Proposal Submission Guidelines

View the proposal submission guidelines of the Advisory Committee on Social Responsible Investing (ACSRI) at Columbia University.


The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI) is a voluntary committee comprised of twelve voting members drawn in equal proportion from students, faculty, and alumni of the University, to ensure that the committee is broadly representative of the university community. Two University officers sit as non-voting members in addition to the twelve voting members.

Meeting once a month throughout the academic year, the ACSRI meets once a week during the proxy season during the months of April and May.

ACSRI is also made of up subcommittees that can change from year to year based on topics relevant to its work.

There are two key advisory roles which the ACSRI performs, in accordance with its charter:

  1. to recommend a vote on shareholder proxies for directly held publicly traded equities; and,
  2. to consider options for shareholder engagement or divestment when issues in the realm of social responsibility prompt questions or concerns from members of the Columbia community with regard to the University's holdings.

There are three basic tests or criteria that must be met before divestment can be recommended. These include:

  1. There must be broad consensus within the University community regarding the issue at hand 
  2. The merits of the dispute must lie clearly on one side
  3. Divestment must be more viable and appropriate than ongoing communication and engagement with company management.

The ACSRI will consider proposals from all constituents and groups from the Columbia University community. To best facilitate the proposal review process, the ACSRI has created guidelines and a general schedule.

Please read carefully and follow the steps below.

Formal proposals should be written in double-spaced, 12 point font. Maximum of 20 Pages for all materials. Below are the general guidelines your submission should follow:

  1. Overview (included in PDF format)
  2. State which criteria the proposal is using to make the case (1 paragraph)
  3. Provide all the critical data with footnotes for any arguments in your proposal
  4. Provide research on the possible opposite argument against your conclusions
  5. Conclusion - provide bullet points for the final recommendations to the ACSRI citing the criteria for each one

Finally, email the proposal to the ACSRI Chair, Professor Bruce Usher ([email protected]) and Staff Administrator, April Croft ([email protected]).

Proposals will be considered on the following tentative schedule:

  • December 1:  Proposals due
  • December 1 - March 1:  Subcommittees meet, conduct research, discuss and prepare a decision or recommendation. ACSRI may request further information or an in-person presentation at an ACSRI meeting.
  • March 1 - April 1:  Full ACSRI discusses and votes on proposal decision or recommendation
  • April 15:  If approved, ACSRI sends recommendation to the University Trustees

Please note: These dates are general guidelines. The ACSRI makes the best efforts to adhere to this schedule but reserves the right to take longer if the proposal requires additional time for review. If the proposal does not meet the above guidelines, the process will be slowed down.