Foundation giving up fossil fuel investments
College President Donald Christian calls the move 'the right thing to do' in light of climate change.
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. » The SUNY New Paltz Foundation board has voted overwhelmingly to remove endowment funds from direct investment in fossil fuel companies.
“This divestment from fossil fuels is the right thing to do,” college President Donald Christian said Thursday. “Climate change resulting from the use of fossil fuels presents issues of significant concern to all, including the faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters of SUNY New Paltz. This important action by the foundation points toward a future that recognizes the college’s sustainability goals while balancing its fiscal responsibility to donors.”
The initial request to consider divestment came from a group of students who raised the issue with the college president in September 2016. Christian suggested the students involve faculty governance in the discussion through the Sustainability Committee, and he committed to bring the issue to the Finance and Investment Committee of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation at its meeting in November 2016. He strongly encouraged the board to support divestment while safeguarding endowment funds.
Meanwhile, the Sustainability Committee proposed a divestment resolution that the full faculty approved at its November meeting.
“I am delighted that the foundation board has shown such support for those passionate about divestment,” said Erica Marks, vice president for development and alumni relations at SUNY New Paltz and executive director of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. “Committee members drew on expert guidance and researched divestment at other colleges and universities before coming to this inspiring conclusion.”
The SUNY New Paltz Foundation endowment currently stands at about $20 million. Data as of June 30, 2017, show that about 4.5 percent, or $920,055, was directly invested in fossil fuel companies.