Noticias relacionadas con la Innovación Educativa

House GOP bill would raise colleges' costs for reimbursing federal aid when students drop out

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 15 Mar 2018 - 01:00

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System invests serious resources into student supports during the first four weeks of a semester -- the period in which at-risk students are most likely to drop out.

Jay Box, the system's president, said its 16 colleges make student retention a top focus throughout the semester. Yet because of student withdrawals during a recent fall semester, the system still had to return about $2.6 million in student aid to the federal government.

Under a GOP proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives, however, the system projects its bill would hit $8.1 million for that semester alone.

“It’s really not a good deal for us,” Box said.

That proposal, part of House legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, would apply to all colleges and universities. But it would hit open-access institutions like community colleges particularly hard.

Republican authors of the PROSPER Act, as the bill is dubbed, described the overhaul of aid repayments as a risk-sharing measure that would compel colleges to produce better outcomes. Critics of the GOP approach said the proposal identifies a real problem while offering a solution that’s even more troublesome.

Federal law requires colleges to pay back a portion of aid students receive if they drop out before a term is completed. Under the system, which is called Return to Title IV, the amount colleges must pay back is prorated and depends on when students drop out or withdraw. When a student has attended 60 percent of the term, the college does not have to return any aid.

The current approach has drawn frequent complaints from college administrators for being overly complex -- to start off with, it can be difficult to determine exactly when a student officially “dropped out.” The PROSPER Act would replace the current process with several tiers for length of attendance to determine how much colleges must repay the federal government. When students attend for a quarter of a term before withdrawing, for example, colleges would keep 25 percent of federal aid money; if they attend for half the term, 50 percent; and so on.

The problem for colleges is that they would keep no federal aid money under the formula if a student withdraws before a quarter of the term is over. And there is no point before the end of the semester in which a student would be considered to have “earned” all of their federal aid.

So institutions get a simpler repayment system but one that could leave them shouldering more of the costs for late-semester withdrawals and all of the costs when a student withdraws early in the semester. That’s troublesome for colleges because there are still plenty of expenses associated with running a classroom that don’t go away if a student drops midsemester.

Community colleges have offered projections showing they’d be on the hook for millions more in repayments if the PROSPER Act goes through without changes.

Over a full academic year, Box said, the Kentucky system would face $16-17 million in repayments thanks to the provision. The system, meanwhile, has repeatedly fended off proposals in recent years to cut its state appropriations or eliminate individual courses of study.

Likewise, the Ivy Tech Community College System, which operates 30 campuses across Indiana, would see a $4.2 million increase in payments from last fall, said Sue Ellspermann, the system's president.

“Given the potential loss of dollars, we would hope that philanthropy and grants would pick up all or a portion of the Title IV loss for proven retention programs like these and others,” she said via email. “However, there is a real risk that they won’t and we could be forced to reduce services offered.”

Community college lobby groups said their members have projected repayments under the House plan to be two to three times their most recent numbers. 

The Republican lawmakers who crafted the PROSPER Act talked explicitly about Title IV repayments as a form of “risk sharing” -- an increasingly popular idea among policy makers who want colleges to take on more of the financial stakes for student outcomes like completion. If faced with the loss of federal dollars, the thinking goes, colleges would do more to make sure students finish a semester.

But community college leaders said they’re already doing a lot to improve student completion rates. Ivy Tech, for example, uses predictive analytics to identify students who are likely to drop out. One project using that analysis and targeted outreach has improved retention of at-risk students by more than 3 percent each semester since it was launched.

And the Kentucky system already invests a huge amount of resources in getting students through the first four weeks of classes, the milestone after which its data show students are much more likely to complete the academic term. Demanding that colleges do more to keep federal funds, Box said, ignores the reality that community colleges are already doing everything they can to get students to complete the semester.

“The No. 1 reason students withdraw from us is that life gets in the way,” he said. “Meaning that all the sudden they have a family crisis; they’ve got to work to support their family or support themselves.”

When those outside pressures push students out, he said, colleges have a limited ability to keep students in class.

Form of Risk Sharing

Asked about complaints from community college leaders regarding the Title IV repayments, a spokesman for Representative Virginia Foxx, the Republican from North Carolina who is chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, referred to the committee report on the bill.

“We’re in frequent contact with the community college groups, and are well aware about [what] they are for and against in PROSPER,” the spokesman said. “No one understands the views of the community colleges more than the chairwoman since she was a former community college president.”

