Dartmouth Investments With Trustees’ Firms Stir Contention

An ethics debate has flared at Dartmouth College over the school’s investment of assets with funds led by members of its board of trustees, according to The New York Times and Bloomberg.

About 13.5 percent of Dartmouth’s $3.5-billion endowment is invested in six funds associated with current or recent trustees, some of whom have made major gifts to the university. The practice, though not unusual at major colleges, has sparked board debate at Dartmouth in recent years, and last year an anonymous letter asked New Hampshire officials to investigate potential conflicts of interests.

A review by the state’s attorney general concluded that the Dartmouth’s investments complied with state rules. But John S. Griswold, executive director of the Commonfund Institute, said it is “probably better” for universities to avoid such deals to avoid “the perception of conflict of interest and self dealing.”

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