Waiting for Swensen

It was not your average sit-in. Yale Police Department Chief James Perrotti, several raw parsnips and a California hotel worker converged outside the Yale Investments Office on Tuesday morning.

To protest Yale’s investment in what they say are ethically questionable firms, about 20 students from the Undergraduate Organizing Committee led a four-hour sit-in of the Yale Investments Office on Tuesday. Yale Investments Office officials, who called in half a dozen police officers after the students refused to leave, declined to talk to the UOC members. The protestors left the 55 Whitney Ave. building at 1:45 p.m. without a meeting, though they maintained the event had been a success.

Members of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee participate in a sit-in at the Yale Investments Office at 55 Whitney Ave.
Nick Bayless
Members of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee participate in a sit-in at the Yale Investments Office at 55 Whitney Ave.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the students’ concerns had already been heard at a meeting of the University’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. The committee meets regularly to hear concerns and advise action on the University’s investments.

“It’s the proper forum for students and others to raise concerns regarding investment policy,” Conroy said in an e-mail.

UOC members said Tuesday that they were not satisfied with the outcome of their meeting with the ACIR.

The idea to request a meeting with the Investment Office first surfaced late Monday night during a brief UOC meeting. UOC students then called other members to meet at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Church and Grove streets before heading to the Yale Investments Office. Their aim: To meet with investment officials and persuade them to support better working conditions for workers at the HEI Hotels and Resorts, one of Yale’s investments. After the meeting was refused, the gathering turned into an unplanned sit-in.

“The working conditions of the hotel are terrible,” Hans Schoenburg ’11 said. “Yale has the power to do something about it and should.”

Joining the students in the elevator bank lobby on the fifth floor was Jose Landino, a California hotel worker who, at a kickoff panel for the Responsible Endowment Project on Monday night, said he and his coworkers are mistreated by HEI.

At about 9:40 a.m., students were met by Investments Office Senior Financial Analyst Alex Hetherington ’06 outside the fifth floor office. But Hetherington said he could not discuss Yale’s investments and advised the students to meet with the ACIR instead.

After telling the students at 10:15 a.m. he would call the police if they did not leave, Hetherington returned to his office, and about five students departed from 55 Whitney.

Five minutes later, two YPD officers arrived, but the remaining students stayed in their positions in the fifth-floor lobby.

“We swore to stay here until someone sees us or officially tells us to leave,” Timmia Hearn Feldman ’12, the designated UOC spokeswoman for the sit-in, said at the time.

By noon, the two Yale police officers stationed in the lobby stopped allowing students to go the fifth floor, while three or four others — including Perrotti, for a short period — guarded the office.

Only students who had appointments at Undergraduate Career Services and the Office of Fellowship Programs — also housed at 55 Whitney, but on the third floor — were allowed to pass by the security desk. The security officer manning the ground-level desk called to confirm each student’s appointment.

At 12:30 p.m., the 16 remaining students — 15 undergraduates and one law student — had taken seats along the walls of the wood-paneled hallway outside the office. Some did homework on their MacBooks, while others surfed the Internet. Others talked on their cell phones to fellow UOC members who could not enter the building.

As time passed, many students began to complain that they were hungry and hot. One representative dashed out for food. She came back with parsnips.

The students reported seeing Yale Investment chief David Swensen GRD ’80 come up in an elevator after they arrived in the morning. After seeing the students, the protesters said, Swensen closed the elevator door and went back down.

Swensen did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite the close quarters, relations between protestors and the four police officers stationed on the fifth floor remained friendly. The police officers acted as liaisons between students and the investment office, even attempting to set up a meeting for the students. Yale Police Department Assistant Chief Ronnell Higgins chatted with Landino about California.

But, in the end, the students did not meet with anyone in the office. At 1:45 p.m., Landino had to leave to catch a flight back to California so he could report to work at 5 a.m. on Wednesday. As Landino left, the student protesters applauded him and then packed up their belongings. All 16 students crammed into one elevator for the trip downstairs chanting, “We’ll be back.”

Though no meeting materialized, the students and Landino said they still considered the event a success.

“We did not speak with him but we left a very clear message,” Landino said through a translator. “Like farmers we’ve planted something that is going to grow and we will reap the rewards.”

