You may not realize it, but you are one of the most important stakeholders in this University, its mechanisms and, most crucially, its future. Without its students, this University is nothing more than a cluster of empty buildings with blank blackboards and vacant seats. This is why we, along with other University community members, have as much right to a voice in the function of our school as the administration does.

The current means for expressing students’ questions and concerns, such as the Students’ Association (SA) Senate, are sufficient when discussing issues such as amending the Gold Line schedule or the status of Greek life on campus —­­ both of which are absolutely legitimate, don’t get me wrong. However, where can students turn when questioning the framework of our University’s endowment?

Our University currently has a $1.7 billion endowment, which, under the management of the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee and University investment office, is  entrusted to a multitude of private investment firms who then subsequently ship our money to an unknown number of private companies and corporations with the full expectation that our investment will result in a bigger endowment.
Although the investment process is complex, what’s easy to understand is that the University’s most important stakeholders — the students — have no say in where money should and/or shouldn’t be invested. Currently, UR is invested in multiple weapons manufacturers and war profiteers (Raytheon, General Dynamics, etc), environmentally irresponsible and destructive oil companies (Chevron, Exxon Mobil, etc.) and many other companies formally deemed socially irresponsible by the United Nations and Amnesty International (Monsanto, JP Morgan Chase, etc.).

While clearly the investment office and administration believe the financial benefits from these investments outweigh the tremendous social, political and environmental costs, what do the students think?

Our investments carry much bigger implications than simple financial gains. We must acquire a voice in determining where our money goes.

We demand, if nothing else, the a means for voicing our thoughts, opinions and indignation.

The only way that we can truly have a voice in UR’s investments is  if we establish a peaceful and socially responsible investment committee (PSRI) at UR. Just look to Stanford University and New York University to see how a committee of students, faculty and staff with genuine influence and sometimes even veto power can affect the global scale implications of large institutional investments.

Bruckenthal is a member of the class of 2013.

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