NYU reiterated that it will keep away from direct investments in fossil fuels and look to cut back oblique investments in a current letter to pupil environmental group Dawn NYU, after yearslong fossil gas divestment efforts from the scholar group.
Over the previous few years, the group has garnered 1000’s of signatures in help of its calls for, which initially included that NYU finish direct investments within the high 200 publicly-traded fossil gas corporations. Dawn NYU co-founder Alicia Colomer stated the letter confirmed progress compared to a letter penned in 2016, which stated the college can be unable to divest from fossil fuels.
The Aug. 18 letter, written by Chair Emeritus of the NYU board of trustees William Berkley, reaffirmed a number of aims introduced in a February 2022 e mail from former college president Andrew Hamilton.
Within the letter, Berkley stated the college has “no direct possession of public securities of any firm whose major enterprise is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels,” and “commits to keep away from” direct investments in fossil fuels sooner or later. Berkley additionally stated that NYU would “proceed to hunt out” investments that would scale back oblique publicity to corporations primarily centered on fossil fuels in its endowment.
In the 2022 e mail, Hamilton used related language, saying that NYU “has no, and doesn’t plan to have sooner or later, direct possession of public securities of any firm whose major enterprise is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels.” Hamilton additionally stated the college was “decreasing its oblique publicity to fossil gas investments,” and that oblique investments in fossil fuels made up round 2% of the college’s endowment in 2022.
Berkley’s letter, equally to Hamilton’s e mail, didn’t disclose any timeline on how the college deliberate to maneuver ahead with its divestment commitments. An NYU spokesperson referred WSN to the letter in response to a query about concrete plans for divestment.
In line with Colomer, the first variations between the 2 statements is that the college acknowledged the position Dawn NYU performed in pushing for change within the letter, whereas the position of pupil activists was not talked about within the e mail. Colomer added that Dawn NYU was content material with the letter, and stated it addressed all the membership’s calls for.
“It doesn’t have a precise timeline, which might be nice if they’d included it. Nevertheless, it’s up to now forward of many different colleges which have introduced divestment,” Colomer stated. “NYU is telling us they already don’t have any direct funding within the fossil gas trade, which already places them a step forward in lots of their peer colleges. Moreover, they’ve a plan to cut back oblique publicity, whereas a number of different colleges after they introduced divestment, they don’t even point out oblique publicity.”
In 2021, Columbia College introduced a proper coverage for divesting from fossil fuels, stating it doesn’t maintain direct investments in “publicly traded oil and fuel corporations.” In 2015, The New College additionally introduced its resolution to divest from fossil fuels.
David Bloomfield, a professor of schooling management, regulation and coverage at Brooklyn Faculty and The Metropolis College of New York Graduate Heart, stated that whereas he believes the college is taking a step in the best route with the letter, NYU may have much less evident ties to fossil fuels by means of its overseas campuses.
“It seems that NYU has an excellent religion, twin dedication to decreasing investments and use of fossil fuels whereas growing investments and use of renewables,” Bloomfield wrote to WSN. “This intertwining of pursuits within the Center East and China, in addition to donors within the U.S. and overseas, does elevate questions on conflicts and fewer apparent relations that will compromise NYU’s promotion of its extra seen, optimistic efforts on local weather change.”
Different local weather activist teams have additionally criticized the college’s ties to fossil gas investments, together with by means of BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink’s place on its board of trustees. Final semester, local weather activist group Local weather Care Collective NYC gathered outdoors Bobst Library to demand Fink’s removing from the board because of his funding administration agency’s investments in fossil fuels and personal prisons. BlackRock is without doubt one of the world’s largest shareholders, at $8.5 trillion in property underneath administration, and is linked to a whole lot of tens of millions of tons of greenhouse fuel emissions.
Dawn NYU stated whereas it has labored with golf equipment that had been part of the protest, eradicating Fink from the board was not part of its calls for.
Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected].