New Haven Activists Pressure Yale To Cancel Investments In Puerto Rico Debt

Feb 20, 2018

A coalition of activist groups, union organizers, and elected officials are calling for Yale University to disclose and cancel its holdings in Puerto Rican debt.

Union organizers in New Haven say at least five of Yale’s investment managers for its $27 billion endowment held debt from Puerto Rico last year. The hurricane-torn island faces a $73 billion debt -- and filed for bankruptcy last May.

“The people of Puerto Rico are suffering,” said state Representative Christopher Rosario, chair of the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. “I have family spread out from Kentucky to Ohio to Florida, even as far as Hawaii -- because they’ve been [displaced] by this natural disaster. We’re asking Yale: lead by example. Do the right thing, cancel the debt -- not only cancel the debt but invest into the future of Puerto Rico,” he said.  

Jasanea Hernandez is a public school food service worker in New Haven and an officer for a union representing local hospitality workers.

She says she’s seen many children from Puerto Rico enter her school system after Hurricane Maria hit the island.

“Yale University seeks profit, while my community, including the children, bear the burden,” Hernandez said.

A spokesperson from the university could not be reached for immediate comment.