Foun­da­tion giv­ing up fos­sil fuel in­vest­ments

Col­lege Pres­i­dent Don­ald Chris­tian calls the move 'the right thing to do' in light of cli­mate change.

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Mid-Hud­son News Net­work

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.

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