UVM board of trustees votes to divest from fossil fuels

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After years of calling for divestment from fossil fuels by students, faculty and staff, the University of Vermont board of trustees just made it official. Our Dom Amato has the details.

This has been a back and forth battle for years. But in a unanimous decision Tuesday afternoon, the UVM board of trustees voted to fully divest from fossil fuels by July 2023.

The most recent campus community demonstration was in January. Student and faculty advocates have been making presentations to the board and in March, the university formed a working group to explore divestment.

The decision means the school will stop any new direct investments in fossil fuels and will allow multiyear investments to expire without renewing.

I asked school officials what led the board to make this decision now.

"The decision, the timing, it's right for the environment, it's right for future decisions and I think the financial trends and societal shifts also play a role. Of course, we truly appreciate the student involvement," UVM President Suresh Garimella said.

UVM's total endowment comes around $536 million. Officials say about 6.7% has a connection to fossil fuels.

The University of Vermont is not the only school in our region to divest from fossil fuels. Last year, Middlebury College said it, too, will no longer invest in fossil fuels and will reduce investments by 50% in eight years and 100% within 15 years.

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