WASHINGTON, DC – On June 4, 2015, the Board of Directors of Georgetown University passed a resolution stating that the university will not make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds in companies whose principal business is mining coal for use in energy production.
The board resolution emphasizes Georgetown’s Jesuit Catholic mission as an impetus to “lead on issues of justice and the common good such as environmental protection and sustainability.” It also states clearly that climate change is “real and poses a serious threat.” They also identified the efforts of Georgetown University Fossil Free and the University’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility.
“The work of understanding and responding to the demands of climate change is urgent and complex,” said John J. DeGioia, Ph.D., president of Georgetown University in a university statement. DeGioia continued, “It requires our most serious attention. As a university community, we can best respond to this evolving and ongoing challenge when we acknowledge the tensions embedded in this work – and the variety of perspectives that are present in this moment.”
This announcement comes from Georgetown as another Jesuit university is considering a call from faculty to divest from fossil fuel related industries. Earlier this year over 200 Loyola University Chicago faculty members expressed their support of the movement to divest led by Loyola president Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J. The issue will be addressed by university administrators and the board of directors in the coming weeks.
Action on both campuses comes just a couple weeks before Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change will be promulgated. Earlier today the Vatican announced that it will be shared publicly on June 18th.