The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing was established in March 2000 to advise the University Trustees on "ethical and social issues" relevant to investments in the University's endowment. It is made up of 12 voting members drawn from students, faculty, and alumni of the University, and two non-voting university officials.
ASCRI reviews proposals (proxies) for corporations that the University has direct holdings in, and "recommend[s] to the University Trustees how to vote on shareholder proposals on several broad social issue categories, including animal welfare; banking; charitable donations; environment, energy and sustainability; equal employment; health and safety; human rights; military and security; and political contributions." The meeting minutes posted on their website generally record whether the committee supports or rejects proxies.
ASCRI also considers proposals for divestment from members of the Columbia community (as well as "options for shareholder engagement", e.g. becoming an Investor Signatory to the CDP Climate Change program). Currently, the University has determined to divest from private prison operators, Sudan (Khartoum government), thermal coal, and tobacco. It has rejected proposals for a broader divestment from fossil fuels from Columbia Divest for Climate Justice as well as a 2018 proposal to divest from the University's indirect holdings in thermal coal. In 2016, the committee created its own proposal for targeted divesting from tar sands based on its "stand up for science" methodology; it seems this did not move forward because the committee decided that creating divestment proposals was out of its scope--rather, it should only consider external proposals.