• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 5 comments on Trustees Adopt Broad Climate Change Strategy

  1. Congratulations to BU for this gesture. However, two things from President Brown’s letter are troubling:

    1) “perfect implementation cannot be assured, however, given the University’s inability to have total investment control due to the endowment’s extensive use of commingled investment vehicles for which the investment manager has complete investment authority”

    Sounds like we are all beholden to some Wizard of Oz-type figure who, apparently, is immune to concern over the social and environmental ramifications of his/her dealings.

    2) “This proposal, like number 1 above, must be undertaken in concert with the requirement to meet the University’s fiduciary duties to its endowment.”

    The university has “duties to its endowment”?! Has administrative thinking really become so backward? Must – not – offend – the money!

    Questrom folk are welcome to pile on at this point. But, remember, we are not talking about fiduciary neglicence here, but ethical investment and realigning the university’s assets to harmonize with the values it supposedly promotes.

  2. If investment in an S&P index fund means indirectly owning fossil fuel company stock, one can always take a short position on that sector to neutralize it. Shorting coal would have been very profitable the past 5 years.

  3. This is good news, but why does BU Today continue to churn out press releases for school administration? Not even a react quote from student protestors? No criticism of this plan, at all? No wider context or potential conflicts of interest, like the fact that Brown is on the board of DuPont, a company that lobbies against taking action on climate change, has a shoddy environmental record, and was labeled a “severe violator” of workplace safety standards?

  4. Well, BU has made a good start. This is good news, and all universities and colleges are invited to take an even larger step, as Stanford has–to avoid all investments related to the highly inefficient tar sands oil companies and highly polluting coal companies. Even better, if the colleges and pension funds follow the Rockefeller Foundation, there will be divestment of all fossil fuel companies. We know better than to dump carbon into the air and to acidify our oceans so much that coral reef bleaching is becoming widespread. Congratulations to BU for starting to move in the right direction, as its students so wisely call for!

  5. Ummm…a start, but really just a gesture. If there’s sincere intent to end support for the fossil fuel industry and help slow climate change, LOTS more needs to be done. Seems like BU leadership is straddling the fence here, not really committing to at all. “Efforts to avoid investments…” is a very squishy position.

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