Community college leaders have sought to have the PROSPER Act modified, even as they convey their alarm to Senate lawmakers who are crafting their own higher ed bill. Box said he’s communicated his concerns to lawmakers on the committee and to the Kentucky congressional delegation during multiple trips to Washington.

“I’m hopeful,” he said. “I won’t say that we’ve completely turned the corner on it. But I'm hopeful they have heard us and see the impact that this will cause.”

For-profit colleges, which serve similar groups of students as community colleges, share the same complaints about Title IV repayments in the PROSPER Act.

"We do have similar populations and therefore similar reservations about the direction that they’re potentially going on risk sharing," said Tom Netting, a lobbyist at Akerman LLP who represents clients in the for-profit college sector.

Netting said a number of programs at proprietary institutions, such as cosmetology, have significant up-front costs for items like tool kits. And their students are most likely to drop out early in the academic term, as they are at community colleges. Under the PROSPER Act, for-profits would shoulder all of those high up-front costs, Netting said.

Getting a tweak to the new formula could be an uphill battle for colleges, as Republican sponsors likely will be reluctant to add to the cost of the bill. The Congressional Budget Office last month estimated that PROSPER would reduce federal spending by $14.6 billion over 10 years. About $419 million in savings would be due to the Return to Title IV changes, the CBO estimated. (Two conservative analysts have argued the bill would actually increase spending thanks to higher discretionary spending on Pell Grants.)

The change to Title IV repayments also would have serious effects not just for colleges but for students themselves by changing the order in which federal aid is returned. Currently, colleges return student loan funds first when a student withdraws, then returns “no strings attached” aid like Pell Grants. The PROSPER Act dictates that colleges return grant aid first, then loans. That means more students who drop out could face the prospect of paying back loans they took out to attend before withdrawing. Federal data indicate that the students who are likeliest to default on their loans are those who left college with a small amount of debt but no degree.

“Given that one of the correlating factors predicting default is withdrawal, there's some more analysis that needs to be done there,” said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Barmak Nassirian, one of the sharpest critics of the PROSPER Act, said the bill identifies a real problem -- an overly complicated process for returning federal student aid funds -- but offers an even more harmful response.

“Like so many other provisions of the PROSPER Act it exemplifies, [the proposal] makes an astute identification of a real policy issue and provides a completely unworkable and extremist resolution.”

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Colorado College removes honors for early president, found to have sexually harassed and assaulted many women

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 15 Mar 2018 - 01:00

As William F. Slocum left the presidency of Colorado College a century ago, he was awarded an honorary degree. Two buildings were later named for him, in recognition of the nearly 30 years he served as president, years in which he is widely credited with saving the college from financial distress and making it sustainable.

What wasn't revealed publicly in 1917 was that the board had pressured him to leave after an investigation -- unusual for the time -- produced detailed accounts from numerous women about how he had harassed and in some cases assaulted them. Those investigations came to light last year when Jessy Randall, the college's archivist, found the surviving documents from the era and shared them with others on campus. She had been looking into this history for some time, but made the effort a priority after the Me Too movement drew attention to powerful men using their authority to abuse women.

A blog post she wrote on a non-college website, "Colorado College's Own Harvey Weinstein," introduces selections from her findings. The documents are extraordinary in that women -- in an era when they might well not have been believed -- outlined what Slocum did to them. So many eventually came forward that the college investigated and then forced him out. The testimonies show how trapped and humiliated the women felt, and how Slocum attacked women who were employees or had other ties to the college.

One employee said at the time, “To feel that I have not only been insulted once, but many times, has been a thing which I have had to live with mentally. I have had to put up with ‘handling,’ insinuating looks and insidious familiarities, in many of the private interviews which I have had with him, in obeying his wanting ‘to see me for a few minutes.’ I am unable to express the looks which have left me boiling with a sense of shame and disgrace. The constant need of having his hand on your body, feeling it, are things a woman cannot mistake. A constant desire to always bring the physical side in is always present …

“Another illustration … at the end of a normal conversation, when he asked me if I was engaged, I answered ‘No,’ and like a flash the lights were turned off, and before I was aware of what was happening, I was seized in his arms, and he said, ‘You have got to kiss me.’ The lights were turned off another time, but the second time I was prepared … I have been talked to ‘cold-heartedness,’ which was purely in a physical way.”

This week, the college announced that its current president, Jill Tiefenthaler, conducted an investigation based on the archivist's findings and presented the results to the board.