Before they left, the students wrote a note for Swensen on a yellow legal pad, which concluded, “We are firmly resolved to see this matter through to the end.”

UOC’s last major sit-in was in 2005, when 15 UOC members sat in the admissions office for eight hours to protest Yale’s financial aid policy. During the protest, trespassing citations were issued to the students holding the sit-in.


  • Louise

    What a bunch of spoiled, obnoxious rich kids with nothing better to do with their time.

  • Hieronymus

    Oh gawd--why must we put up with this?

    I hope you miffs also thought to THANK Mr. Swensen for your FINANCIAL AID. Indeed, if you were not such HYPOCRITES, you would, out of conscience, renounce that (tainted) financial aid--if not your admission letter.

    Are the occupiers REALLY so incapable of self-reflection? (Yes; yes of course they are).

    Ugh. Buffoons.

  • LookBeforeYouLeap

    Did anyone bother to ask Mr. Landino for any details or proof of how he was allegedly mistreated? Did anyone ask whether his employer has broken any laws?

    Perhaps no one asked because Mr. Landino is being used for someone else's agenda.

    These students need to learn to ask questions before they too get used for someone else's agenda.

  • Yale 99

    I could not agree more. Thank you for pointing that out. I hope that Yale's current generation of ungrateful alums recognize what is providing the expansion of their educational opportunities.

    If it is something they feel the need to protest, head on up to one of the school's that they think is more responsible with their endowment. Oh wait, they couldn't go there because those schools do not have the same financial aid packages.

    If you are going to protest, follow through all the way or keep your mouth shut! I would expect that every one of those protesters is paying for 100% of their education - or else SHUT UP!

  • HoldOn

    How did Mr. Landino get from California to back!? If he is treated so poorly, how is he affording the airfare?

    Also, as a fellow Eli, I find it reprehensible that this would be student's reaction after trying to IMMEDIATElY schedule a meeting -- Mr. Swensen must have a busy schedule, and it is outrageous that this is their reaction after simply desiring a snap meeting.

  • z

    if Yale's investments are secret, how does the YDN know Yale invests in HEI?

  • Yale 08

    In fairness to UOC, they've run out of things to protest as of late (accounting for their alleged membership reductions) and have therefore resorted to protesting the status quo even in cases where much time, effort, and resources have been devoted to creating forums and other vehicles for resolving concerns. UOC -- protesting is not always (and, increasingly, simply is not) the answer. Do what's best for Yale and best for yourselves by working to create *real* change by being active and effective participants in these forums.

  • Spherical Cow

    Unfortunately, despite the UOC's claims, Yale does not have the power to influence a company that it invest in, any more than any other investor with the same amount of investment. In our corporate system, this is usually very little, albeit I don't know the specifics of this investment.

    The one action Yale could do, of course, would be to divest. This is what the UOC is asking.

    I have sympathy for the UOC's position, and the righteous indignation in the previous comments does not do justice to a difficult ethical issue. They key is whether Yale has a different ethical duty that an individual. I would hope that even Hieronymous would admit that it is unethical to personally invest in a company which one personally believes to be committing unethical acts.

    But as Ms. Maltby brought up in her column (http://yaledailynews.com/articles/view/26599) today, perhaps those with the moral duty of making that choice include those who do not yet go to Yale. Anyway, should it be based on Mr. Swensen's personal ethical code, a societal ethical code, the UOC's ethical code (which is itself very heterogenous, despite what many on campus might think or say)?

    What if a previously "good" company commits fraud? What is they try to correct it?

    Both sides need to be willing to engage in what is a difficult ethical debate. Ms. Maltby tries, although I think her position leads to far into a dangerous territory where a university has no moral responsibility. It would seem that even direct support of state-owned companies that might be committing violence, or abrogating civil and political rights, would be acceptable.

    I question whether Ms. Maltby really thinks the profit duty is the only thing that should drive Mr. Swensen. Do state companies change things? Potentially illegal acts?

  • Hieronymus

    "I would hope that even Hieronymous would admit that it is unethical to personally invest in a company which one personally believes to be committing unethical acts."

    A) Swensen does not invest "personally" for Yale.

    B) Yale does not invest "personally" (it being an institution an' all). Does Yale "personally believe" HEI to be "unethical" (and how WEIRD for Yalies to all of a sudden care about ETHICS! But that is neither here nor there…)

    C) Swensen's HIGHEST ETHICAL DUTY is to maximize returns for his client.

