Yale students urge university to sell fossil-fuel investments

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, November 22, 2013

Yale University undergraduates voted overwhelmingly in favor of urging the school to sell its holdings of fossil-fuel companies that are “contributing the most to climate change and associated social ills.”

The Yale College Council referendum concluded yesterday, with more than half of undergraduates casting ballots and 83 percent voting for divestment from major oil, gas and coal companies, according to a statement. The council, representing 5,300 undergraduates at the New Haven, Connecticut-based school, said it will present a position paper to the administration supporting the divestment proposal.

Students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, supported a similar referendum last year as a campaign targeting divestment from Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), BP Plc (BP/) and about 200 other companies with the largest reserves of oil, gas and coal spread to college campuses across the U.S. Harvard, with the biggest university endowment in the world at $32.7 billion, rejected the proposal from students, as have other schools such as Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Harvard students linked to the divestment campaign this week disrupted a Bank of America Corp. recruiting event in Cambridge to protest the bank’s investments in coal companies. Students at New York University are holding an event tomorrow where alumni will call in to President John Sexton’s office to pressure the school to divest.

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