Divestment News Celebrated at Commencement Ceremony
Portland, OR (May 19, 2014) – Reed College’s Board of Trustees approved with a majority vote a plan to divest its endowment of direct coal and oil industry investments and redirect funds to environmentally conscious investment managers and community owned renewable energy projects during a special meeting convened near the end of the academic term.
“This is the right time to divest,” said Roger Perlmutter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, “and even more importantly, to reinvest in the rapidly growing sustainable energy sector.”
The announcement was made during the commencement ceremony the morning of May 19. Reed College is the first college in the Pacific Northwest to initiate a divestiture from fossil fuels, joining the ranks of other universities with large endowments that have recognized the compelling and urgent moral character of maintaining investments in companies characterized by fossil fuel extraction, refining, and transportation.
The Board’s decision was made on the recommendation of a special committee composed of trustees, faculty, administrators, and students convened in February to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of divestment. The committee found that fossil fuel divestment was warranted under Article III of the College’s Investment Responsibility Policy, particularly as a “widely-held, perhaps even universally-held social or moral position.” Furthermore, increasing numbers of donors express reservation about donating to an endowment rich in fossil fuels.
“It is crucial at this moment in history for institutions like Reed to follow through on their commitments to serve the public good,” says President John R. Kroger. “Climate change is likely to seriously affect the lives of our students, and financially supporting the industries responsible for it undermines Reed’s Mission.”
This action follows several by the college over the past few years to improve its environmental record following the adoption of the Environmental Policy Statement in February 2007, including:
- Restoration of the 28-acre Reed Canyon watershed in the heart of campus
- LEED certification of dorms built in 2009
- Development of an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program in 2010
- Establishment of a Sustainability Fund for student and faculty projects in 2011
- Sustainable architecture of the Performing Arts Building in 2013
- Implementation of a 3-year $5.4 million energy efficiency upgrade contract with Amersco Quantum in 2013
More information about sustainable investments at Reed can be found on the website.
Contact: Kevin Myers
Phone: (541) 357-8604