Earlier this year, a small but vocal group of environmental agitators at the University of Denver convinced the Board of Trustees to convene a committee to evaluate the endowment’s investment in fossil fuel stocks. Divest DU is seeking “climate justice” for things such as the polar ice caps, and, in their minds, dumping Exxon from the school’s investment portfolio is just the way to do it. Later this week, the committee will hold a hearing on this foolish action.
Judging by the three-member panel chosen by the trustees to evaluate the merits of the divestment claims, there is no chance that they will rule in the divestment club’s favor. All three men – Jim Griesemer, former dean of the Daniels School of Business; Cappy Shopneck of South Wood Financial; and Craig Harrison, a managing director at Arrowhead Partners – have decades of business experience and investment acumen. That kind of background does not bend to the whims of undergrads caught up in various “climate science” theories at the expense of a prudent investment allocation within an endowment designed to last generations. After all, even failed left-wing regent candidate Alice Madden bailed on the divestment movement.
The divestment movement is just the latest chapter in liberal folly put on display by college students. While the investment managers of the school’s endowment have a duty to invest for the long haul, it would be pretty unrealistic to exclude energy stocks from the equation, unless you really buy into that vision of a world powered by sunshine, windmills and unicorn farts in the near future.
In turn, schools are listening to these student grievances, and telling the kids to just go away. Just last year the University of Colorado announced that it would not divest of fossil fuel stocks, and in 2013 Colorado College made the same decision. We expect more of the same from DU in January.