WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (February 14-20, 2011)

ETHICAL INVESTING

Brown halts new investments in HEI.” By Alison Griswold. Yale Daily News. February 16, 2011. Brown University will not invest new funds in the controversial HEI Hotels & Resorts chain — an ethical shift in its investment policy that could make the university a leader among its peers. Brown and Yale have come under fire for their investments in HEI, which has been accused of mistreating its workers and interfering with their efforts to unionize. In a Thursday night e-mail to members of the Brown Student Labor Alliance, Brown University President Ruth Simmons wrote that the university will not invest further in HEI on the recommendation of Brown’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsiblity in Investment Policy. But an official on Yale’s version of the investment committee said the University will not necessarily follow suit. Informed of Brown’s decision by the News on Tuesday, Jonathan Macey, the chair of Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, said Yale is unlikely to make a similar policy change without “additional meaningful facts.” “Either Brown has information that we don’t have, or I find this to be an extremely perplexing development about what it takes to influence Brown’s decisions,” Macey said. While Brown will not invest further in HEI, the university’s current holdings in the company are not affected, HEI Senior Vice President for Human Resources Nigel Hurst said. Yale will keep its stake in HEI for now, Macey said, as the University considers the reasons behind Brown’s decision. Yale will not automatically adopt Brown’s plan or divest from HEI, he said, adding that the University should evaluate the companies in which it invests equally and avoid singling out HEI. Brown has led other universities in reevaluating the hotel company in response to public outcry. Activists praised Simmons last March after she wrote HEI a letter outlining concerns about the company’s alleged harassment and intimidation of workers trying to unionize.

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