Faculty Senate welcomes Chief Investment Officer Amy Falls, talks future of divestment proposals

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File graphic by Meher Yeda

Amy Falls. The new VP and CIO spoke briefly at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting about her plans for the University’s Investment Office.

Maia Pandey, Assistant Campus Editor

Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Amy Falls spoke at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting about her vision for the role of the Investment Office in the Northwestern community.

Falls, who stepped into her role in early May, also committed to a comprehensive presentation of University investments at a Faculty Senate meeting this fall.

“I do not believe in the separate management company model, and I certainly don’t believe in investment officers being off-campus or in financial centers,” Falls said. “I think it’s critical that the Investment Office be profoundly part of the community.”

Psychology Prof. David Uttal, a member of the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibilities, said the committee hopes to work with Falls to take “a more proactive and activist approach” to enacting change in University investments.

The group was at a standstill after the Board of Trustees rejected a proposal in February for the University to divest from top 100 coal and oil and gas companies. The proposal was spearheaded by Fossil Free NU and supported by ACIR, Uttal said.

However, Uttal said the distinction between Fossil Free and ACIR is important to note — the committee no longer plans to push for divestment because the Board of Trustees does not currently support it.

“We do believe in responsible environmental investing, and we’ll find as many ways to do that as we can,” Uttal said, “but if students continue to insist on the divestment, it would be good for faculty members who hold a similar commitment, and have connections or communication with the board, to support them in that endeavor.” 

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