Student teams to debate Sewanee's endowment investing strategy

This story has been updated to include a link to the video of the debate, below.

Sparked in part by the "Divest Sewanee" campaign to purge the University's endowment fund of holdings in fossil-fuel companies, two teams of students will debate whether Sewanee should adopt an investment strategy known as "socially responsible investing."

The debate, featuring two teams of three students each, drawn from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Theology, will take place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, in Gailor Auditorium.

Speaking in favor of divestment from fossil fuels and in support of applying the principles of socially responsible investment, the "Divest Sewanee" team includes Arthur Jones, T'18, of Thomasville, Georgia ; Mallory Graves, C'16, an environment and sustainability major and economics minor from Nashville; and Darby McGlone, C'17, a double major in economics and environment and sustainability from Lakeville, Conn.

The "Invest Sewanee" team, which will be presenting a case arguing that investment options in endowment funds should not be restricted, comprises Michael McCain, T'16, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Mark Flournoy, C'16, an economics major and business minor from Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Grey York, C'16, an economics major with business and politics minors from High Point, North Carolina.

Moderating the debate will be Michael Whelchel, C'89, cofounder and managing partner at Big Path Capital, and a member of the Babson Center Advisory Board. Big Path Capital is an investment advisory firm for a style of socially responsible investing known as "impact investing."

Whelchel holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Engineering Management degrees from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He majored in mathematics at Sewanee.

Learn more about the terminology of the socially responsible investment movement.

Learn more about the history of socially responsible investing, including its roots in 18th-century Anglicanism, and how Judaism and Islam view socially responsible investing.

Read the stipulated facts of the debate agreed upon by both teams.

Sponsors of the debate are the Babson Center for Global Studies, the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, the Center for Religion and Environment, the Student Investment Club, Divest Sewanee, the School of Theology, and the Business House.

Here's the video of the debate:

Debate on Socially Responsible Investing from Babson Center on Vimeo.