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Yale adopts investment ban on assault weapon retailers

Yale University's board of trustees has adopted a policy prohibiting its $27.2 billion endowment from investing in retail outlets that market and sell assault weapons.

The university announced in a statement on Tuesday that the policy was adopted by the board following a recommendation by the board's Committee on Investor Responsibility.

The policy applies to retail distributors of assault, as well as dealers and promoters that organize the sale of such weapons at gun shows, the statement said.

Jonathan Macey, the committee's chairman and a Yale law professor who specializes in corporate finance and securities law, said he didn't believe the endowment had any current holdings of retailers that sell assault-weapons.

In recommending the policy to Yale's governing board, the trustee committee gave "special consideration" to factors including the distinction between manufacturers and retail distributors of assault weapons — since assault weapons may be used for sanctioned purposes by the military and law enforcement — and because a large number of shootings occur at educational institutions.

"Yale is committed to research, scholarship and education for the betterment of the world; this requires an environment in which teachers and students are free from gun violence and the fear of gun violence," according to the statement.

Yale divested in certain U.S. companies that operated in South Africa during apartheid, and more recently adopted proxy-voting guidelines with respect to tobacco companies and private prisons. In 2014, Yale also adopted guidelines seeking disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change on a company's business activities and products, and decided against divesting from fossil fuel stocks.

Tom Conroy, university spokesman, was not available to provide further information by press time.

Bloomberg contributed to this story.