Following in the footsteps of Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania has said it will not make future investments in the controversial HEI Hotels & Resorts chain.
Yale, Brown and Penn are among the universities that have holdings in HEI — which has come under fire for allegedly mistreating workers and interfering with their efforts to unionize — but Brown decided in mid-February that it would refrain from making further investments in the hotel company. Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli announced on March 25 that the university does not plan to make additional investments in HEI, and, like Brown, will reach future decisions when the time arises. Yale has not altered its investment plans for HEI.
Penn has watched a “continuing labor dispute” between HEI managers and national labor union UNITE HERE, Carnaroli wrote in his statement. While HEI asks employees to elect unions through anonymous, secret ballots, UNITE HERE members prefer employees to use a public vote in the presence of union leaders, Carnaroli said.
Jonathan Macey, the chairman of Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, told the News in early March that Yale is unlikely to alter its policies toward HEI unless new evidence appears against the hotel company. At the time of Brown’s decision, Macey questioned the practical implications of the choice, saying that what activists and the media perceived as a “huge step” has little impact on the university’s investing policies.
Yale’s current investment in HEI is worth at least $119 million according to Yale’s Undergraduate Organizing Committee.