The policy on Sudan Divestment applies to the invested assets of University of Wisconsin System Trust Funds.
The purpose of this policy is to prevent, to the extent possible, making or retaining investments that would provide support to the government of Sudan. The policy was introduced in 2006 due to the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Darfur sponsored by the Sudanese government and is intended to remain in place as long as such conditions persist.
The policy of the UW System Board of Regents is to join in concert with other institutional investors, states, municipalities, and the U.S. government in restricting and discouraging business activity that provides support to the current government of Sudan, due to acts of genocide or “ethnic cleansing” which have occurred in that country. The Board’s policy related to Sudan divestment is as follows:
- The invested assets of the University of Wisconsin System held in separately managed accounts, over which the Board of Regents serves as trustees and fiduciaries, shall not be invested in companies (“targeted companies”) which either directly or through an affiliated instrumentality meet the following criteria:
- Provide revenues to the Sudanese government through business with the government, government-owned companies, or government-controlled consortiums.
- Offer little substantive benefit to those outside of the Sudanese government or its affiliated supporters in Khartoum, Northern Sudan and the Nile River Valley; this “outside” population specifically includes the country’s disaffected Eastern, Southern, and Western regions.
- Have either demonstrated complicity in the Darfur genocide or have not taken any substantial action to halt the genocide. Substantial action shall include but is not limited to curtailment of operations or public pressure on the Sudanese government. Simple company statements shall not constitute evidence of substantial action.
- Provide military equipment, arms, or defense supplies to any domestic party in Sudan, including the Sudanese government and rebels.
- Non-investment in such companies will require divestment of current holdings and the screening out of such companies’ securities so as to prevent future investment in them.
- Investment is permissible in companies which, either directly or through an affiliated instrumentality, provide services clearly dedicated to social development for the whole country. Such entities include, but are not limited to those providing medicine and medical equipment, agricultural supplies and agricultural infrastructure, educational opportunities, journalism-related activities, and general consumer goods.
- Where invested assets are held in commingled or mutual fund accounts, letters are to be submitted to the contracted investment management firms requesting that the manager consider either adopting a similar Sudan-free investment policy for the existing fund, or consider creating a comparable separate commingled fund devoid of companies targeted as a result of this resolution. In the event that the manager introduces a comparable separate Sudan-free fund, the Board shall direct that all assets in the existing fund be transferred into the newly available, Sudan-free fund.
- If it is determined that a company, which had previously been a targeted company, has ceased business operations with Sudan or its instrumentalities, then that company shall no longer be subjected to divestment and/or screening.
- In the event that the government of Sudan sufficiently halts the ongoing genocide in Darfur for at least 12 months, as determined jointly by the State Department and Congress of the United States, the provisions of this resolution shall expire.
- In the event that the United States revokes its current sanctions against Sudan, the provisions of this resolution shall expire.
- The policy established by this resolution will be communicated to the various foundations which support University of Wisconsin campuses, so that the foundations may consider adopting similar policies.
- Nothing in this resolution shall alter or diminish existing fiduciary or statutory obligations and other terms, conditions, and limitations on the investment of entrusted assets for the exclusive benefit and interest of beneficiaries, participants, and donors.
- The Board directs University of Wisconsin System Administration staff to annually review the situation in Sudan and the status of U.S. sanctions, and report to the Board if and when there have been changes that would suggest this policy be rescinded.
Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities
UW System Administration is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy, monitoring the situation in Sudan/Darfur, and reporting to the Board on any changes that might suggest the policy be expired in accordance with sections 6 and 7. The Regent Business and Finance Committee is responsible for determining if the conditions for expiration have been sufficiently met.
Related RPDs and Applicable Laws
RPD 31-13, Social Responsibility Investment Considerations
History: Res. 9237, adopted 08/18/2006, created Regent Policy Document 06-2, subsequently renumbered 31-16. Res. 10120, adopted 10/05/2012. Res. 10835, adopted 03/09/2017, authorized technical corrections.