NYU Divest Statement on the University Senate Vote:
We Still Have A Fight Ahead
We are pleased to announce that the University Senate, the highest representative body at NYU, voted overwhelmingly to cease further investments in coal, oil, and gas companies. In the final vote count, 65 senators voted in favor of the proposal and 10 senators voted against, with seven abstentions. In over an hour of deliberations, students, faculty, and administrators advocated for climate action and pushed back against voices of dissent. The Senate has taken our community’s demands seriously and proved that they stand by the moral imperative of divestment.
The statement to cease all future investments and prioritize positive reinvestment is very strong. The terms of the resolution include ceasing all future investments in publicly-traded coal, oil and gas companies, and requiring the Board to investigate strategies to make the endowment more socially responsible. This emphasizes the role of our endowment in the long-term, and takes stand against fossil fuels for the future.
We still have a long fight ahead. Despite the popular support of the Senate, the written resolution falls short of full divestment. The Senate did not resolve to additionally divest currently held direct holdings of stocks in Anadarko and Noble Energy or commingled funds.
This is a crucial step towards our demand for divestment, but we maintain that so long as the University holds fossil fuel equities it will not stand fully on the side of climate justice. The conversation with the Senate is not over, and we will continue to press for statement of support for full divestment. The Tenured Faculty Senators Council will be discussing a resolution next week. In June, our campaign will personally present our case to the Board of Trustees, and we will call on them to divest from direct fossil fuel holdings, freeze new investments, and proactively engage in ethical reinvestment.
We see this as a victory because of the overwhelming popular support on the floor of the Senate and the beginning of conversations with the Board. The Senate has proved that our voices matter. Our petitions matter. Our rallies matter. Our actions matter. This is a historic moment for our campaign and the University as a whole. Not since the Darfur crisis has the NYU community motioned to take such a strong political stance with the endowment.
Thank you to our supporters who made this moment happen. We are going to need you every step of the way as we deliberate with the Board of Trustees in 2015. Onwards.