These actions have been based on recommendations from the body that advises the president on these matters, formerly the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Practices (ACCRIP), now established as the Advisory Committee on University Resources Management (ACURM).
HEI Hotels and Resorts
On December 6, 2010, ACCRIP unanimously recommended to the president and the Corporation of Brown University that Brown should not reinvest in HEI Hotels and Resorts in the future. In reaching its decision, ACCRIP thoroughly and diligently considered pertinent materials submitted by the Investment Office, the Brown Student Labor Alliance and HEI, including the record of settlements mediated by the National Relations Board in which HEI agreed to post notices at the affected hotels and, in one case, to reinstate a dismissed worker who had been involved in the unionization movement without, nonetheless, as a condition for the settlements, admitting to any violation of the National Labor Relations Act. After thoughtful deliberations, ACCRIP concluded that while HEI had not been found guilty of violations of the labor code, a persistent pattern of allegations involving the company's treatment of workers and interference with their efforts to unionize, combined with repeated settlements, as described above, raised serious questions whether Brown's continued association with HEI would be consistent with the ethical principles governing the university's investments. ACCRIP recommended, therefore, that Brown University should refrain from reinvesting in HEI until the Corporation is confident that HEI adheres to our high standards regarding respectful and humane treatment of workers, and that workers at HEI-operated hotels are able to seek union representation without fear of intimidation. The committee also recommended that before making any decision to reinvest, the administration, with the assistance of ACCRIP, should carefully consider current matters relating to HEI in order to reach an informed judgment about labor/management relations and work conditions at HEI-operated properties.
Sudan and Darfur
On Feb. 25, 2006, the Brown Corporation, on a recommendation from ACCRIP, took a final vote to divest its investments from companies whose business activities can be shown to be supporting and facilitating the Sudanese government in its continuing sponsorship of genocidal actions and human rights violations in Darfur. The original resolution stated that the Corporation should exclude from Brown University’s direct investments, and require the University’s separate account investment managers to exclude from their direct investments, a group of eight companies. The list was further amended several times to include other companies considered to be in violation of those standards.
In September 2012, the Corporation approved the use of the Conflict Risk Network (CRN) targeted divestment approach as a replacement for the previously instituted list of excluded companies. CRN’s process, employing continuous research and engagement, provides an informed and dynamic approach to keeping Brown’s divestment list current. CRN’s suggested methodology is a widely accepted standard for implementing a targeted Sudan divestment program. The current divestment list now will include any company that CRN defines as “scrutinized,” a term used to identify the worst offenders in the region.
Learn more by reading Brown’s news release, Brown Votes to Divest from Sudan in Response to Genocide, from February 2006.
Also from the Brown Daily Herald: Divestment from Sudan, 1 Year Later
At its May 7, 2003 meeting, ACCRIP unanimously adopted the following recommendation:
We recommend that the Brown Corporation exclude from Brown's direct investments, and require Brown's separate account investment managers to exclude from their direct investments, those companies that manufacture tobacco products, and that the Investment Office share with all investment managers the University's desire to adhere to this investment philosophy. To give investment managers guidance, we recommend they consult with the company list compiled by Investor Responsibility Research Center.
On September 12, 2003, the Brown Corporation voted in agreement with the ACCRIP recommendation to divest the University's investments from companies dealing in tobacco.