University to stop HEI investments
The decision was met with swift approval by rights group UNITE HERE, which claims that HEI “has a growing record of exploitative labor practices at their hotels.” Princeton for Workers’ Rights has also strongly advocated that the University remove its investments in HEI in light of the allegations.
The company has strongly denied those claims, most recently in a Dec. 15 Letter to the Editor to the ‘Prince.’ “HEI has never been found to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act,” HEI senior vice president Nigel Hurst wrote. “HEI’s demonstrated performance in this area is superior to that of the collective performance of our industry peers.”
Golden said in an email that the decision was “based purely on business reasons, and it would be absolutely wrong to infer that PRINCO had concluded that HEI was out of compliance with regulations or industry standards.”
At the Feb. 23 meeting of the University Resources Committee when the decision was first announced Golden added that the decision was not a result of student advocacy. “While some students have urged the University to curtail its investments in HEI, the issues underlying the students’ recommendation have not met the standards outlined in the [University’s investment] guidelines,” according to minutes from the meeting.
Nevertheless, students who had been active in the campaign said they supported the University’s decision.
“A major component of our campaign against HEI for the past three years has been those violations,” Ian Carlin ’12 said.
Seongcheol Kim ’14, who was involved in this campaign at the time, said the University saw a resurgence in the HEI campaign in the fall semester.
“Students from Occupy Princeton contributed heavily in the more recent actions (i.e. in December), which I unfortunately wasn’t able to be part of, and I think their engagement and support were crucial,” Kim said in an email.
The movement for divestment of HEI funds has swept across a number of college campuses. At Dartmouth on Tuesday, 10 students called for the college to stop investing in HEI. In December, Harvard responded to public criticism by saying it will review “HEI’s business practices and policies.”