The Advisory Committee on University Resources Management (ACURM) is an advisory body to the President of the University. ACURM is responsible for reviewing whether the investment and expenditure of the University’s financial resources is conducted with ethical and moral standards consistent with the University’s mission and values. As part of this responsibility, ACURM will offer advice to the President on how the university should manage these financial resources.
Brown has an obligation to prudently manage its business and investments operations to support and sustain the University’s mission of teaching and research in the service of society, within a community devoted to academic freedom and respect for human dignity. Issues of social responsibility should inform investment, spending and fundraising decisions.
ACURM is responsible for considering issues related to social responsibility with respect to:
- The Brown endowment.
- Business practices and policies.
- Labor issues, including fair labor standards, in the manufacture of products licensed by the University and bearing the University’s name and/or logo.
- Gift acceptance and naming policies.
- Other matters related to the investment and expenditure of University financial resources.
ACURM advises the President, to whom it may make recommendations relating to matters properly within its charge and consistent with the general guidelines for operations below, and will regularly report on its activities to the University community.
- ACURM may consider requests by any member of the University community to examine allegations of “social harm” with respect to the investment or expenditure of University financial resources. Social harm is defined for the purposes of ACURM as the harmful impact that the investment or expenditure of University financial resources may have on the University community, consumers, employees, or other persons, or on the human or natural environment.
- ACURM is not obligated to consider all requests brought forward by the community, but it should do so when a committee member advances such a request or when there is considerable, thoughtful and sustained interest on an issue that is core to the University’s values. In keeping with section (n), ACURM shall maintain records of such requests.
- In considering such a request, ACURM will carefully balance the gravity of the social harm, the potential effectiveness of various means of influencing relevant policy or conduct, the University’s need to maintain a sound financial policy, and the consistency of various proposed recommendations with the maintenance of an environment at Brown conducive to teaching and scholarly inquiry, including the Corporation Statement on Academic Freedom for Faculty and Students. ACURM shall not recommend any action that advances a position on social or political questions unrelated to the investment or expenditure of University financial resources under consideration. ACURM should be mindful that partisan political advocacy is not consistent with either Brown’s commitment to academic freedom or its status as a 501c(3) corporation
- ACURM may recommend one or more of the following actions if it deems an investment or expenditure of University financial resources raises a significant question of “social harm” (as defined above):
- that letters of inquiry and/or protest be directed to the party(ies) involved, expressing the University’s concerns and requesting further information, and that (in appropriate cases) such letters establish specific terms and deadlines for the correction of the social harm involved and suggest that the University might refrain and/or divest from the investment or expenditure if these terms are not met;
- that the University make its views on these issues known to the public;
- that, in the circumstance of a proxy resolution, a representative of the University appear at the shareholders’ meeting where a proxy is to be voted and present on behalf of the University its views on the issue;
- that the University cooperate with other interested groups and institutions to exert additional pressure upon the party(ies) involved to correct the social harm;
- that the University pursue any other measures the Committee deems likely to be constructive; and
- in the circumstance of investments held by the University in public companies, recommend divestiture or appropriate guidance to investment managers when such actions will likely have a positive impact toward correcting the specified social harm, or when the company or industry in question contributes to social harm so grave that it would be inconsistent with the goals and principles of the University to accept funds from that source.
- Members of the University community may make requests to ACURM to consider matters relevant to its charge in writing to the Committee chair. Written requests should clearly identify the issue(s) requested to be considered; any requested action(s) to be considered; and include documentation that substantiates the claims and recommendation included in the request. Individuals or groups making such requests will normally meet with the chair of the Committee in advance of a presentation to ACURM.
- ACURM’s recommendations shall be based on careful and thorough review of the issue(s) under consideration, including executive sessions as needed held before any final vote to provide committee members opportunity for full and candid discussion.
- ACURM’s recommendations should state clearly the basis for the recommendations as it relates to the principles in this charge.
- ACURM’s recommendations will be forwarded to the President, with a copy provided to the FEC.
- ACURM will conduct open meetings, except when the Committee specifically votes that they should be closed. Committee members may participate in decisions by their presence at meetings or by participation via live or recorded telephone or video conferencing of meetings. The committee shall create rules to ensure that voting members are conversant with the discussion of matters under consideration or otherwise refrain from voting. Committee members shall receive prior notification of their eligibility to vote.
- Minutes of all non-confidential meetings will be maintained and made available to the University community
- ACURM shall consider accepted petitions in a timely fashion. If no resolution is achieved within one calendar year from the acceptance of a petition, the committee will make available an interim report on the Committee’s website and will do so as needed on each such subsequent anniversary.
- ACURM shall regularly host confidential information sessions from relevant departments of the University, including but not limited to Advancement, Purchasing, the Investment Office, Human Resources, and the Office of Sustainability, to better inform the committee’s decision making.
- ACURM shall develop a set of by-laws regulating details of its procedures and operations, which may be re-visited as circumstances warrant and which will be made available to the University community.
- ACURM shall report annually to the University community on its actions by posting copies of all petitions it receives and recommendations it makes on the Committee’s website. ACURM shall also prepare an annual report to the President that will be made public.
- The Committee shall develop guidelines for voting on proxy resolutions and from time to time, as appropriate, amend these guidelines. The guidelines and any amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Brown Corporation. Guidelines shall be posted on the ACURM website.
- The Investment Office will be responsible for voting proxies in a way that is consistent with the guidelines. If a particular proposal is not covered by the guidelines, that proposal shall be considered by the Committee. If the Committee recommends voting against the proposal, that vote will be cast. If the Committee recommends voting in favor of a proposal or abstaining from a vote, that recommendation will be sent to the President for review and action by an appropriate committee of senior officers of the administration.
- ACURM shall not recommend action on any proxy resolution or other aspect of investment that advances a position on social or political questions unrelated to the conduct of the company’s business or the disposition of its assets.
- Membership of the Committee shall represent the diversity of perspectives and views of the University community, and shall include sufficient expertise on matters of relevance to the Committee’s charge, such as social responsible investment, the University’s business and financial practices, and fiduciary responsibilities.
- The membership of the Committee shall include:
- Three faculty members to be elected by faculty. Faculty shall serve staggered three-year terms. Candidates for each position are recommended for appointment by the faculty by the Committee on Nominations with advice from the President. Individuals may serve no more than two successive terms.
- Two staff representatives selected by the Staff Advisory Council with advice from the President. Staff members shall serve staggered three-year terms. Staff of the Investment Office shall not serve as voting members of the Committee.
- Three student representatives — two undergraduates and one graduate; selected by the Undergraduate Student Council (UCS) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC), respectively. Term of office will be determined by the selecting body.
- Three alumni representatives to be chosen by the Brown Alumni Association with advice from the President. Alumni representatives shall serve staggered three-year terms.
- One non-voting member appointed by the President from the Office of the President. The Office of the President will provide staff support to the committee for purposes including but not limited to minute keeping and meeting organization.
- One or more members of Brown’s Investment Office, Procurement Office, Division of Advancement, or other relevant business unit will be invited to attend meetings as pertinent to matters under discussion in a non-voting capacity. These members will be selected in consultation with the President.
- ACURM may invite other members of the community to join the committee as non-voting members during discussions of issues on which they have expertise
- The President’s Office will supply a research assistant to support ACURM’s work.
- A faculty member of the Committee shall serve as Chair, elected annually by the members of the Committee.