Group charged with considering social impact of JHU investments announces guidelines

At the end of last year, the university reconvened the Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee to consider social issues related to corporations in which the university's endowment is separately invested.

That group of faculty, staff, and students has now established a framework for its operations and guidelines for members of the university community to submit proposals. More information is available on the committee's website.

The committee, chaired by Jon Faust, a professor of economics in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss proposals and, when appropriate, make recommendations to university leadership and the Board of Trustees. Previously, concerns from the university community led to the divestment of funds from companies doing business in South Africa in the 1980s and from tobacco companies in the 1990s.

In a message today, Provost Robert C. Lieberman and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Daniel G. Ennis encouraged students, faculty, and staff to learn more about the committee's purpose and procedures.

"We extend our gratitude to the committee members for serving in this important capacity," they said.

The committee was reconvened when the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees reaffirmed its position on responsibility regarding separately invested endowments. The board stated: "The primary fiduciary responsibility of the University trustees in investing and managing the University's endowment is to maximize the financial return on those resources, taking into account the amount of risk appropriate for University investment policy. If the trustees adjudge that corporate policies or practices cause substantial social impact, they, as responsible and ethical investors, shall give independent weight to this factor in their investment policies and implementation."

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