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Emergent Asset Management

A Look at College Investments that have been Questioned

Collin Binkley

BOSTON (AP) — Some of the nation's top universities have drawn criticism for making investments in certain industries that activists say run counter to the schools' mission.

Many financial experts don't see a problem, contending that endowments have a duty to make sound financial decisions above all else.

Colleges are split. Some have stopped investing in industries such as fossil fuels or prisons or have opted to invest in mutual funds billed as "socially responsible." Others put few restrictions on their investments.

Vanderbilt Out of Africa

Tennessee students win a divestment fight–even though the school won’t admit it.



Earth Matters: Land Grabs


This month, responding to campus activists who have been working on the issue for over a year, Vanderbilt University divested from “land grabbing,” withdrawing a $26 million investment in EMVest, a company that has been buying agricultural properties in Africa and converting them into large-scale commercial farms that grow food for export. (See Oakland Institute’s press release.)

Vanderbilt University Divests from "Land Grab" in Africa

February 13, 2013


For Immediate Release


Contact: Zach Blume, Student Organizer, Vanderbilt Responsible Endowment Campaign

[email protected] / (401) 714-3118

Rose Espinola, National Organizer, Responsible Endowments Coalition

[email protected] / (347) 864-7633

Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence host Responsible Endowment Symposium

Sam McBride


Around 50 students gathered in Wilson Hall Friday afternoon to learn more about issues of responsible investment of university endowments at a symposium put on by the Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence.

The three guest speakers were Jeff Furman, the chair of Ben & Jerry’s corporate board, Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute which broke the story about Vanderbilt’s investments in African “land grabs,” and Dan Apfel, the executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition.

Occupy Vanderbilt Wants Answers from Administration

Occupy Vanderbilt has sprung up seemingly from no-where. But there’s a story to how those students got angry and decided to take a stand. The students’ seven months of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investment with EMVest, along with years of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investments in HEI Hotels & Resorts, play a large role in that.

Land Grabbing: All In the Name of Food Security?


Gautam Prateek


Some call it “new colonialism”, while some others call it “land grab” and “land rush”. There are many who would not use such pejoratives and would restrict themselves to investments on land, agri-business, foreign direct investment etc. Well, whatever we call it, the issue remains the same. I am referring to the large scale land acquisitions, mainly in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South East Asia.

Letter: Publicize Vanderbilt's Investment Research


Editor's note: The following letter is written on behalf of the Oakland Institute's board of directors. The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think-tank based in California, whose research led to allegations that Vanderbilt's endowment is invested in exploitative "land grabs" in Africa.

To the editor: