By Donald Gilpin
The Resources Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) will recommend to the University’s Board of Trustees (BOT) that the University divest and dissociate from “the highest greenhouse gas-emitting sectors of the fossil fuel industry” as quickly as possible and “dissociate from fossil fuel companies that deny climate change and/or spread climate disinformation.”
Partnerships with and investments in fossil fuel companies by Princeton University, with its $26 billion endowment, have been the focus of considerable debate and concern for at least the past decade. Divest Princeton — a coalition of Princeton University students, faculty, and alumni — has continuously called for the University’s divestment from fossil fuel companies and has gathered more than 2,200 signatures on an open letter to Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber pledging “No Donations Until Divestment.”
Concern and activism seem to have increased at Princeton along with increasing worldwide distress over climate change. Most recently, an April 24 Earth Day rally — “Earth Day No Delay, Princeton Must Divest Today” — brought more than 100 people to the lawn in front of the Nassau Hall steps to call for action toward divestment by the Resources Committee and the BOT.
In its May 3 report to the CPUC, Resources Committee Chair Blair Schoene, associate professor of geosciences at Princeton, noted that the committee also is recommending to the BOT that Princeton University “establish criteria for conditional dissociation from fossil fuel companies that have not undertaken an acceptable path towards carbon neutrality,” and that the University “establish, implement, and sustain actionable criteria for dissociation” that accord with the three previous recommendations and are based on companies’ “current and prospective actions,” not on past behavior. more