SRI Proxy Voting Principles
In keeping with the College’s Triple Bottom Line approach to financial sustainability, the Dickinson College SRI Discussion Group aims to promote shareholder engagement and socially responsible investment choices. Part of this responsibility involves taking an active role in the proxy voting process for companies in which the College is directly invested. Over the past two years, the group has researched how the proxy voting process works and looked into the policies and actions of other schools.
Background and Progress
Beginning in spring 2009, the group became actively involved in the process using the information gained during this research process. Throughout the semester, members obtained and studied the ballot for Google Inc., and pondered the proposals that were to be voted on during the annual shareholder meeting. The two main issues involved the company’s censorship policies and their employee healthcare benefits. Due to the varied backgrounds of the students and staff on the committee, it was a multifaceted and very engaging debate. Members also reviewed the items with representatives from the investment firm who managed the directly invested funds. After several conversations, the group decided to align with all of management's suggestions. The members created a presentation to reflect the decisions that were made regarding each individual issue and made recommendations to the asset manager on behalf of the College.
Following asset re-allocations in spring 2009, the College’s only directly invested equity portfolio was closed and funds were moved into mutual fund investments. As a result, the entire pooled endowment is now invested in mutual funds. Of the remaining non-pooled assets (deferred gifts, other endowment funds, funds held in trust by others,and pledges receivable), all are held in mutual funds, pooled fund investments or real estate, with the exception of pledges receivable.