Regents statement regarding divestmentMarch 28, 2024 meeting

Regent Hubbard:

The Finance, Audit and Investment Committee met to consider a variety of topics, including recent communications from students and faculty groups.

The Board of Regents has heard multiple calls for divestment from our endowment of companies linked to Israel. We have listened carefully.

The University’s governing board and officers have a fiduciary responsibility to protect our assets for the long term so that we may leave to succeeding generations a university at least as strong as the one with which we have entrusted. 

The primary purpose of the university endowment is to generate the greatest possible income, subject to the appropriate amount of investment risk, in support of the university’s mission. Our endowment supports numerous scholarships for needy students and drives groundbreaking research across the university and world.

Careful stewardship of the endowment is critical to sustaining academic excellence because the endowment itself provides a perpetual source of income through distributions – over 90 percent of which last year supported the critical needs of the university.

It is important that the university maintain an investment portfolio diversified across a full range of entities. To do otherwise would be to increase our investment risk and decrease our investment returns.

Our investment approach has been underscored consistently by university leaders, including the Board of Regents, most recently in 2015 and in 2017.

We must always consider the impact our decisions might have on students, faculty and staff – we do not make this decision lightly.

Together, we must work to address the most complex challenges of our time. We do this through active engagement with one another and with researchers in countries around the world.

After deliberation, we have decided to stand by our longstanding policy. We will continue to shield the endowment from political pressures and base our investment decisions on financial factors such as risk and return. 

Regent Behm:

We are not moving to make any divestment of any kind from the university endowment.

We receive a lot of correspondence and many times there was a comment made that the endowment was invested in companies from the state our country of Israel. We’ve asked the endowment managers. The endowment has no direct investment in any Israeli company. What we do have are funds that one of those companies may be part of a fund. Another statement that was made was that 6 billion dollars or roughly one third of our endowment is invested in these Israeli companies. I asked the endowment team about that and, in actuality, less than 1/10 of one percent of the endowment is invested indirectly in such companies.