With no more Goldman Sachs info sessions left to mic check, Occupy Princeton has turned to occupying dining halls.
Last Thursday, members of Occupy Princeton sat in on a talk held in the Forbes dining room by Andrew Golden, who has been president of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO) for 17 years.
Golden, who dubs himself the “Accidental One-percenter,” intended to discuss how he went from being a photographer with a philosophy major to a successful investor. He did not expect to spend the Q&A session engaged in a heated debate about the University’s investments in HEI Hospitality, a hotel management company accused of unfair labor practices.
Members of Occupy Princeton, who handed out news clips detailing HEI’s attempts to discourage worker unionization to other students before the talk, questioned Golden’s commitment to social investment given HEI’s record of labor violations. The students argued that Princeton should follow the example set by schools such as Yale, Brown, and UPenn, who have also declined to reinvest in HEI.
Golden, however, said that HEI had a clean record relative to other investments (though he would not say which ones) and that the investment decisions made by other Ivies were purely “business decisions.”
At one point, the Q&A escalated to a point where Golden and a member of Occupy Princeton were yelling at each other, prompting another student to stand up and force everyone to calm down. “I was actually afraid that a fight was going to break out,” commented one non-Occupy student after the talk.
Despite the tension, Golden invited the students to attend a PRINCO Resource Committee Meeting later that night, where surprisingly, Golden announced that Princeton would not reinvest in HEI.
Of course, it was purely a “business decision.”
Here’s a video of Golden’s announcement: