by Bob Geary
UNC-Chapel Hill students are part of a national movement to put college and university endowments where their values should be when it comes to climate change. In short, get their money out of coal and fossil-fuel stocks and send a message to the investment world that it's wrong to finance companies whose products threaten to wreck the planet.
We've had a couple of columns about the UNC campaign previously — in November and in December. The latter noted UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp's view that doing the right thing would get in the way of his $2 billion endowment buying the hottest hedge funds on the market — and between money and morality, he picked money.
So yesterday was student elections day in Chapel Hill, and the divestiture campaigners put a question on the ballot: Should UNC-CH divest its holdings in coal companies?
Answer: Yes, by an overwhelming margin.
This is from the organizers of the UNC Beyond Coal campaign:
77% of UNC students vote ‘yes’ to support endowment divesting from coal
Campus leaders plan Thursday press conference at Old Well
On Tuesday, students at UNC-Chapel Hill voted nearly four to one in favor of divesting UNC’s $2.1 billion endowment from the coal industry. Campus leaders will host a press conference on Thursday at the Old Well urging UNC administrators and trustees to address student concerns and will publicly call on the Board of Trustees to allow students to present at their next meeting.
“The message is overwhelmingly clear,” said UNC sophomore and Sierra Student Coalition coordinator Jasmine Ruddy. “Students want UNC’s endowment to take a moral stand on climate change by divesting from coal, the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the planet.”
With support from 77 percent of students who voted, the referendum represents a huge victory for the campaign for a coal-free endowment at UNC. More than 4,200 UNC students expressed support for divesting from coal companies. This campaign is part of a national student movement at more than 250 college and university campuses calling on their endowments to remove investments in the coal industry and other fossil fuel companies that are wrecking the planet.