May 21, 2024

Colleges

College students are asking Lawyer Normal Andrea Campbell to order Tufts to divest from fossil fuels.

Tufts college students say their college is breaking state legislation by investing within the fossil gasoline business. David L. Ryan/Globe Employees

College students at Tufts College in Medford filed a criticism with Lawyer Normal Andrea Campbell’s workplace final week accusing their college of violating state legislation by investing a portion of its endowment in fossil fuels. 

Tufts reported in 2022 that about $91 million of its $2.4 billion endowment was invested within the vitality sector. In accordance with the criticism, that funding violates the college’s monetary tasks as a charitable, non-profit group below the Uniform Prudent Administration of Institutional Funds Act.

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“The privileges that Tufts enjoys as a non-profit establishment include the duty to make sure that its assets are put to socially useful ends,” the criticism reads. “Regardless of the demonstrable monetary and social advantages of institutional fossil gasoline divestment, the Trustees have remained steadfast of their help of an business whose enterprise mannequin relies on environmental destruction and social injustice.”

The 61-page criticism particulars Tufts’s alleged violations and calls on Campbell to order the college to divest from fossil fuels. 

Tufts denies any wrongdoing.

“The college is and at all times has been in compliance with the Massachusetts Uniform Prudent Administration of Institutional Funds Act,” Tufts spokesman Patrick Collins wrote in an e mail to Boston.com.

The criticism argues that by way of its fossil gasoline investments, Tufts has a monetary stake within the environmental and social harms brought on by local weather change, which violates the college’s funding obligations as a charitable group. 

The criticism additionally argues for divestment on purely monetary grounds, stating that fossil gasoline corporations have carried out poorly lately and calling them an “excessively dangerous” funding.

Members of the scholar group Tufts Local weather Motion put collectively the criticism with professional bono assist from attorneys on the Local weather Protection Mission. They be a part of college students at six different colleges across the nation — the College of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State College, Pomona Faculty, the College of Chicago, and Washington College in St. Louis — who all filed related complaints in their very own states based mostly on the Institutional Funds legislation.

The college teams are calling themselves the “Solidarity Six.” They’re following within the footsteps of the “Fossil Free 5” — Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, and Vanderbilt — who in February 2022 launched an identical divestment marketing campaign. In a serious win for that coalition, Princeton’s Board of Trustees voted to divest in September 2022. Individually, Harvard introduced it might divest from all fossil gasoline holdings in 2021.

Claire Robinson is an undergraduate scholar and a member of Tufts Local weather Motion. Pupil activism and media consideration performed vital roles in Harvard’s and Princeton’s divestment selections, Robinson stated. She hopes this criticism will put added strain on Tufts to divest.

Tufts college students have been asking for full divestment from fossil fuels for years. In 2021, the college banned direct investments in coal and tar sands corporations and dedicated to investing in “constructive impression local weather methods” equivalent to clear vitality. In 2022, Tufts reported that every one of its remaining vitality sector investments had been “not directly” invested in mutual funds managed by a 3rd celebration. However many college students say that isn’t sufficient and proceed to name for full divestment.

“The time is now,” Robinson stated. “There’s actually no time to waste.”

Greater than 20 scholar organizations from colleges across the nation added their names to the Tufts criticism. Two native metropolis councilors and 7 Tufts school members additionally signed on in help of divestment.

“We wished to actually present the college that it’s not only a group of scholars that’s wanting this to occur, nevertheless it’s actually individuals in the neighborhood and in addition members of the school as properly,” Robinson stated.

The lawyer normal’s workplace declined a request for remark.