"Based upon its review of the matter, the board finds that there is overwhelming and uncontroverted evidence that Slocum engaged in instances of sexual misconduct and egregious sexual assault while he was president of the college. Such behavior was reprehensible and is in direct conflict with the mission and values of Colorado College," a college statement said. "Accordingly, the board decided unanimously to rescind the honorary degree bestowed on him in 1917 and has ordered the immediate removal of his name from the residence hall and commons building on the corner of Nevada and Cache la Poudre."

At the same time, the statement said that the college needed to further study other ways Slocum's role at the college is honored at the college.

"Because Slocum also accomplished important and necessary achievements for the college during his tenure, for which he had been recognized as one of our greatest presidents, the board has asked President Tiefenthaler to form a committee of students, faculty, staff, and trustees to recommend ways to represent his full legacy on campus. This should include considering the appropriate placement of his portrait that currently hangs in Palmer Hall. Consistent with our mission and values, the college should neither ignore his accomplishments nor his disturbing flaws," the statement said.

"The board has taken these actions because sexual assault and sexual harassment are unacceptable today, and were unacceptable in Slocum’s time. Such behavior is in direct conflict with CC’s mission and values, and must neither be tolerated nor overlooked."

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Report on email rant from British university's press officer

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 15 Mar 2018 - 01:00

University press officers can put a positive spin on even the most tumultuous events, but what are they really thinking when things don’t go their way?

An extraordinary message from a head of communications to his team, obtained by Times Higher Education, can now give some insight into the normally guarded views of spinners under siege.

In the message, Charles Hymas, who was until recently University College London’s director of media relations, outlines his impressions of an informal meeting about the university’s 483-million-pound ($674 million) plan to build a new campus in east London. At the end, 94 percent of the more than 100 academics present voted that they had no confidence in UCL’s governance.

That motion was raised by Tony Segal, professor of medicine at UCL, and the criticisms did not sit well with Hymas, who previously spent 26 years at The Sunday Times.

In his email, written Feb. 14, Hymas describes how “Professor I’m Not Pursuing a Vendetta Man” told the meeting that he “was not pursuing a vendetta … [but] then proceeded to stick the knife into the provost [Michael Arthur] and the chair of council Dame DeAnne Julius for their autocratic bullying rule which had left the entire … UCL academic community cowed into a blithering jelly of fear.”

“Professor I’m Not Pursuing a Vendetta Man was preaching to the converted, who hung on his every word and clapped every single twist of the knife,” Hymas continues.

His invective against “business interests sullying the white sepulchre of academia” was met with such rapturous support that the meeting “turned into something more akin to a Roman amphitheatre where any slave felt to be worshipping the God Mammon was going to be bayed down by the bloodthirsty crowd,” recounts Hymas.

“Despite my best efforts to press as many No buttons as I could in order to swing the vote in favor of reason, we went crashing down to a 94 [percent] to 6 [percent] vote,” Hymas adds.

Indeed, there was “such a frenzy of hatred against the evil management of UCL that they would have made a blind, three-legged elephant provost” by the end, he says.

The encounter led him to speculate about the wisdom of -- metaphorically -- using a “sharpened medical scalpel [to] take out a sensitive part of Professor I’m Not Pursuing a Vendetta Man’s anatomy without an anaesthetic.”

Hymas’s wrath was not confined to Segal, describing the meeting’s chair, Lord Young of Graffham, as having the “smug patrician air of a multimillionaire Tory businessman.” An unnamed earth science professor who claimed that “producing one brilliant paper a year [was] what true academia was about” was derided as “Professor I’m a True Intellectual.”

A UCL spokesman said that the email was “not sanctioned by UCL and [its author] has left to pursue other opportunities,” adding that the university had apologized “to all those affected.”

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 15 Mar 2018 - 01:00
  • Bard College at Simon’s Rock: April Ryan, White House reporter for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN political analyst.
  • Colorado College: Nancy Nagel Gibbs, the Broadway producer.
  • Hood College: Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress.
  • Hudson County Community College: Deborah Roberts of ABC News.
  • New College of Florida: Margee M. Ensign, president of Dickinson College.
  • Salem State University: Brian McGrory, editor of The Boston Globe; James O’Shanna Morton, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston; and Kim Gassett-Schiller, higher education advocate and philanthropist.
  • Skidmore College: Alison Bechdel, the author; Robert S. D. Higgins, surgeon in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Christopher B. Mann, assistant professor of political science.
  • Soka University: Susi Snyder, nuclear disarmament program manager for PAX No Nukes in the Netherlands.
  • State University of New York at Geneseo: David Gallo, the oceanographer.
  • Trinity College, in Connecticut: Johnnetta B. Cole, former president of Spelman College and Bennett College.
  • University of Southern California: Siddhartha Mukherjee, the physician and author.
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology: Houssam Sleiman, director of capital programs and environmental affairs at Massachusetts Port Authority-Logan International Airport.
  • Widener University: Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and Major Heather “Lucky” Penney, who was part of the first wave of women who went directly into fighter planes from pilot training.
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Dylann Roof's Sister Accused Of Having Weapons At School During National Walkouts

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 23:08
On Snapchat, 18-year-old Morgan Roof said she hoped the protests were "a trap and y'all get shot."

