Faculty senate says yes to divestment
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 13:03
A large majority of UVM’s faculty senate passed a resolution in favor of removing fossil fuel companies from the endowment at its meeting Monday, making it the first faculty senate in the nation to formally support this kind of proposal.
Monday afternoon’s results were a welcome sign for the members of the Student Climate Culture club who have been pushing for fossil fuel divestment over the past year.
“This is a true milestone for our campaign,” first-year Brian Thompson said. “The fact that we have been able to get such support from the community definitely shows that the idea of divestment has pretty clear consensus on campus.”
The resolution requested that the board of trustees eliminate all stock holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies by February 2017, most notably from the Blackrock All-Cap Energy portfolio that is “most heavily” invested in fossil fuels, the resolution stated.
Becoming the first public university to divest the endowment from fossil fuel companies became more likely Feb. 5, when SGA backed the club’s proposal by a vote of 23-9.
Later that month, UVM’s Socially Responsible Investing Advising Committee (SRIAC) held a town hall meeting Feb. 20 where SCC gave its proposal, according to senior Alex Prolman.
SRIAC will ultimately research the proposal and present it to Vice President of Finance and Administration Richard Cate, who will decide whether or not submit the proposal to the board of trustees investment subcomittee.
In the meantime, the commitee also voted Monday to conduct more in-depth research into divestment practices and approved a temporary freeze on fossil fuel divestments.
If UVM commits to divestment, it will be the only public university and the largest university to do so. Four other colleges have committed to divestment including Unity College and College of the Atlantic in Maine, Hampshire College in Massachusetts and Sterling College in Vermont.
“Pretty much everyone we’ve pitched the proposal to has been fully supportive of it,” Prolman said. “I feel we have an air tight case. It’s a no brainer.”