NewsCovering Colorado


Governor Polis asks colleges and universities to divest of Russian investments

Gov. Jared Polis (D)
Posted at 12:36 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 08:13:58-05

DENVER, Colorado — Colorado Governor Jared Polis sent a letter to colleges and universities in our state on Tuesday asking them to examine their investment portfolios and to divest any Russian state-owned assets. The request for financial decoupling comes after the Russian military invaded Ukraine last week.

"I know that we share our condemnation of Russia's actions and will move together to ensure that Colorado's dollars are not used to support the Russian Government," Mr. Polis wrote.

Letters were sent to Adams State University, Colorado Community Colleges, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Fort Lewis College, Metropolitan State University, University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, and Western Colorado University.

The letters request that these institutions divest their endowments of any Russian-owned assets, terminate all contracts with the Russian government, and terminate all grants in which the Russian government or Russian institutions of higher education are the primary beneficiaries.

"Colorado will not turn its head. We will take affirmative actions to support Ukrainians and hold Russia accountable," Governor Polis wrote.

The University of Colorado System also announced that it had moved to liquidate investments in Russian companies. The university's investments in publicly traded Russian companies are held by both the CU Foundation and the university's treasury pool.

Fund managers with the CU Foundation are in the process of selling these securities which make up less than 0.1 percent of its $2.6 billion Long-Term Investment Pool.

The university also invested in mutual funds that have
equity holdings in Russia. The roughly $3.5 million invested is less than 0.25 percent of the total assets under management.

"These are small but important steps we can take as a university
to stand with the people of Ukraine at this hour," Jack Kroll, chairman of the CU Board of Regents, said in an article of CUConnections which will be published Thursday.

The article also explains that faculty across the four campuses within the system are not currently conducting research funded by Russian entities. Likewise, they are not sending funds to Russian entities as part of any research project.

A spokesperson for Pikes Peak Community College explained that all of the assets for Colorado's Community College system are managed by the state treasury and have no connection with the Russian government.

Greg Hoye, a spokesman for Colorado State University-Pueblo said that CSU System intends to comply with the Governor's order. However, the schools within the system don't have the financial connections the governor wrote about.

"We have no research projects sponsored by Russian entities; we have no Russian assets invested in our endowments, and we don't have any active partnerships with Russian universities," a statement from the CSU System reads.

"We do have 14 students across our System from the impacted region, and our focus is currently on supporting all of them during an extremely stressful time."

In a statement to News 5, the Governor's Office explained that this order will not impact EVRAZ Operations in Pueblo or their relationship with Pueblo Community College. The college received $800,000 as part of an incentive package announced by Pueblo Economic Development Corporation to create a job-training program for working at the new long-rail mill.

"EVRAZ North America is based in the U.S. and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EVRAZ Plc. which is a publicly-traded company on the London Stock Exchange meaning they have thousands of owners from across the world," the statement reads. "While there are some wealthy Russians that own a chunk of stock in Evraz, if their assets were frozen or restricted it would likely not impact Evraz operations, and of course relations between Evraz and Pueblo Community College are not affected."

The statement continues by stating that the Governor's actions are focused on how the state can review and terminate contacts with Russian state-owned companies that are contractors or subcontractors of the state.

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