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A minority of colleges have in recent years opted to bar their endowments from holding investments in either the fossil fuel industry generally or specific parts of the industry (such as coal). Barnard College on Thursday announced a different approach: a committee of trustees, professors and students has recommended that the college sell holdings in "all fossil fuel companies that deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change." The Barnard board's investment committee said that, pending a review, it expected to recommend adoption of the policy by the full board.

A statement from the college explained the approach this way: "The recommendation to divest from climate change deniers would align the college’s investments with its core mission, centered on academic freedom and scientific integrity. This will enable the college to distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy and could create incentives for the poorest performers to change their ways."