Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Mountain Justice has accused board members Rhonda Cohen ’76 and Samuel Hayes III ’57 of conflicts of interest due to being current and former directors of Glenmede and Eaton Vance, respectively. Glenmede and Eaton Vance are both investment management companies with holdings in the energy sector, which is at the crux of Mountain Justice’s claims of conflict of interest.
However, Glenmede and Eaton Vance’s holdings in the energy sector are comparable with the S&P 500, a broad market index that contains large 500 publicly-traded companies in the United States. Both Glenmede and Eaton Vance have energy as their 7th largest sector as of December 31 2015, according to www.whalewisdom.com. The ‘economic ties’ with fossil fuels is no deeper than if someone were to invest in a Vanguard S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF) that mirrors general market conditions and provides diversification. Exxon Mobil is the third-largest constituent of the S&P 500, being the 4th largest company by market capitalization.
You can read more of The Daily Gazette‘s examination of Mountain Justice’s claims regarding certain Board members’ conflict of interest here.