The Undergraduate Council of Students announced an open position for the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies in an email to undergraduate students Sept. 12. The vacant position is for undergraduates, but the committee as a whole comprises faculty, staff, graduates, undergraduates and alums, said UCS President Chelse-Amoy Steele ’18.
The committee is searching for “someone who is interested in contributing to the Brown community. They don’t need to have any specific technical knowledge of investing or of any specific social issue, but it helps if they’re a person who feels passionate about social good,” said Katie Silberman, interim chair of the committee.
Furthermore, Silberman emphasized the time commitment for the vacant position in the committee, and said that attendance, voting and participation in discussion are required.
ACCRIP “is a place where any member of the community can come and bring suggestions for how the University can best align its values with its investing,” Silberman said. She added that the committee values members who are willing to speak up when they feel the University’s investment choices are causing social harm.
“I’ve served on many committees before, and this one has a little bit more of a global influence on Brown,” said Chi-Ming Hai, professor of medical science. He joined ACCRIP this year and is one of three professors currently sitting on the committee. Hai said he valued the broad impacts that the committee’s decisions could make. ACCRIP advises on corporate responsibility topics such as what the University’s financial stake should be in industries such as fossil fuels and coal. It also engaged in a two year dialogue with Students for Justice in Palestine about the University’s investments in Israeli companies.
ACCRIP has also played a role in the divestment debate on campus. The committee has recognized that the University’s financial stake in fossil fuels has a potential for “grave social harm,” and recommended the University establish a Climate Investment Task Force to look into the University’s options “for bringing Brown’s investments in line with its intellectual and social commitment to environmental sustainability.”
The committee also recommended that the University increase the visibility of the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund, which focuses on sustainable investing that aligns with environmental, social and regulatory standards in order to garner more donations. The BUSIF offers donors the option to have donations invested in companies that “meet high standards of environmental, social and governance practices,” according to a January 2016 University press release.
The University has not divested from all environmentally damaging companies as of now, but discussion around divestment has ramped up this year with President Christina Paxson’s P’19 establishment of a climate change task force, Silberman said.