The Proxy Voting Policy reflects the long proxy voting history of the Subcommittee on Proxy Voting and before that the Investment Committee.
Proxies are voted in accordance with the College's Proxy Voting Policy which is overseen by the Subcommittee on Proxy Voting (SPV), a subcommittee of the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. The SPV is made up of trustees, faculty, and students, and is staffed by members of the Investment Office. The Subcommittee is not a socially responsible investment group but rather a group charged with the responsibility of voting proxies on behalf of the College. Wellesley's commitment to exercising its rights as a responsible shareholder distinguishes it from these peers; most intuitions rely on their investment managers to vote proxies for them.
Wellesley's Proxy Voting Policy is evolutionary. The SPV reviews the policy annually to ensure that aspects related to corporate governance reflect best practices. Many issues related to socially responsible investing are voted on a case-by-case basis, as experience has shown that a thoughtful approach requires attention to the specifics of the situation, the language in the proposal, and the latest thinking in science and human rights actions.
Issues not explicitly covered in the policy are voted on a case-by-case basis by the SPV. When an exception is identified on a proxy, an email containing the proposal and arguments in favor and against the proposal is sent to all members of the SPV. Members of the SPV respond with their votes via email. In the case of a tie vote, the SPV Chair casts the deciding vote. IF the SPV Chair has not voted, then the Board Chair, ex-officio member of the SPV, will be solicited to vote.
If a proxy containing an exception is received outside of the normal proxy season, the chief investment officer may vote the proxy; wherever possible, her vote will be informed by the direction the SPV has leaned in previous similar votes.