Meeting Minutes - 11/03/09
Shareholder Advocacy Committee Minutes
for the Meeting Held on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
in Rm. 259, Sullivan Center on
Lake Shore Campus
The following members participated:
Ray Catania, Staff (Chair); Annemarie Barrett, Undergraduate Student; Patrick Eccles, Staff;
Elaine Lehman, Staff (Secretary); A. Tassos Maliaris, Faculty; Lucia Samayoa, Undergraduate Student
The following members were absent:
Mary Elsbernd, Faculty (with explanation sent); Navneeth Iyengar, Undergraduate Student (with explanation); Charles (Bud) Murdock, Faculty (without explanation); Eilleen Rollerson, Graduate Student (with explanation)
The Chair called the meeting to order at approximately 8:35am.
The minutes for the Committee’s meeting that took place on October 1, 2009, were circulated prior to the meeting; there being no disagreement, were accepted.
The Chair took a moment to address the evolution of the Committee over the years and SAC’s increased readiness to undertake shareholder engagement and advocacy. He briefly addressed the overall structure of the Committee, and the importance of utilizing its capacity of coming together as a group, as well as the need for a coordinated effort. He opened discussion for election of positions. The Committee unanimously agreed (6-0 vote) to re-appoint Ray as Chair for another term, and Elaine as Secretary (6-0 vote). The Chair reported that he would contact the Faculty Council’s chair on upcoming vacancies of Committee faculty seats, for replacement recommendations to submit to Fr. Garanzini. In the course of discussion, members raised questions about roles and responsibilities. The Committee considered developing additional roles (and responsibilities). The next step would be to draft descriptions to recommend to the Committee. Members asked Elaine to coordinate.
The Secretary briefly updated the Committee on the NJCIR’s initiative with the OM Group. She reported that the NJCIR’s Consultant on SRI had suggested that the Committee send a letter, in support of the NJCIR’s request to meet; and has requested sample language to help guide the correspondence.
The Secretary briefly reported that the NJCIR has scheduled a meeting with Chevron executives and interested shareholders including SAC via telephone) on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, to continue dialogue about the need for the Corporation to develop and adopt human rights policies; she mentioned that the outcome of this meeting would determine whether the NJCIR will recommend filing a 2010 shareholder resolution. Additionally, NJCIR suggested for the SAC to contact Sr. Gwen Farry of ICRI, to inquire about the organization’s dialogues with local companies and to request participation. Patrick agreed to lead this effort.
The Committee briefly discussed writing a letter to the Wyndham Group and Microsoft Corporation (Asia), commending them in their efforts to assist in alleviating the trauma of human trafficking. The next step is to provide draft letters, to submit to the Committee for review.
The Committee briefly discussed the IMI Roundtable, held on October 13-14, 2009, on Water Tower Campus, noting that there was good attendance of professionals plus a few SAC members; it was suggested it may be beneficial for the SAC to consider inviting the experts as guest speakers (on specific areas of interest).
The Committee turned its attention to the annual LUC Community Meeting on SRI, held on October 14, 2009, on Lake Shore Campus. Committee members discussed the presentation, which included (1) a brief overview of shareholder advocacy (2) benefits of holding stock (3) how shareholder resolutions work (4) what is required to file a shareholder resolution (5) an SRI example and chronology of the shareholder resolution for Chevron (6) overview of the SAC’s 2008-2009 advocacy initiatives (7) overview of the SAC’s agenda for 2009-2010 (8) Statement on SAC Activities (9) open discussion. The Secretary reported that the following SAC documents were distributed for reference: 2008 SAC Survey Results, 2008-2009 Annual Report, Statement on Shareholder Advocacy Committee Activities. In response to student inquiry (May 5, 2009) about the University’s holdings in Lockheed Martin, the Committee explained that it learned that the University had sold its stock in August – that the decision was a financial one, and independent of the students’/SAC’s inquiry.
The Secretary, who had served in the Chair’s stead, reported that the Committee described the integral role of the University community, especially the students, in the SAC’s work and invited the audience to: (1) join the SAC in researching resolutions and concerns (in relation to the 2008 Survey categories) to support its initiatives; (2) attend a SAC meeting (advance notice provided); (3) attend the Committee’s annual community meeting.
The Committee observed that, despite careful explanation on the Committee’s charge of shareholder advocacy, the student attendees primarily focused on the following areas: (1) Holding stock in companies that already demonstrated SRI (2) Research of concerns (3) Non-investment policy.
The Committee explained:
(1) for the SAC purposes, the Committee was to engage in companies that do not readily demonstrate SRI and that, pursuant to its Statement on SAC Activities, the Committee would not be able to invest in companies as a sign of approval or to encourage activities. (It was noted, however, that students at other universities have raised funds to create, through their institutions, an endowment and/or an account to purchase stock in such companies);
(2) the importance and need of proper research, in order to support the concern presented; that because the SAC valued the LUC community members’ feelings and opinions, the Committee needed their help in researching causes and resolutions;
(3) the SAC struggled with the issue of non-investment for a long time, but does not engage in social/negative screening. Because the issue fell outside of the SAC’s responsibilities, the Committee offered that students could voice their concern through the Unified Student Government Association (USGA).
The Secretary reported that a student had inquired whether the University held stock in Monsanto, stating that the company has sued farmers for patent infringement and has created a complete reliance for soybeans, by impeding the farmers’ legal ability to save their own seeds to replant for the next season. (Subsequent to the meeting, the student inquired whether the University held stock in Massey Energy, noting concern about their mining policies, specifically mountain-top removal. The Secretary reported that follow-up was made for each inquiry, informing the student that University did not hold stock in either company.)
The Secretary reported that at the end of the Community Meeting: (1) students approached her and expressed that while they understood the Committee’s duties in shareholder advocacy, they felt the process seemed prolonged and they would like to see some change within the short term; (2) the two students who had written about concern in Lockheed Martin, had submitted a signed petition to divest of company stock held (and included support of a non-investment policy).
During the course of discussion, Lucia reported that the students were working on building green revolving funds. Patrick reported that the students were moving ahead with USGA on the issue of non-investment. Elaine mentioned that the petition was submitted to the Investment Office, only to be returned to the students at the students’ request.
The Committee noted the students’ reactions to the discussion of research. Tassos suggested that the Committee invite the students to another meeting. Annemarie offered to coordinate with the students who attended the Community Meeting, and follow up with the Committee.
Members discussed how to improve student participation in future shareholder proposal research and review. Members suggested: (1) faculty members serving as mentors and (2) inviting the Loyola community to meet each spring to assist in researching holdings, areas of concern based on the Committee’s current agenda, and shareholder resolutions to recommend to the Committee. The next step would be to develop a proposal for each suggestion to recommend to the Committee.
Due to lack of time, the discussion of the Pay Disparity Shareholder Resolution (coordinated by ICCR) and other initiatives will be deferred until the next SAC meeting.
The meeting ended at approximately 9:50am.
Respectfully submitted by: