Stanford University Rejects Demand to Divest From Fossil Fuels

  • Decision comes almost two years after it blacklisted coal
  • School says oil, gas remain integral to global economy

Stanford University has rejected a proposal to divest from fossil-fuel companies.

The decision by the university’s board of trustees comes almost two years after it said its endowment would divest from direct holdings in coal companies. Student activists have been pushing Stanford to expand the blacklist to include many of the largest publicly traded oil and gas companies as well.

“At the present moment oil and gas remain integral components of the global economy,” the board said in a statement posted to its website on Monday. “Moreover, some oil and gas companies are themselves working to advance alternative energy sources.”

The Stanford board said that it was open to divesting from oil-sands extraction companies but the endowment management company said it has no direct exposure to any in its $22.2 billion endowment, according to the statement. It didn’t say how it has invested in oil and gas companies. Lisa Lapin, a spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Fossil-fuel divestment has been a popular issue in recent years among college students, who have protested at campuses around the country. Yet even with the movement spreading to more than 1,000 campuses, only a few dozen schools have placed some restrictions on their commitments to the energy sector. Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are among the largest endowments to reject demands to divest.

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