After years of protests and ongoing pressure from student activists, New York University leaders will divest from fossil fuel companies, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
The announcement appears to have been formalized in a letter last month from William R. Berkley, the chair of NYU’s Board of Trustees. That letter, sent to student activists and obtained by The Guardian, indicated that the university aims to “avoid any direct investments in any company whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels, including all forms of coal, oil, and natural gas, and not to renew or seek out any dedicated private funds whose primary aim is to invest in the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels.”
The divestment decision is an about-face for the Board of Trustees. In 2016 Berkley wrote that the board was “not persuaded” that divestment would “reduce dependency on fossil fuels.”
According to figures from last August, NYU’s endowment was recently valued at $5.3 billion.
Institutions that have divested from fossil fuels in recent years include American University, Boston University, Brown University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Middlebury College, Rutgers University the University of Southern California and Yale University, among others.