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Williams College has had no direct investments in fossil fuel companies for years. However, the college does have indirect investments, through investments in funds, in the companies. In a letter to the campus from President Maud S. Mandel, she announced that the investments are small. “Williams currently has approximately 4 percent invested in real asset funds, some of which are in projects related to fossil fuels,” Mandel wrote. “The college has not made any new investments in these funds since 2019 and this past fall, as part of its regular business to direct the college’s investment strategy, the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee committed to maintaining that strategy going forward, which means there will be no new investments in funds engaged in oil and gas extraction. Our remaining investments in current funds will thus phase out over time, a process that we anticipate will be complete by 2033, once these partnerships are liquidated.”

Mandel added, “I have been reluctant to write a letter announcing such changes to the portfolio both because the process we and other schools have launched will take years to complete, and because I am skeptical that these changes or a statement about them will have any direct impact on the climate crisis. As long as the globe relies on carbon based sources of energy, companies will continue to produce fossil fuels and investors will continue to supply resources to those companies, even while we and many of our peer institutions do not.”