    This is an example of "social investing," and where does one draw the line?

    I don't like cigarettes: should my portfolio manager avoid purveyors of coffin nails?

    I don't like liquor: should he divest from distilleries?

    But both of those things are LEGAL (indeed, many Yalies partake of booze and butts: I've seen them!).

    If HEI is involved in illegalities, perhaps UOC could protest HEI?! Involve the authorities? Hmm?

    (Bonus points: in lieu of religion, who or what defines "moral duty" and "ethics"?)

    I say again: HYPOCRITES

  • Hieronymus

    Rats: forgot to finish the thought--and here I simply cut/paste someone else's spot-on comment from the other investing forum:

    "Socially responsible investing is VERY arbitrary. Why not allow Yale to make money and then encourage Yale to use that money for good in the New Haven community? I understand that perhaps this one company has some aggressive business practices -- but if you looked into almost any of the highest-performing companies in America you could find a reason that you shouldn't invest in them."


  • Alum

    Does someone really think it makes sense for the Investments Office to devote its time to chasing claims by union organizers about alleged mistreatment of workers in a portfolio company in which Yale invests (allegedly)? Yale has established a procedure, through the University’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, to develop ethical guidelines for responsible investments. That may not result in the instant gratification a typical undergraduate activist might desire, but it is the only sensible process. David Swensen, Dean Takahashi and their colleagues should be 100% focused on making profitable investments that contribute to a really good cause, Yale University and the students, faculty, workers and community that benefit from it. If the ACIR establishes guidelines, the Investments Office will follow them. Beyond that, they should go make money. If the UOC is convinced Yale is making a mistake in its investment, go make the case. But that requires more than producing a seagull (i.e. someone who flies in, squawks a lot, leaves a mess and flies out) such as Mr. Landino.

  • Alexandra Stein

    Hi all,
    As a member of the UOC who was not at the sit-in but cares very deeply about these issues, I wanted to address some of the posts above. I am not saying this as a representative of the group, just as myself, so where you see "we" in what I typed below I guess you can insert "me" or "I".

    To begin to address some of the allegations in the posts above:

    -We know Yale is invested in HEI because following terrible treatment of workers at HEI-owned hotels research was conducted to see who was invested in HEI - and it was discovered that Yale is a big investor. In general, now and in the past concerned parties at Yale have found out about most of the questionable things Yale is invested in because people concerned with specific issues discover that Yale is invested in a given project. Yale's endowment really is incredibly opaque, and this is a major problem.

    -To all the people who are talking about financial aid, and the role of students in questioning (or not) the university's investments: I don't think this has anything to do with being ungrateful, quite the opposite. First of all, the UOC sit-in happened at a time when Yale's financial aid package was much worse than it is today, and the sit-in was a catalyst for major change. Financial aid improved again just last year, and yes, I think the student petition with hundreds of signatures was part of it. We as members of the Yale community can and must exercise our voices in the running of this institution - it's how change happens. And we are all SO happy that Yale is taking these big steps forward to make a Yale education accessible for everyone. It's wonderful and really shows the university at it's best.
    I don't think, though, that just because you're benefitting from a system you can't criticize it - quite the opposite, actually. As members of the Yale community who love Yale it is our RESPONSIBILITY to ask Yale to be the best institution it can be. Not only is it wrong for this university to profit off of others' suffering (and in my view, that should actually be the entire conversation, but to answer those who are concerned with profit …), responsible investing can be quite profitable! And it's really not too much to ask a university as wealthy as ours to use its money to help, rather than harm, others. Yes, obviously we have to look out for students and academic life here, but the great thing about all the savvy responsible endowment/investing work happening right now is that this is in no way, shape or form a zero sum game. Please stop framing it that way. (There's actually going to be a cool Master's Tea in Morse tomorrow about green investing - if you don't believe me that we can help the world and our pocketbooks at the same time, believe Jack Robinson).

