Resolution regarding divestment

Central Student Government at the University of Michigan approved a resolution Nov. 15, asking the university to appoint a committee to consider divesting from certain companies that do business with Israel.

Statement from several U-M board members re CSG vote on resolution A.R.7-019 (12/14/17)

We appreciate student activism regarding issues of consequence in our society. The University of Michigan Central Student Government recently approved a resolution (A.R. 7-019) calling for the appointment of a committee to investigate divestment from certain companies alleged to violate human rights in the Middle East. After careful consideration of this resolution, we decline to do so. More broadly, we strongly oppose any action involving the boycott, divestment or sanction of Israel.

We must consider the broad landscape of university stakeholders including all students, our faculty, staff, alumni and the citizens of the State of Michigan.

We remain committed to the university’s longstanding policy to shield the endowment from political pressures.

Most importantly, our university has long been a community that seeks to study and improve the human condition through our research and scholarship. We work together to better understand the most complex challenges we face on campus and beyond. We do this work through active engagement in the world around us. To boycott, divest or sanction Israel offends these bedrock values of our great university.

Regent Michael J. Behm
Regent Mark J. Bernstein
Regent Denise Ilitch
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman
Regent Andrew C. Richner
Regent Ron Weiser

The university has provided this response on Nov. 15, 2017:

We appreciate hearing from students.

The primary purpose of university investments (through the endowment) is to generate the greatest possible income, subject to the appropriate amount of investment risk, in support of the university’s missions of teaching, research, patient care and service.

The university also has an important commitment to each donor to invest their endowment gift with the goal of providing the most resources possible for the purpose they agreed to support.

To accomplish these goals, it is important that the university maintain an investment portfolio diversified across a full range of legally recognized entities. To do otherwise would be to increase our investment risk and decrease our investment returns.

For this reason, the university’s longstanding policy is to shield the endowment from political pressures and to base our investment decisions solely on financial factors such as risk and return.

This approach has been underscored consistently by university leaders, including the Board of Regents, most recently in December 2015. We do not anticipate a change in this approach or the creation of a committee.