The Boston Alumni Society is having our annual meeting tonight. If you are an EphBlog reader, make sure to say Hello to me. I look like this. President Falk will be speaking at the meeting. What questions should we ask him? Below are two that I might. Other suggestions?

Needless to say, you should ask these questions politely, prefacing them with congratulations to Falk on assuming the presidency and so on. But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and to follow them up. The problem with the Q&A at these meetings is often that the questions are not particularly detailed and well-informed. I am here to help! (Questions in bold. Background/commentary in italics.)

Q: The endowment dropped 18.4% last year. It is impossible to understand performance without reference to a benchmark. What does the College use as a benchmark for the endowment and how was the benchmark’s performance? [So far, Williams has refused to release any information with regard to the benchmark that it uses for the endowment. That is ridiculous. There is no way for anyone to know if Chilton and her staff are doing a good job if there is not some benchmark to compare their results with. Every mutual fund in the US is required by the SEC to provide performance relative to a benchmark.]

Q: The College’s letter to the Senate Finance Committee reported that:

Some members of the Investment Office are eligible for bonuses based on the return on our investments, though the office is so new that we have not completed the first year of returns on which bonuses would be computed. So, in the past ten years no such bonuses have been paid.

How many people in the Investment Office are eligible for bonuses? What is the formula used to award those bonuses? How much money, if any, in total bonuses was paid out last year? [See here for more background. The College will try to claim that releasing this information would violate the privacy rights of College employees. But note that the questions do not ask for the specific amounts given to named individuals. We just want to know how many and how much in total. Privacy concerns do not prevent Williams from releasing this data.]

Many related questions here.

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