    -And finally, we really are asking Yale to use their influence as an important investor in HEI to pressure them to change their behavior. We really do think this is reasonable (contrary to Louise's comment, we have a lot of better things to do with our time - I won't be bratty and say we're not spoiled and rich, but that too - and would not be wasting time being ignored by Yale officials if we didn't think Yale officials had tremendous power in this situation): the interesting thing about HEI is that the majority of their investors are universities, with Yale right up there. This means that if universities, Yale especially, pressure HEI to change their behavior, there's a very good chance it will. And yeah, we want Yale to divest if they ask HEI to change and HEI does nothing, because it's wrong to enable oppression. But that's a last resort, and besides, there are so many other ways for Yale to continue growing the endowment.

    I think that covers some (but not all) of the points folks were bringing up. It's an important dialogue for us as a community to have and I hope we'll continue. Sorry for any grammar errors/typos/etc ,,, I'm kind of in a rush.


  • real change

    Yale 08 talks about the UOC and student activists making *real* change. Who do you think got Yale to divest from South Africa during apartheid (which Yale never fully did)? Who got them to divest from Darfur? Who protested Yale's exploitation of homeless people during the 90s and got Yale to give them decent jobs instead of unfair temp labor?

    Yale tried to hide their sketchy investments and practices; it was only because of STUDENT activism that Yale changed its practices and reformed its policy. Is this change not "real" enough for you?

    Frankly, I am disappointed in the LACK of activism at Yale. Many students are happy to suck the teat of this institution without asking any questions! I love Yale, and I am most grateful for the endowment, which provides not only for my education, but for EVERY student's education, regardless of whether or not they have financial aid [do some research]. Yale preaches responsibility outwardly, but refuses to discuss the social responsibility of its $23 billion. This campaign is not run by ungrateful students, but by students who want to see positive change in the way Yale University and its endowment affect peoples and places beyond New Haven.

  • George C.

    Do you know any of the individuals involved? That is an absolutely unfair (and apparently equally unfounded) accusation. Personally, I think these kids presenting a legitimate, constructive political grievance to the institution they are a part of is much better than what some of their peers decide to do: partying and drinking.

    To "LookBeforeYouLeap":
    You presented a question, and then made conclusions before receiving a response. Again, you provide absolutely no evidence in claims that minimize José's experience and suggest that he is somehow not acting of his own volition.

    These vicious, ad hominem, unsupported responses make me ashamed of my beloved Yale.

  • Alum

    The issue is simple: Do you want be simply consumers of your education or do you want to take an active role as a member of the university community? That endowment not only supports your education, it also reflects your values.

  • Katie Harrison

    Having spoken briefly with Jose and at length with other workers at HEI, I think that they would resent very much the suggestion that Jose is being "used for someone else's agenda," as #3 suggests, and I personally find it both bizarre and insulting.

    I understand you may have objections to the idea of labor unions, but in what way do they represent workers being "used for someone else's agenda?" Workers who have unions receive better pay, more reasonable workloads, better benefits, and more job security than workers without unions.

    Explain to me, then, why Jose's effort to win a union for himself and his coworkers should not be part of his agenda for a better life for himself.

    Furthermore, Jose Landino is sticking his neck out by coming to talk to an audience of 200 college students, and by trying to talk to Yale's investment officers. The idea that he is being manipulated into doing this is strange. #3, how easy would it be for some wily character to convince you to risk your job, especially in the current economic crisis? Is it possible that by coming to Yale, Jose is standing up for something he, himself, believes in?

  • Hieronymus

    Ugh: the UOC just WISHES for Apartheid--so they could protest.

    I researched HEI a bit--here is what Cornell thinks (on a course sponsored by HEI's founders):
    "With the help of HEI Hotel & Resorts, a thriving hotel ownership company run by two brothers who are hotel school graduates, three principles were developed to focus on for projects."

    Further, the "mistreatment" seems limited to normal business procedures, i.e., seeking higher efficiency at the (some would say "unfortunate") expense of less-productive workers.

    *I* was expecting some third-world sweatshop with shackles and beatings; what I found was "write ups" and "increased work loads." Uh, gee… get used to it.

    GM, under the weight of its union, is on the brink of BANKRUPTCY, and UOC wishes to raise HEI's LEGAL activities to the level of SA's apartheid?

    Give. me. a. BREAK!

    You folks *really* could not gin up something more…real?

    Next point (in reference to "ethics"): I find NOTHING objectionable--especially on any manufactured "ethical" or "moral" grounds with HEI's conduct. (Indeed, I wish Yale would bust its OWN unions.)