At A Troubled School In The Bronx, The Student Walkout Was A Miss

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 20:05
Vulnerable students don't always have the privilege to protest.

Trump Fails To Publicly Acknowledge Massive School Walkouts

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 19:51
He did tweet once about a school safety bill that doesn't restrict guns.

A City Struggling With Gun Violence Confronts The Firearms Manufacturer In Its Midst

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 18:25
Students rallied outside Smith & Wesson to pressure the company and claim a voice for communities where gun violence extends far beyond school shootings.

White Students Allegedly Tied Black Classmate To Lamppost And Whipped Him

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 15:52
The alleged incident in Bath, England, has been described as a “mock slave auction.”

Parkland Community Supports Students During Walkout

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 14:51
Family and friends cheered them on from the sidelines.

Parents Of 12-Year-Old Say Son Killed Himself After Being Bullied Over Sexuality

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 12:52
Andrew Leach had told classmates he thought he was bisexual, his father said.

This Teacher Went To Stoneman Douglas. Now She's Watching Her Students Fight For Her Alma Mater.

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 11:29
Hundreds of Jessica Stillman's students participated in the National School Walkout on Wednesday.

Teacher's Gun Goes Off In Lesson About Gun Safety, Injuring 3

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 11:16
"It could have been very bad," said a man whose son came home with bullet fragments in his neck.

By Focusing On Dyslexia, We Ignore Other Struggling Readers

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 10:02
The needs of some children are prioritized while those of others are massively subverted.

These Photos Show The Strength Of Students As They Protest Gun Violence

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 09:12
Images from school walkouts across the country.

Make Every Class Sex Ed Class

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 07:00
Sex ed is cordoned off and considered a joke. Schools should integrate it into every other class, from science to English lit.

Today Is The National School Walkout To End Gun Violence. Read Live Updates Here.

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 05:50
Thousands of students are expected to participate in the protest.

These Students Aren't Joining The National Walkout To Protest Gun Violence. Here's Why.

Huffington Post - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 03:45
Politics, safety concerns and threats of disciplinary action are just some of the reasons these teens won't demonstrate with their classmates on Wednesday.

Pressure mounts on colleges' ties to the firearms industry

Inside Higher Education - Mié, 14 Mar 2018 - 01:00

A revitalized movement pressuring colleges to distance themselves from firearms manufacturers scored a significant victory Tuesday when a high-ranking administrator left St. Thomas University in Florida amid intense pressure over her new seat on a gun company’s board of directors.

Anita Britt, the chief financial and administrative officer at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, chose to step down from her CFO position in order to remain on the board of American Outdoor Brands, which is the former Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. Britt had been a St. Thomas trustee and co-chaired the advisory board for its school of business for five years before being named CFO this January. She then sparked heated public debate by accepting a position on the American Outdoor Brands board in February.

University officials at first backed Britt after her new role on the gun maker’s board came to light this month. But they changed their opinion this week, when the institution’s president, Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, told Britt she needed to choose between her role at the company and St. Thomas.

She resigned from the university.

Her resignation came on the eve of a national walkout of high school and college students planned for today to protest gun violence. It also comes as some money managers report that their college and university clients are quietly exploring ways to pull money out of firearm manufacturers’ stocks after last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla. -- and as some faculty members are advocating against investing in guns.

The developments represent renewed interest in a branch of the divestiture movement that had lost momentum in recent years as calls for colleges to pull their endowments and retirement funds from gun manufacturers faded in comparison to more successful efforts to force them to divest from fossil fuel companies. Many colleges remain silent on where their money is invested, however, and it’s still too soon to say whether the revitalized movement will have any more success than previous firearm divestment efforts that lost steam after mass killings in 2015 and 2012.

St. Thomas found itself one of the flashpoints in the anti-gun movement last week after the Miami New Times reported Britt had been appointed a director of American Outdoor Brands and that an online petition was asking her to resign from the company. American Outdoor Brands allegedly manufactured the AR-15 that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz used, according to the New Times. The petition gathered hundreds of signatures.

