In its annual joke issue, The Daily Princetonian reports on the University’s latest international investment:
Following significant endowment losses in 2008, the University will be investing in a joint venture with Somali pirates, Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO) president Andrew Golden said in an interview Friday.
However, they save the best for last. As seen in Tina Fey’s comedic approach to the Palin-Couric interviews, sometimes the true content requires very little manipulation. Do any of these faux-quotes sound familiar? You be the judge:
The University seems unfazed by what some have called the “questionable ethics” of the investment.
Golden explained that the University performs no regular ethical review of its investments and instead focuses only on maximizing financial returns.
“Fundamentally, the instructions we give to our investment managers is that they should invest with the goal of maximizing return over the long-term,” University Vice President and Secretary Bob Durkee ’69 said. “A strong presumption is that the University as an institution will not take a position or play an active role with respect to external issues of a political, social or moral character.”
Students should not really care about the ethics of the University’s investments, University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt ’96 said.
“Members of the campus community with interest in these issues typically would not need to know whether the University is invested in a Somali pirate band today to know whether they feel the University should be invested in such an organization,” Cliatt said. “If a group of people have a question or concern about something taking place in the world, that belief would exist regardless of whether the University is invested there.”
Golden agreed that interest in ethical investment practices should not stem from knowledge of how the University invests its money, but instead from a broader interest in the world at large. Examining a list of University holdings for the purpose of raising ethical questions would be “the tail wagging the dog,” he said.
“Why would you focus first on those companies we’re invested in as opposed to looking out and thinking ‘what do I care most about in the world?’ ” he explained. “I care more about the engagement of the entire community in social issues, in ways that go far beyond the investment portfolio, especially because the investment portfolio may be a particularly cost-ineffective way of making change.”