    So, again, how exactly does one invoke "socially acceptable" parameters when what is acceptable to some (and, 'twould seem, a gross minority, given the declining membership of UOC) when others find nothing worthy of "protest"?

    On another point--while I did not laugh out loud, I came close when Alexandra wrote: "…the [UOC] sit-in was a catalyst for major change [to Yale's financial aid policies]."

    No, wait, I *did* laugh out loud: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAAHAH!

    Oh, me! That was a good one!

    Yah, it had, heck, NOTHING to do with David Swensen's incomparable management (upward) of Yale's endowment, no sirree!

    Gawd get a GRIP!

    Respectful dialog? Nope.
    Letters and forums? Nope

    What college experience is complete without attendance at a Grateful Dead concert and occupation of the president's/investment officer's/secretary's office? Hmm?

    Ah, bright college years…

  • Alum

    Alexandra: thanks for taking the time to present your views (I'm also #11 above). You note that "Yale's endowment really is incredibly opaque, and this is a major problem." Please understand that Yale is considered the pre-eminent institutional investor in the world. If Yale published its investments in a manner that might satisfy you, it would find that thousands of other investors would attempt to mimic its investments which would ultimately reduce its returns. Does that concern trump any other? No, but it raises the bar pretty high. Replace Yale's investment performance since David Swensen's arrival in 1985 with that of the average investor or even the average university endowment and Yale would have an endowment half its current size - or less. And Yale would be able to take a comparably decreased amount each year to support its activities. That matters a lot to me and it should to you as well.

    So if you think a particular investment is problematic, go make your case but understand that no one is going to jump just because you (or some guy who flies in for a day or two from the West Coast) make a claim. HEI is subject to US and California law and you have a difficult burden to make the case that it can both be complying with those laws and be acting so 'unethically' that Yale should agitate and/or divest.

  • Hieronymus

    “I go to work everyday thinking, ‘Is it going to be today that you tell me I don’t have a job anymore?’” Martinez [UOC's poster child] said.

    Duh. Welcome to Life.

    GESO drones…

  • Alum

    George: even if the "grievance" is "legitimate," is occupying someone's office the best/most effective way of expressing that grievance?

    Says more about the protesters than the issue, in my opinion.

  • yale 09

    Actually, HEI has broken the law--intimidating workers and interfering with unionization efforts is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If it weren't for the Bush administration's total lack of interest in the welfare of the working class, something would be done about this. Unfortunately the GOP has drained the National Labor Relations Board of resources and staff, stocked it with anti-worker, anti-labor Republicans, and taken away the only avenue through which workers can officially address their concerns. That's why José came to Yale: universities the only ones left who can confront HEI and, using the SIGNIFICANT leverage we gained after handing the company some $120 million, ask them to reform their practices. It's not divestment and it's hardly radical; it's the right thing to do.

  • investment

    These arguments are really interesting to read, because clearly only the vocal minority on either side ever posts on these things, so I just thought I'd change that a bit.

    First of all the difference in tone between detractors and supports is unfortunate. We are all Yale students, we probably know each other or could and in most other arenas we treat each other as intelligent students. So maybe we should all try to do that more.

    Second, I truly take offense from those who yell at people who question authority. This is the same argument as "if you don't agree with the War or the Government, leave the country." Good communities are formed of good citizens. Good citizens question those who lead or represent them.

    Thirdly, I must understand this action that the UOC did differently than everyone else here. People keep decrying it as a pointless protest, but weren't they just trying to have a meeting so that someone would listen to and record this Hotel Workers complaints?

    It doesn't seem like anything inappropriate was done; the article says the police and the students were cordial and friendly. It seems as if the only group being rude was the investment office who wouldn't send a single representative to listen to this hard working man.

    Lastly, why is it always "responsible investing OR amazing returns." Is there anyone calling the entire yale endowment a sham? Because it seems to me that these activists are just talking about one or a couple investments. The Responsible Endowment Group that had an event the other day which I attended was talking about the endowment as a whole, but even still they were only talking about transparency so that the rare "unethical" investment could be avoided, not in order to change the way everything is done.

    It just strikes me as strange that we have to have these extreme debates when the issues in question are so reasonable and moderate. At least from the reporting so far and the event that the responsible endowment project put on, it seems like both of these groups are attempting to deal with issues of this sort, which is really a nice change from the whiny and unrealistic activists of the past.

