will not in the foreseeable future commit IC endowment funds to any investment vehicle that focuses on investments in the fossil fuel industry.”

However, in the interest of transparency and with the hope of continuing the conversation surrounding divestment, we would like to request a meeting with yourself, Nancy Pringle, and a representative from the investment committee of the Board of Trustees. While we see that it is a step in the right direction, the statement from the board needs further clarity in order to maximize our institution’s role as an agent of change within the rapidly evolving energy economy. Once again, as reiterated by DivestIC and our alumni coalition, we are calling on you to “freeze any new investments in the fossil fuel industry.” We do not want to lose sight of the potential that Ithaca College possesses to be a leader in the movement for widespread institutional integrity.

We would like to meet with you the week following spring break, March 18th – March 22nd, and are looking forward to making even more positive strides together.

Thank you,
Kathleen Pongrace

______________________________________

March 5, 2013
From: Carl Sgreeci
To: The Environmental Leadership and Actions Network

Kathleen, we have been completely transparent about this issue. As previously explained, the College’s Endowment portfolio uses pooled funds as its primary investment vehicles. As such we are only one of many investors that have money invested in any one of the funds and we do not control what companies each pooled fund manager buys and sells. Those that manage the funds are changing the specific investments regularly and therefore there will probably always be a small percentage of our total portfolio invested in  companies in the fossil fuel industry. What the Investment Committee of the Board has committed to is not investing in any pooled fund that invests exclusively in companies involved in the fossil fuel industry. The Investment Committee spent considerable time examining this issue and feels this posture is a reasonable and prudent step to take. We understand and respect your position and I think you understand ours.  Therefore we do not see the benefits of further conversations on the topic.

Carl

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2 thoughts on “Spring 2013 Administrative Correspondence

  1. Pingback: With Solidarity | Divest IC

  2. Pingback: Administrative Correspondence: Rally to DivestIC! | Divest IC

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