Professor Susan Gary, a member of the Board of Trustees has been selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as an Academic Writing Fellow to the Bellagio Center for her project, "Evolution of the Prudence Standard: ESG Investing, Ethical Investing, and Fiduciary Duties." This is a residential writing fellowship based in Bellagio, Italy.
Gary's research on this topic includes the recent publication, "Values and Value: University Endowments, Fiduciary Duties, and ESG Investing." The article discusses the evidence in support of environmental, social, and governance investing as a fiduciary policy and it concludes "that a trustee responsible for a university endowment will not breach the duty of loyalty or the duty to act as a prudent investor by directing the endowment’s use of environmental, social, and governance investing as part of an overall financial investment strategy."
The issue of university investing - and specifically environmental, social, and governance investing - has been hotly debated at the University of Oregon as students have lobbied faculty, the Board of Trustees, and the UO Foundation to gain a commitment by the UO Foundation to divest from fossil fuels. The Divest UO movement has succeeded in resolutions by the faculty senate in support of divestment, and an update to the foundation's investment management statement in October 2016 citing, "We are proud to lead the Pac-12 in adopting the first ever environmental, social and governance considerations to help inform our investment decisions."