  • Bosch

    I'm inclined to agree with #11 for the most part, but I can understand the UOC's frustrations when it comes to trying to see some forward motion on what they deem a worthy case for divestment. The Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility works with complete opacity, and as the name might suggest, they don't actually make any decisions; their recommendations get passed along to the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility, which is even more secretive, if that's possible. Except for specific embargoes issued by the CCIR, "The Ethical Investor" (which ostensibly guides investment policy) is so vague and philosophical that it can be used to defend virtually any investment (apartheid South Africa, Big Tobacco, etc.). Given the secrecy and glacial pace surrounding these decisions, some of which should objectively be driven by moral outrage (Sudan), the desperation to draw attention in any way makes sense to me.

  • Hiero II

    I want to know David Swensen's investment strategy so that I can copy it. Who's with me?

  • to clarify something …

    About the ACIR: As was mentioned in the REP presentation Monday night (but not the YDN article about the REP presentation), students from the UOC did approach the ACIR about their concerns with HEI. They were told the ACIR is not a fact-finding body. Letters were also sent to President Levin, David Swensen, and the Corporation. It seems that this group of students has been nothing if not willing to work with administrators in traditional ways.

  • Y11

    As an student uninvolved in this episode, I commend the student activists of the UOC. I think students on financial aid especially should be concerned about where these millions of dollars are coming from. I don't want to be educated at the expense of poor mistreated laborers. If Yale's investment is a completely honest one, there should be no harm in allowing the student body to know where our money is coming from. This is quite the opposite of "spoiled rich kids" in my view. These are students concerned for those who don't have the privilege to be "spoiled" or "rich"

  • Anonymous

    "First of all, the UOC sit-in happened at a time when Yale's financial aid package was much worse than it is today, and the sit-in was a catalyst for major change"

    Alexandra, you could not be more incorrect. You've been fed the UOC's party line. Of course, I can't exactly criticize your ignorance because, assuming you are an undergrad, you were not attending Yale at the time.

    The UOC's sit-in had nothing to do with Levin's decision to expand financial aid offerings--it was merely a coincidence in timing that the sit-in took place, and the announcement regarding expanded financial aid packages shortly followed.

    What the UOC probably doesn't mention is that Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard had all publicly announced that they were expanding their financial aid packages in the weeks leading up to the sit-in, and Yale risked being at a competitive disadvantage had they not followed suit and done something in response. That was the true catalyst for change, not a sit-in by a tiny group of self-important students that were considered to be the far left even by those on the far left.

    Take it from someone who was there at the time, and who also witnessed the stupidity that same spring of the UOC partnering with GESO to bring Jesse Jackson to campus, only to see him rant not about the plight of graduate students, but of the poor transportation infrastructure in CT.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I find it ironic that a group of students desiring social justice willingly purchase laptops that are undoubtedly comprised of metals and materials mined in social-justice lacking areas like the DRC.

  • coupla things


    Coupla things to point out:

    1. As several people have mentioned, green investing and ethical investing is not unprofitable if you do it right.

    2. Let's not allow cries of "what is ethics?" and "what is good?" to divert our loyalty to common sense: Yale sees itself as a global leader in sustainability, yet it's endowment funds a multi-hundred-thousand-acre forest in Maine that is being run unsustainably and could be entirely cut down and developed. What's wrong with this picture? The REP is just trying to do something about it. They wanted to have a dialogue with Mr. Swensen and got ignored, so they sat in his office to protest the way in which they were brushed off.

    3. It is in Yale's interests to make the endowment more transparent and ethical. A more transparent endowment could lead to a huge surge in alumni giving. It would make us a global leader in environmental cred.

    4. Hieronymus needs to chill :)

  • annoyed

    "No, wait, I *did* laugh out loud: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAAHAH!"

    Just for future reference, perhaps we could stay civilized and act our age when we discuss this topic.

  • Appalled '10 student

    Until I read this I hadn't realized what a Facist institution I was attending. No way can I continue study at a university supported by the exploitation of my fellow human beings. Their sweat and their blood stains all of our hands. I see now that every class I attend only condones the immoral actions of the evil cabal that runs this place. People - while some may tell you to stay and try to change the future when you graduate, the means to that end ultimately corrupts us all. Any person of conscience has no choice but to leave Yale. For where, I'm not sure, but I'm out of here before I am sucked into the abyss. Who's with me? Timmia??

