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Fossil fuel divestiture urged for OSU Foundation

Nov 13, 2013


By The Associated Press

CORVALLIS — A group of Oregon State faculty members is pressing the university's nonprofit fundraising arm to act against climate change by divesting itself of investments in fossil fuel companies — estimated at about 6 percent of its $600 million portfolio.

The teachers also have called on the Faculty Senate to pass a resolution supporting the move, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.

Ken Winograd, an education professor, says a movement is building nationally among schools and churches to “take action before it is too late.” The OSU Foundation should get on board, he said.

“We believe it is inconsistent with OSU core values to invest and earn profits from an industry whose business plan will result in catastrophic climate change,” Winograd said.

The OSU Foundation is a nonprofit legally separate from the university that supports the school's work.

The $36 million in fossil fuels investments is in direct holdings or though devices such as mutual funds, foundation spokeswoman Molly Brown said.

She says she's met with the teachers, but the foundation hasn't taken a position on the idea. She said she is not aware of an instance in which the foundation has changed investment policy because of such pressure.

“We appreciate the views of campus stakeholders and welcome the dialogue,” she said.

Winograd said eight colleges and universities nationwide have divested of such holdings, the largest San Francisco State University.

National organizers say efforts are underway at nearly 500 institutions, including the University of Oregon and Portland State University.

Oregon State's Faculty Senate is to vote Dec. 12 on a divestiture resolution, which would be nonbinding.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

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