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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

After fielding months of protests and written complaints about its investments, UF is responding.

UF's Investment Corp., the organization protesters said could enable UF to invest irresponsibly, will hold a public meeting in Room 202 of Tigert Hall at 11 a.m.

Members of Students for a Democratic Society, an activist group, began demonstrating for transparency of UF's investments in September.

The group clamored for UF to release details of its investments so students could ensure the university isn't supporting any socially irresponsible organizations, such as ones that could further the war in Iraq.

Students brought several written requests to UF President Bernie Machen and held a meeting with him in October.

They brought their demands to the Board of Trustees, UF's highest governing body, at its meeting Friday morning.

The UF Investment Corp. oversees investments from money collected by the UF Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fundraises for UF.

The foundation collects money from private donors and uses the investments, which have increased from ,585.7 million to ,1.2 billion in the past four years, to directly support UF.

Tuition money or state funding is not allowed to be invested.

The organization is exempt from open public-record requirements, known as Government-in-the-Sunshine laws.

While Machen told protesters he'd take their concerns into consideration, there are complications involved in completely open investing.

Money moves to and from stocks each day, and it's difficult to constantly update an investment list, said Steve Orlando, UF spokesman, in a September interview.

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In addition, Orlando said if UF listed its investments, many people might invest the same way, which would decrease UF's total profits.

Still, Tina Steiger, a member of Students for a Democratic Society, said UF "can't pursue a more sustainable campus if you're not aware of where money is being invested."

"It's ,1.2 billion - that's not just spare change," she said.

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