Friday, April 20 2001
Reed College, Gray Campus Center -
The Reed Coalition for Responsible Investment held a silent protest today as the Trustee Investment Board met to discuss the college's investment strategies. The Coalition is fighting against Reed's investment in three corporations which they view as contrary to responsible social and environmental management, Citigroup, Shell Dutch Oil, and Phillip Morris. The silent protest, involving around 50 Reedies dressed in black and bearing stickers reading "Responsible Investment for Reed" took place in a hallway directly outside the Trustee meeting room, effectively forcing many trustees to walk the gauntlet of protestors in order to reach the meeting.
In a comprehensive plan for divestment of socially irresponsible investments presented to the trustee board, the RCRI addressed the problem of financial concerns of the college:
"We understand the College's concerns regarding financial returns and the maintenance of 'institutional political neutrality'. However, Reed's capital ownership in firms that externalize costs exposes Reed's endowment to unnecessary risks for the sake of short-term gains. Alternatively, reinvestment in socially responsible firms could improve the college's long-term financial outlook by eliminating these risks. Furthermore, given the ambiguous boundaries between politics and business in the global market, political neutrality is clearly impossible in any investment. The college must recognize that 'politically neutral' actions such as choosing not to vote on shareholder resolutions mean that we are actively voting against such resolutions, and are therefore responsible for the political implications of these corporate decisions."
Further action against Reed's investment policies are planned, pending the decision of the board on whether to meet the demands of the group. More information on the Reed Coalition for Responsible Investment is available through Sarah Klain ( firstname.lastname@example.org).