Endowment Transparency at Duke: a Qualitative Analysis and Assessment of Strategies Lucas Spangher
Background: Deductive/Philosophical Framework 1.Transparency of an organization allows for more third-party scrutiny 2.Organizations in scrutiny will behave more in accordance with the current goals of society 3.Duke’s endowment is closed Fighting for a transparent endowment at Duke will increase responsibility of investments
Background Duke Endowment: “perverse but clever move”  – As stated in Philanthropy Journal, “Six years ago, three- quarters of the foundation’s assets were tied to Duke Energy,….the foundation now has 16% of its assets in power company stocks.”  – The Herald Sun chronicles a protest against this . – “Duke Energy was raising the power rates something like 25 or 27 cents; something substantial in Durham, which is full of poor folk who can’t afford it.” 
Research Questions What role can campus activism play in increasing the transparency of Duke’s endowment? – What factors impact administrator’s decisions? – What specific strategies will work best at Duke? i.e., How can we most efficiently make Duke’s endowment transparent?
Tradition of Inquiry Mixed Methods: Material Review, Interviews, minimal use of quantitative data Epistemology: Assume that there is a reality that is imperfectly understood. Constructivist perspective.  READ: The reality is more perfectly understood by some then others, and that those are the ones that are least likely to talk to me. Understanding of reality Likelihood of agreeing to interview
Material Review 1. Research/Formal Verification of Issue 
Tradition of Inquiry 2. Selection of Comparison School
Interviews Duke – Robel: Current Harvard PhD student in EOS, former Duke Activist – Alvarez: graduating Duke Activist – Capps: Director of Sustainability – Williams: Student involved in Occupy – McDaneils: Professor involved with endowment Dartmouth – Carey: Professor of Political Econ – Kerr: Director of Sustainability – Hammond: Manager of Dartmouth Endowment – Szykpo: Campus Farm – Karen: ECO NVivo9 used to code and systematically analyze all interview transcripts and external docs
Results Duke’s Recent Endowment Transparency Sept 2008 June 2009 Alvarez. Robel, others launch movement  6 campus groups sign on, begin written campaign  6 campus groups sign on, begin written campaign  Meetings with DSG begin  Demonstrat ions and petitions started, 300 signatures  Meetings with Brodhead fail  Meetings with Brodhead fail “Direct Action” begins and ends  Chronicle Editorial written, sparks student outrage [4, 7] DSG loses interest  Sources: , , 
Results Dartmouth Endowment Transparency Nov 1985 June 1986 Students raise awareness about $63 million in Apartheid  Shantytown erected in Dartmouth’s campus  Dartmouth conservatives sledgehammer shantytown  Response: classes cancelled, students call for expulsion, 30 hour student occupation of Student Building, LA Times, NYTimes, etc.; Schools is seen as promoting racism. Massive international outcry  Shantytown ordered unoccupied, students link arms and are arrested  Meetings with Brodhead fail BOT votes to divest and open investments  2 sit-ins with President 2 sit-ins with President  Sources: , , 
Themes Those with experience in activism at Duke seem less likely to trust Duke’s administration to be responsive to students – “[From 1 to 10 with 10 as perfectly receptive, Duke’s admin is a] 2, 3 maybe? I don’t have much faith in the administration’s willingness to actually do stuff.”  – “President Brodhead is an [explicative]. I think that, in today’s climate, taking [social] approach would be a waste.” 
Themes Comparison of the two cases: – Neither featured students prominently involved with mainstream campus culture initially ‘Dartmouth Committee to Beautify the Green Before Winter Carnival’  DSG, DCR, PanHell formally decline to support Duke’s push; vs. BDU, SDS, Students against Sweatshops, etc.  – Dartmouth: “clear and present danger” of racist administration
Strategies at Duke What worked at Dartmouth: ‘Critical mass’ of students that brought outside attention; University looked repressive – “Huge amount of public scrutiny. [Student outrage] was alive and kicking”.  – “Public Media attention created huge pressure for the administration and the trustees”.  Based on a chance event out of control of the student activists
Strategies at Duke Administrative Responsiveness – Duke “From 1 to 10 with 10 as perfectly receptive, [Duke’s administration] is a 2, 3 maybe?” “I don’t have much faith in the administration’s willingness to actually do stuff” . – Dartmouth “I find the administration to be very unresponsive. I'd probably give it a 3 or 4 or something” . “I’m on Dartmouth’s ACIR [Academic Council for Investment Responsibility]…They listen intermittently to the student’s recommendations.” . – State Schools
Results General Model of Campus affairs ? Financial Base: “structures pertaining to capital”  Public image: “Entity becomes its own body of criticism and praise” Increase in public image “increases alumni donation”  The higher earning an institution, the “more it is valued”  Better performance increases future performance Possible ave for interven.
Strategies at Duke Favor behind the scenes work – “[Direct action] can wait until you’ve exhausted all of the behind the scenes work”  – “There is really no broad interest in doing anything that could hurt the endowment”  – “Sadly, capitalist powers [are controlling the administration]”  – “I think it would be important to target a group of alumni and show that you have powerful stakeholders behind you” 
Action Plan 1.Start out Cooperatively 1.Req. deadline 2.Attack the Economic Feedback Loop 1.Alumni Donations 2.Powerful Sponsors 3.Involve the Students 1.Parent sponsors, etc. 4.Direct Action and Public Attention 5.Compromise
Appendix: Arguments against 1.Economic Returns 2.Closed Securities and Hedge funds 3.“Critical Mass” of viewers needed 4.Practical Value
Limitations Inexperience with interviewing in the beginning of the study and a greater experience with interviewing towards the end of the study Not enough range of data: no students at Dartmouth or professors at Duke Small number of interviewees
Appendix Node Structure – Endowment Closed business structure Familiar Not familiar – B.O.T. Returns Environmnetal – Strategies (activism) – External Factors Barriers Social Economic Opportunities – Duke – Dartmouth
 A Robel, spoken interview. March 23, 2012, Skype.  G Alvarez, spoken interview. March 12, 2012, Skype.  AASHE STARS, http://stars.aashe.org.http://stars.aashe.org  Duke Chronicle, “Endowment Transparency”, November 2008.  R Kerr, spoken interview. March 29, 2012, Skype.  LA Times. Various articles from 1986 regarding Dartmouth Apartheid Era Shantytowns  BC Vancouver Times, Dartmouth Controversy over Demonstrations  J Carey. Spoken Interview. March 27, 2012, Skype.