​New York University declines to divest from fossil fuels

Image: Flickr/New York University

New York University’s board of trustees has declined to divest from fossil-fuel holdings, saying it would limit its choices in investment managers and wouldn’t reduce the amount of capital available to those companies.

Divestment isn’t the “proper action to take,” according to a letter on Thursday from William Berkley, chairman of the board, and school president Andrew Hamilton. The trustees’ decision follows a resolution by the university senate in support of divestment in April 2015. The letter didn’t disclose the total amount of investments in fossil fuels. New York University’s endowment was valued at $3.6 billion as of June 2015.

Students at campuses across the country have protested in favor of divestment. Many schools have declined, including Cornell University, which voted against pulling out of oil and gas companies in February, and Stanford University, which rejected a proposal in April. Yale University’s $26 billion endowment sold less than $10 million in investments, according to an April letter. The University of Massachusetts said last month it will divest from direct fossil-fuel holdings in its endowment, a decision approved on Wednesday by its board of trustees.

“The trustees believe the senior leadership should always be looking for opportunities to expand those areas where NYU’s contribution will have a more tangible impact on climate change: sustainability programs, infrastructure investments that will reduce NYU’s carbon footprint further, and research on climate change,” Berkley and Hamilton wrote in the letter.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P

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