  • re: Appalled '10

    Why on earth can't you do both? It's great that you want to change the system and help the world when you graduate. But people need our help in the present, too, and just because we don't hold official positions of power doesn't mean we aren't powerful, doesn't mean we aren't obligated to act.
    Satire/sarcasm/whatever you're going for isn't all that funny when it misses the point.

  • Ethical Ethan

    I stand firmly against unionization--I find them, in the long run, unethical, as they necessarily and artificially reduce employment, that is, unfairly helping the few at the expense of many. I also generally disagree with their tactics (thuggery) and goals (thievery). Hence, in my view, I find it unethical to oppose HEI.

  • re: Ethical Ethan

    You, Ethical Ethan, have probably never experienced life at the bottom, have you? "helping a few at the expense of many"? I think you have it backward. A union would help the thousands of HEI workers at the expense of a few execs at the top, who are already living comfortably in Greenwich. This is not to advocate redistribution of wealth, but to advocate a living wage for workers who clean over 30 rooms a day.

  • too radical and idealistic

    Apparently Yale students, as well as students on several other campuses, have been successful in rousing the HEI execs; HEI execs will be meeting in January with students from several different universities. Perhaps they are scared the universities may just listen to the justice-minded students!?; Notre Dame's Chief Investment Officer, unlike David Swensen, has met, on several occasions, with concerned students and has taken action in their case. All we are asking is for a dialogue with the investments office-is this so radical?

  • Anonymous

    Good for you, UOC, and good for you, Alexandra and Katie, for speaking up. Please know that plenty of people support you and respect your efforts.

  • Appalled '10 student

    to: #32

    Yes you can do both…it you are a hypocrite.

    Better to decamp to an ethical institution and work against both the evils of HEI's ilk as well as Yale's investment strategy from there. If enough of us do so, and we influence enough like minded potential applicants to shun Yale, maybe then they will actually get the message. Staying around and effectively abetting their cause or accepting the largess of their vile practices does nothing to dissuade them. Indeed, they win as they slowly corrupt you.

    Taken to an extreme (though not really given Yale's exploitation of our brothers and sisters), your attitude would say it is perfectly fine to accept a fellowship from the KKK as long as you protest racism every month or two. Nice.

    Sarcasm??? Don't think so…but you probably miss the point.

  • Appalled '10 student

    #32 - I might add that corporate America's craven rationalization of "investing in South Africa so we can work from within" was similarly hypocrital - something that was obvious to all…at least all that had not been co-opted. When did SA change…not until after the enablers left.

    Why you do not see how you are being manipulated and used is beyond me. Don't be a tool. Join me. Let's go.

  • Ethical Ethan

    to #34

    Econ much?

    By artificially raising wages, unions suppress employment. That is, corporations have a relatively set amount of money to spend on labor: higher expenses (wages) = lower employment.

    As for life at the bottom--actually, it is my life from the bottom that makes me so appreciate my life at the top (i.e., Yale).

  • Sydney Lea, '64, PhD '72

    Number 6's question unwittingly raises one of the principal issues with the endowment -- its almost utter lack of transparency. I know this at first hand, having long been involved in a conservation project that involved some of Yale's timberlands. Believe me, it took a jhole lot of sleuthing -- scaring up 990s and the like -- to discover Yale behind its phantom LLC (duly incorporated in the black hole state of Delaware, like the samming credit card corporations).

    I do not know enough about HEI to have an informed opinion, but I do know what an ugly and irresponsible job Yale has done with a lot of its forestry properties… and this all the while its flaks are vaunting the 'greening' of the institution. The one area off limits for those who are seeking to promote and fine-tune a green Yale is -- guess what? -- the endowment.

    And some of you tax these STUDENTS with hypocrisy?

    Yale's endowment is obscenely bigIt does not have shareholders, so that the very notion that maximum return, as long as its operations are 'legal' and in spite of any social or environmental injustice, must be the one and only guide to investment is absurd in a nonprofit (sic) entity.

    You sage Eli commentators and supercilious naysayers must have learned SOMETHING about ethics along the way, no?
    Maybe not.