At first, Britt’s job at the university appeared safe. A Friday letter from St. Thomas's president, Monsignor Casale, said the university has a policy aligning with one adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “calling for reasonable approaches to gun violence.” American Outdoor Brands, he wrote, “supports the development of effective solutions to make our communities safer while protecting the rights of the law-abiding firearm owner.” He also pointed to a statement from the company saying it “shares the nation’s grief” over the Parkland shooting.

Britt would be staying at the university, Monsignor Casale wrote.

“Ms. Britt’s position with American Outdoor Brands provides her the opportunity to participate in helping the company achieve its objectives of making our communities safer,” he wrote. “Her role with the company does not conflict with her responsibilities here at St. Thomas. Ms. Britt’s contributions to our organization are noteworthy, and we look forward to her continued participation in our leadership.”

The public pressure continued to mount. A columnist wrote in the Miami Herald that Britt’s commitments to both a Roman Catholic institution and a gun manufacturer should have raised eyebrows and that Monsignor Casale was condoning the affiliation with a list of National Rifle Association talking points. The university’s faculty were also holding votes of disagreement with administrators.

Monsignor Casale reversed course.

“After my statement of this past Friday, it has become clear that many of the sensible and reasonable solutions to this gun epidemic, which have been discussed previously, were becoming less and less clear,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “Accordingly, yesterday I advised Ms. Britt that she needed to make a choice of either resigning her role on American Outdoor Brands, or her role as CFO at St. Thomas University, but that she could not continue on both. Ms. Britt informed me this afternoon that she has decided to resign her position at St. Thomas University. I have accepted Ms. Britt’s resignation as CFO of St. Thomas University.”

St. Thomas did not disclose Britt’s salary, but the university’s last CFO made about $250,000 from the university and related organizations, according to its latest publicly available federal tax form, for the year ending in June 2016.

When American Outdoor Brands announced Britt’s appointment as a company director, it disclosed that she was granted 9,514 shares of restricted stock units vesting monthly, to be delivered in February 2019. If the stock were to continue trading in its recent range -- about $10.60 per share -- those shares would be worth approximately $100,800. The company also pays directors $70,000 retainers. Britt is in line for another $8,000 because she was expected to serve on the company board’s audit committee.

Whether colleges are taking action on divesting from firearm stocks is far less apparent than St. Thomas’s staffing move. A college has yet to step up and publicly proclaim a gun divestiture after the Parkland shooting. Most of the country’s wealthiest schools remain loath to discuss their investments. Some colleges have even continued to honor agreements with donors who hold positions at the highest level of the National Rifle Association.

Nonetheless, anecdotal reports from money managers indicate colleges are inquiring about ways to divest from firearms. Interest in divestment has spiked in recent weeks, according to Debashis Chowdhury, president at Canterbury Consulting, an investment advising firm managing about $18 billion of assets for endowments, foundations, health care organizations and families.

Donors and parents were asking colleges about their exposure to gun makers or their policy on investing in them, Chowdhury said. Colleges in turn started inquiring with Canterbury. They were also asking about other companies, such as retailers, that profit from gun sales.

The foundation and endowment leaders appear to have grown more serious about socially responsible investing and environmental, social and governance criteria, Chowdhury said. They were more prepared to start asking questions after the Parkland shooting.

“The reaction led to a call for, at a minimum, greater awareness and, at maximum, action,” Chowdhury said.

It’s not necessarily easy for endowments or retirement funds to eliminate exposure to firearm stocks, however. Those stocks are often included in in-demand funds like index funds that represent broad sections of the market. Administrators who make decisions for endowments and retirement plans need to act as fiduciaries seeking the best returns possible, and index funds can be a key part of that.

As a result, many dismiss divestment campaigns or claim they are financially irresponsible. But there is a growing backlash from advocates who say avoiding companies that have negative social or environmental impacts is a good strategy for maximizing returns over the long run. Plus, it has become easier for investment managers to screen for exposure to potentially undesirable holdings in recent years, as new data and screening tools hit the market, Chowdhury said.

Debate also continues over whether divestment movements actually have an impact on companies when other investors are willing to scoop up stocks that are being sold without regard for a company’s social impact. Under that line of reasoning, large funds would have more influence if they tried to use their shareholder voting rights to influence company boards’ policies.

