Stanford’s Wallace Says Endowment Isn’t Used for Social Activism

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People walk through a hallway at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, U.S.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The $27 billion Stanford University endowment “is not a tool for social activism,” said Robert Wallace, the fund’s chief executive officer.

“We at the Stanford Management Company do not believe it is our job to try to achieve particular social outcomes unless they are consistent with our direct divestment policy or our long-term economic goals,” Wallace told a faculty senate meeting Thursday, according to the Stanford Daily.

In 2016, Stanford rejected a proposal to divest from fossil-fuel companies.

The divestment policy is under review by the board of trustees in the context of current calls for divestment from student groups, Wallace said, according to the student newspaper. Community input is being sought as part of the review, according to the university.

When asked if Stanford Management should use the university’s economic resources to foster social change, Wallace responded, according to the paper, that “the capital we deploy in the world does really good things in the world … because we are so focused on long-term results and because we are so careful about who we work with and [the investment partners we work with are] so careful about the companies that they invest in. When there’s a problem, we fix it.”

Wallace said that Stanford Management looks for partners “who are ethical, principled and focused on long-term results -– those with appropriate regard for environmental and human welfare,” according to a university news release about the meeting posted to its website Friday.

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