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Dec

7

Barnard Task Force To Examine Divestment Recommends Partial Divestment

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A low-angle shot of Barnard Hall

This afternoon, Robert Goldberg, Barnard’s Chief Operating Officer, wrote an email to the Barnard community announcing that the Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment submitted its full report on fossil fuel divestment to the Board of Trustees. This task force was created last semester as a result of Divest Barnard’s campaign encouraging Barnard to divest from all fossil fuel companies; it includes trustees, faculty, staff, and students.

The task force recommends that Barnard “divest from all fossil fuel companies that deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.” Goldberg’s email goes on to state that this recommendation “would align the College’s investments with its core mission”, and that “the Task Force recommends that the College undertake a robust climate action program to reduce its carbon footprint.” It is unclear exactly to which companies this statement refers, and how much divestment will actually occur as a result of the task force’s recommendation.

The email concludes by announcing that the Committee on Investments will discuss this report and recommendation at its next meeting in March. Community forums on the issue of divestment will be held in the meantime.

You can read the task force’s full report here.

Dear Barnard Community,

I am writing to let you know that the Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment has just submitted its full report on fossil fuel divestment to the Barnard Board of Trustees. The Task Force, comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, and students, was formed in response to a campaign led by the student group Divest Barnard and has met regularly over the last nine months. Tremendous thanks are due to the Task Force members for their diligence and care throughout this important process.

After careful review, the Task Force recommends that the College divest from all fossil fuel companies that deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change. The recommendation would align the College’s investments with its core mission, centered on academic freedom and scientific integrity. It also gives us the ability to distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy and could create incentives for the poorest performers to change their ways. In addition, the Task Force recommends that the College undertake a robust climate action program to reduce its carbon footprint, and appoint a sustainability officer or dean to lead a campus-wide effort to set goals and help further instill a culture of sustainability across the campus.

To review the full report, visit https://barnard.edu/vision-values/divestment-task-force.

The Board of Trustees Committee on Investments received the report this morning and expressed its appreciation for the hard work of all of the Task Force members. Pending a full review of implementation issues, the Committee on Investments expects to recommend approval of the Task Force’s recommendations to the full Board at its next meeting in March. Before that point, we will host a series of community forums to discuss the issue of divestment further.

Along with President Spar, I look forward to continuing the dialogue on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert Goldberg
Chief Operating Officer

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