Some large money managers have started publicly grappling with their role in corporate behavior. New York-based BlackRock -- which last year made headlines when it ramped up its college business by winning Arizona State’s $600 million endowment -- posted a lengthy statement in March saying it offers clients products that exclude firearms manufacturers and is also engaging with gun manufacturers and retailers about their business policies.

A recent letter by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink also nodded to a broad move questioning how the private sector addresses social changes.

“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”

Critics allege institutions aren’t moving quickly enough. Some of the largest money managers, like TIAA and Vanguard, have been targets of online petitions.

One petition started by a college professor calls for TIAA to “divest completely from military-style weapon manufacturers.” As of Tuesday, it had slightly more than 4,000 signatures toward a goal of 5,000. Rebecca Dyer, an associate professor of English at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., started it.

Dyer wants to distance herself and her retirement fund from weapons manufacturers, she said. At the same time, she knows one person’s investment decisions aren’t enough to influence corporate policy.

Group pressure is needed to generate any change, Dyer said. She’s been following the issue of guns on campus and university-backed funds investing in weapons manufacturers since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. So she’s watched other gun-divestiture movements surge and fade away.

“People will not let this one slide,” she said. “So I really felt we should take advantage of this moment and not let people forget again until the next mass shooting.”

TIAA has numerous accounts for clients who prefer to minimize exposure to firearms manufacturers, according to an email from a spokesman. It offers funds and accounts applying environmental, social and governance criteria in selecting securities and that “do not include companies that manufacture firearms as their primary source of revenue,” he said.

Most Vanguard funds do not include firearm stocks, according to a spokeswoman. Out of 388 funds, 359 do not directly invest in the top three gun manufacturers -- Vista Outdoor, American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger. Most that do are index products that attempt to track benchmarks set by independent third parties.

A “small handful” of college and university clients asked Vanguard about divesting, the spokeswoman said. The company has yet to notice any changes in asset allocation as a result of those inquiries, though.

The history of firearms divestment is mixed at colleges and universities. The University of California fund sold gun stocks after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. The system currently does not have any investments in firearms or firearm distribution, according to a spokeswoman.

On the other hand, Boston University’s board decided in 2015 not to divest from civilian firearms manufacturers. The idea had been germinating since the Sandy Hook shooting and was eventually recommended by a board Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. But the full Board of Trustees was unable to reach a strong consensus, and its 14-member executive committee opted not to divest.

When the university divests from a company or type of company, it risks undermining its goal of creating an academic environment of free inquiry, wrote the board’s chair at the time, Robert Knox -- who is a senior managing director at Cornerstone Equity Investors in Stamford, Conn. Divestment actions should only take place in circumstances where social harms caused by companies are clearly unacceptable and where the benefits of divesting outweigh the potential consequences, he wrote.

The decision prompted some students to launch the BU Campaign to Divest from Firearms. But the campaign was not able to enough gain traction to succeed.

“They really kind of closed the books on the issue and were not especially interested in opening up new conversations,” said Lindsay Fuori, one of the students who was active in the divestment campaign, who is now a senior at the university.

Boston University has no direct investments in civilian firearm manufacturers, a spokeswoman said. Its Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing has not discussed any new proposals on firearm divestment.

Divestment campaigns are difficult because the students who often drive them are inexperienced at lobbying and don’t always know their way around the complex web of administrators and decision makers at colleges, Fuori said.

“At the end of the day, people who are fighting are students,” Fuori said. “It takes a significant organization to build up that movement so there are enough people to carry it out. That has a lot to do with why there are so many movements that have fizzled out.”

The BU campaign had difficulty getting information about whether the university invested in firearms manufacturers. Such reluctance to share details is common.

Inside Higher Ed queried institutions with the country’s 15 largest endowments Tuesday, asking whether they have had discussions about divesting from gun manufacturers and requesting information on any holdings they have in companies that make firearms. Of those responding, most said they do not comment on individual investments.

Only Northwestern University, Texas A&M University, the University of California system and the University of Michigan indicated they do not have investments in firearm manufacturers.

Endowments generally stick to blanket policies restricting information on their holdings, Bloomberg reported Feb. 28 after contacting 42 universities. The University of Texas Investment Management Co. has a policy banning investments advancing “social or political purposes,” but its endowment office did not say whether it held gun-related investments, Bloomberg noted.

Still, those who have watched previous campaigns dry up say there is reason to wonder if this time will be different. Many smaller groups have combined into larger groups, Fuori said.

“These little grassroots organizations are people realizing in their communities that this is an issue,” she said. “It takes time for them to understand how to approach that issue.”

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