Endowment growth and full disclosure aren’t mutually exclusive

To the Editor:

The News’ View on the issue of transparency in Yale’s investments (“Keep investment strategy private, ethics public,” 11/18) does not promote the ethical investment strategy one would expect from a leading university. Yale has a responsibility to make sure that our endowment doesn’t harm communities or the environment. Our education should not come at the expense of others. Through the Unfarallon Coalition’s Web site, www.unfarallon.info, we can see the effects of Yale’s investments on the world through their largest fund manager, Farallon Capital Management.

The growth of the endowment is very important to our community, but transparency, ethical investing and growth are not mutually exclusive, as the News’ View seems to believe. The S&P 500 managed a 17.1 percent return last year with full disclosure.

Further, an open forum with students about Yale’s endowment, how the social and environmental costs of Yale’s investments are weighed, and disclosure of the investment managers used by the endowment need not destroy Yale’s competitive advantage. A coalition of faculty, students and alumni concerned about Yale’s social responsibilities and Yale’s investments can collaborate effectively in guiding the endowment to sustainable growth for Yale and for the various communities touched by our endowment.

Sam Landenwitsch ’06

Nov. 29, 2004

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