When the College of Michigan’s chief monetary officer requested the varsity’s Board of Regents in December to authorize a brand new $50 million oil-and-gas investment, they gave a solution he had by no means heard earlier than: No.
The board delivered the information at a gathering filled with scholar activists. That they had spent months pushing the college to cease funding fossil-fuel firms. A number of weeks later, the varsity mentioned it was freezing all direct investments in such firms.
U.S. college and school endowments management greater than $600 billion of investments, and the motion to divest these funds from fossil fuels is gaining momentum—although the pandemic has saved college students off many campuses and problems with racial injustice have dominated the nationwide discourse since George Floyd was killed in police custody in Could.
Activists say years of alarm concerning the prices of local weather change have unified a broad base of help, together with among the many alumni that usually fund endowments. Massive universities hardly ever capitulate to such campaigns and fossil fuels appear to be becoming a member of a really quick checklist of investments deemed off-limits by the ivory tower, reminiscent of apartheid-era South Africa and tobacco merchandise.
In Could, Cornell College swore off new direct investments in oil and gasoline, and George Washington College determined in late June to divest from the business fully following an analogous motion by Georgetown College in February. Alumni of Harvard College are voting this month on whether or not to nominate pro-divestment candidates to the board of overseers, which votes on the membership of the company that supervises its endowment, the most important within the nation at about $40 billion.