HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY COMMITTEE
In March of 2000, President Michael McPherson charged the Long Range Planning Committee to advise him and the College on the College’s social responsibilities as an economic actor. A subcommittee named the Social Responsibility Committee was formed.
He asked the trustee, faculty, staff, student committee to offer advice on appropriate labor standards for companies that supply products to Macalester. Then President McPherson was interested in adopting a Code of Conduct for Macalester College and the licensees and producers that work with the College. The Student Labor Action Coalition had previously developed a draft code.
The Committee was also asked for advice on whether to sign the Talloires Declaration, a statement which would commit the College to certain principles and practices regarding environmental issues.
This initial Committee completed its work, providing recommendations for a Code of Conduct and signature on the Talloires Declaration, in the Fall of 2000.
In April 2004, President Brian Rosenberg revived the Social Responsibility Committee as an avenue for healthy discussion on issues of significant implications for responsible institutional behavior. The revamped Committee was modeled after the 2000 subcommittee and the late 1980’s Board of Trustee Committee on Divestment in South Africa.
Agenda Items from Past Years
- Supported Student Endowment Responsibility Committee proposal to petition the SEC requiring corporations to disclose political activities to shareholders.
- Did not support the MPIRG Economic Justice Task Force requests to develop ethical travel policy, boycott HEI hotels and divest current and/or refrain from investing in HEI companies.
- Endorsed Higher Education as a Pathway to Naturalization (not Dream Act per se) (Adalante proposal)
- Discussed Unite Here – HEI Labor Dispute (MPIRG proposal)
- Discussed ethical travel policy (MPIRG proposal)
- Discussed campus catering unused food disposal options (staff concern)
- Deferred concern about trash/recycling contract to Facilities Management ad hoc committee (faculty/staff proposal)
- Recommended Bottled Water Limited Use Policy
- Supported Student Investment Advisory Group
- Reviewed College’s socially responsible purchasing efforts
- Monitored Apparel Code of Conduct compliance
- Discussed bottled water policy
- Refined committee’s issue review process
- Worked with investment office to publish indexes with Macalester holdings
- Reviewed Apparel Purchasing Code of Conduct
· Review College stance on Coca Cola labor conditions.
· Monitored implementation of the Designated Supplier Program.
· Responded to Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy Draft.
· Recommended ban on Russell apparel purchasing.
· Acted upon Endowment Transparency Proposal.
· Recommended Macalester support the principles of the Designated Supplier Program.
· Recommended Macalester support the Sudan Divestment Policy.
· Discussion on College investment/opportunity for proxy voting.
· Revision of Apparel Code of Conduct reporting process. Revised Committee charge and procedures.
· Recommendation that Coca Cola products not be sold through campus vending machines.
· Discussion of Social Responsibility Research Assistant and Community Investing Assistant (2 student employment positions).
· Preliminary discussion on the Macalester Community Banking proposal.
· Review of College’s investment policies/use of screens/account managers.
· Review of Apparel Purchasing Code of Conduct.
· Discussion of ISS Proxy Season Preview (investments).
· Received SLAC proposal on Cintas (custodial uniform vendor).
· Review of Talloires Declaration to determine if College is meeting commitment.
· Recommendation on Coca Cola – request WRC investigate allegation of Coca Cola facilities (workers rights) in Columbia.
· Discussion of Fair Trade and implications for Macalester.
· Recommendation on Workers Rights Consortium (SLAC) and sweatshop.
· College’s commitment to environmental issues (Talloires Declaration).