A Dartmouth College presidential committee report suggests divesting fossil fuels would be relatively easy since only a sliver of the school’s overall endowment is sunk in oil.
The Dartmouth Presidential Committee report, issued by President Philip Hanlon, detailed the pitfalls and supposed benefits of selling the school’s oil and coal assets, and also laid out a diverse analysis of divestment in general.
“Dartmouth supports vigorous open debate of ideas within a community marked by mutual respect, as well as a culture of integrity, self-reliance, collegiality and a sense of responsibility for each other and for the broader world,” the members of the school’s Board of Trustees said about divestment in 2014. “The use and management of Dartmouth’s resources are to advance this mission and these values.”
Professor of engineering and the report’s author, Mark Borsuk, explained the study’s findings — warts and all. He essentially said the school had so few assets sunk in fossil fuels that divesting would result minimal consequences.
“Of more direct relevance to Dartmouth is the fact that, while Dartmouth directly holds approximately $43M in fossil fuel related assets, the vast majority (>95%) of that amount is held in working capital pools, with only about $2M held in the endowment,” Borsuk said. “Thus, even with full divestment of direct endowment holdings, the potential financial impact of any reasonable estimate of the diversity penalty would be minimal.”
Still, the mostly symbolic gesture was met with applause from members of the schools divestment crowd.
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