The Students Engaged in Environmental Discussion and Service club, or SEEDS, is petitioning the University of La Verne to divest its investments in fossil fuel companies.
The University should divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies because holding these stocks clashes with its mission and values. SEEDS has taken the initiative to bring the Go Fossil Free campaign on campus and make students aware that the University may have holdings in the fossil fuel industry.
Chief Financial Officer Avo Kechichian said that the Board of Trustees has the final say in how the University chooses to make its investments, citing a financial responsibility to ensure that their investments have higher returns so that the University can fund scholarships.
Although it is true that the goal of investing is to create higher profit returns, the University should also consider the environmental and ethical ramifications of holding stocks in the fossil fuel industry.
Kechichian said that ULV has about 87 percent of its investments in mutual funds. The problem with mutual funds is that the University does not have direct say in which companies are included in these funds. The mutual fund managers select the companies that will be included. With the managers in control of the companies, there may or may not be companies in the fossil fuel industry. It is time for the University to divest from fossil fuel companies and stay true to its values.
With possible holdings in fossil fuel companies, the University does not follow through with its goals toward sustainability. Having stock holdings in fossil fuel companies allows these businesses and corporations to remain in business as well as shows support for their agendas, which are not in line with the University’s.
If ULV is going to have a sustainable mission, then it should be sustainable in all aspects and not only in aspects that will financially benefit the University. Taking advantage of economic opportunities does not negate the responsibility the University has to uphold its values and stay true to what it preaches to prospective and current students, faculty and staff.
Instead of holding stocks in the fossil fuel industry, the University should look to invest in companies that are sustainable.