The New York University board of trustees voted against divesting fossil-fuel investments from its $3.5 billion endowment.
“The board does not believe divestment is the proper action to take,” said a statement issued June 16, signed by William R. Berkley, chairman of the board of trustees, and Andrew Hamilton, the university’s president. “Regardless, the university will continue to take steps and look for concrete ways to enhance sustainability and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”
Matt Nagel, a university spokesman, declined to provide additional information. The amount of the endowment’s fossil-fuel investments could not be learned by press time.
“At the forefront of our deliberations was the role of NYU’s endowment,” said a letter from Messrs. Berkley and Hamilton to the university’s Senate, which approved a resolution last year that called on the university to halt further investments in fossil-fuel companies. The Senate includes students, administrators and faculty.
The university’s endowment’s “prime purpose is to support the university’s academic and research missions; as NYU’s fiduciaries, the prudent investment of the endowment is among the board’s weightiest duties,” the letter said. “Particularly given NYU’s low per-student endowment, any consideration that would depart from that prime purpose should be subject to a very high bar of scrutiny.”