Arizona’s public university system is divesting millions of dollars of Russian assets it has on its balance sheet, the latest institution to cut ties with the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, the Arizona Board of Trustees, which oversees Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, directed the presidents of each school to start selling the Russian investments they own, as well as removing those Russian assets from the schools. ‘ associated pension schemes.
“With today’s action, the board repudiates Putin’s aggression and ensures that Arizona’s public university corporation divests of all Russian assets,” the board chairman said. Regents, Lyndel Manson, in a statement, which condemned “in the strongest possible terms the illegal invasion of the sovereign nation by Vladimir Putin”. of Ukraine and the apparent targeting of civilian populations”.
The decision will mean the sale of millions of dollars of Russia-related investments. ASU has about $2.3 million in Russian investments, according to school officials, while the University of Arizona has about $1.5 million.
Despite the token nature of the handover, none of the universities initially owned much of the Russian assets, often amounting to less than one percent of their massive portfolios.
About 1.7 million Ukrainians fled the conflict, according to the United Nations, and the invasion caused a major flight of capital from Russia.
American academic institutionsas well as fossil fuel companies, entertainment conglomerates and others, have all severed their ties with Russia.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, ended its research partnership with the Russian government, which aimed to create a Silicon Valley-style technology hub in the country through the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.
“This step is a rejection of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said of the decision. “We take this with deep regret due to our great respect for the Russian people and our deep appreciation for the contributions of the many amazing Russian colleagues we have worked with.”
Others, such as Middlebury College, have ceased their study abroad programs in Russia for the time being.
Still others, like the University of Colorado system, have pursued divestment efforts similar to those of their Arizona counterparts.
“Like so many others, we watched with horror as this invasion brought senseless violence and aggression to the region,” University of Colorado President Todd Saliman said, announcing CU’s decision. “We are looking for ways to show our support for the Ukrainian people and believe that reducing our investments is the right thing to do.”
The governors of Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and California have called on their states’ public employee pension funds to divest Russian assets, earmarking billions of dollars in investments.