OPINION
Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Nothing but crickets from UI Administrators

Nick

“A trustee shall invest and manage the trust assets solely in the interest of the beneficiaries.” Idaho State Law Loyalty Clause from the Uniform Prudent Investor Act – Title 68 (Trusts and Fiduciaries); Chapter 5 (Uniform Prudent Investor Act); 68-505.

Now imagine reading this legal code, then choosing to ignore those very interests of over 360 University of Idaho students, faculty, staff, employees, and alumni who want to express our interests.

This imaginative exercise is neither speculative fiction nor a creative assignment, rather exactly what the University of Idaho Investment Committee is doing right now.

University of Idaho investments totaling to over $359 million are currently being invested in weapons manufacturing, fossil fuel extraction, and companies with numerous human rights violations—including multinational corporations engaged in weapon manufacturing such as Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing and climate criminals such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron—all of which have no vested interest in our Idaho community or broader collective liberation. This goes against our—the beneficiaries of the said trust—interests. We do not want our pooled investments funding war and our attempts to meet with the University of Idaho Investment Committee have repeatedly gone unanswered.

We also believe in transparency and timeliness, so we first want to share our pooled research on the University of Idaho Consolidated Investment Trust’s (CIT) mutual fund holdings—companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction, weapons manufacturing, and serious human rights violations are highlighted.

Additionally, below is a brief chronology of events:

There are and will continue to be events outside of this chronology, but the main point is that the student voice and “the interest of the beneficiaries” is actively being ignored.

There have been examples from around the US where votes on divestment have been pledged, pauses in accepting donations, and mixed results. But there is nothing worse than not even engaging in dialogue and conversations with the over 360 voices speaking up.

These dialogues are, equally, not novel to the University of Idaho where there has a history of divestment petitioning and activism which led to the eventual passage of a resolution by the University of Idaho’s Foundation Inc in August of 1985 addressing the issue of South Africa apartheid. However, we wish to extend this precedent contemporaneously to notions of fossil fuel extraction, human rights violations, weapons manufacturing, global war, and modern slavery.

Also at the core of our efforts is education. We hope these transparent conversations can also be a time for students to learn more about the complexities of University investments. At the end of the day, students are attending institutions of higher education to learn; therefore, we will remain curious.

If you would like to add your voice to this collective, please fill out the form that was the original Open Letter sent to the Vice President McLuen & the University members of the Investment Committee as well as signing the divestment and community petition.

Nick Koenig

Nick Koenig

Nick Koenig is a Geography PhD student at the University of Idaho.

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