U-M to exit Russian investment, light bell tower with Ukrainian colors


As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to escalate, the University of Michigan said March 14 it will make no further investments in Russia and will move as quickly as is practical to exit its remaining investments.

At the same time, the university said it will light the Burton Memorial Tower on Central Campus in Michigan’s colors of maize and blue, which also will symbolize solidarity with the democratic nation of Ukraine. The Ukrainian flag features the colors of blue and gold.

Burton Tower will be bathed in maize and blue each night from dusk to midnight starting March 15 and through the coming week.

Regarding its approach to Russian investments, the university said it was taking the action in light of increasing financial risks associated with such investments.

The move also is consistent with the March 7 statement from President Mary Sue Coleman condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “ruthless attack on freedom.”



  1. Keith Aaronson
    on March 22, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    This announcement is troubling to me for two reasons. First the more minor one: You wrote that we’re bathing Barton Tower in maize and blue to symbolize solidarity with Ukraine, who’s national colors are blue and gold. I believe that the Ukrainian blue is a fair bit lighter than the Michigan blue. If our goal is to express solidarity with the horrendous suffering of the Ukrainian people, couldn’t we spring for the right color filters? Second, regarding the rationale for divestment, isn’t a “ruthless attack on freedom” both an excellent and perfectly sufficient reason to divest from Russia? Would we not divest from Russia absent “increasing financial risks associated with such investments”? Your careful wording makes it clear that we would not, and that’s deeply troubling. By juxtaposing President Coleman’s completely apt comment with a financial decision made without moral consideration, you seek credit for doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

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