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NYU students want a voice in how endowment is invested

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A group of New York University students concerned about the school’s investment process is forming the Alternative Endowment Coalition.

The coalition is being created in an effort to provide NYU’s student body a say in how the school’s $3.5 billion endowment is being invested. Several members are concerned about issues relating to the environment, governance, economics and social justice.

“We’re creating the Alternative Endowment Coalition to show the university how financial decisions could be made and how the (investment process) could be organized to give the student body a voice,” said Davis Saltonstall, one of the organizers of the coalition and a senior majoring in environmental studies and economics at NYU.

Although Mr. Saltonstall declined to disclose the coalition’s fundraising target, he said it’s looking to reach at least $20,000 by the end of the current semester. He said the coalition, which is made up of students and recent alumni, will invest the money with student input and then show the results to the university.

The coalition includes members of several activist organizations, such as NYU’s Student & Labor Action Movement, NYU Divest, the Roosevelt Institute and Amnesty International.

“The university hasn’t heard from this group directly,” NYU spokesman John Beckman said in an e-mail. “NYU’s endowment’s sole purpose is to serve our students, faculty and academic mission, both now and in the future.”