NYU Divest sends second letter to SextonPosted on September 5, 2013 | by Nicole Brown
NYU Divest sent their second letter to NYU President Sexton this summer in an effort to convince him and the other university leaders that NYU should divest from fossil fuel companies.
The letter, along with an addendum, were sent on Aug. 1 to Sexton and addressed the issues the administrators broached at the meeting specifically regarding the profitability of divestment. The letter also requests a direct meeting with Sexton and reinforces the need for divestment.
Faculty advisor of NYU Divest and environmental studies professor Julianne Warren said the group expects Sexton to respond positively. After sending their first letter to Sexton in February, the group was able to procure a meeting with top NYU executives.
“We believe that he will be able to see that divestment is the right and sensible thing to do alongside other measures to address climate change in the interest of guarding the mission of our university and the future of our students and generations to come,” Warren said.
The group launched their campaign in December 2012 after inspiration from American environmentalist Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” tour around the country, which began after Rolling Stone Magazine published his article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”
Warren said the group does not know exactly which companies NYU is invested in.
“We have good reason to believe that among NYU’s investments some percentage includes the top 200 fossil fuel companies because it is common to put funds there,” Warren said.
Administrators mentioned the universities’ reduction of energy consumption 30 percent in the last six years and greenhouse gas emissions six years ahead of schedule. But Gallatin junior and founder of NYU Divest Sophie Lasoff said the group hopes the university will realize divestment should accompany those achievements.
“Divestment is really an extension of the commitment that NYU has already made,” Lasoff said. “Doing all of these amazing things on one hand and then investing in industries that are compromising all of those things is contradictory.”
Lasoff emphasized that the group is not protesting against the university with these letters — rather, it is requesting a continued conversation and collaboration on the issue of climate change.
“The enemy here is not the university,” Lasoff said. “It’s the fossil fuel industry.”
Nicole Brown is a news editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.