“Divest NU” organization to make demands to Board of Regents

The student organization wants the University of Nebraska System out of the fossil fuel industry.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Divest NU, a student organization, has released a list of demands ahead of the final scheduled meeting for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

They intend on giving these demands during the public comment portion of Friday’s meeting as part of their goal to get the University out of the fossil fuel industry.

Divest NU’s four demands are:

“1. For NU to make a public commitment to fully divest both Fund A and Fund N from CU 200 companies by a reasonable date
2. Formulate an action-oriented plan to achieve full divestment by the promised date
3. Carry out the plan and achieve full divestment by the promised date
4. Complete demands 1-3 in a way that prioritizes transparency to the NU community, involves students in the process, communicates climate change and its many intersections as motivation to divest, and gives credit where credit is due.”

According to the University’s most recently released numbers, around $7 million of Fund N are invested in companies that are part of the Carbon Underground 200 index of top coal, oil, and gas companies.

“It was a surprise to all of us when we found out”, says Madison Whitney, an environmental studies major who is part of Divest NU.

She explains that their concern about the investments stems from a number of sources: “From the economic standpoint, fossil fuels are becoming less competitive, so really they’re losing money in the future. If you look at it from an environmental point of view, fossil fuels are bad for water quality, air quality.”

The University says they’re listening. The following is a statement released to KLKN about divestment:

“We have been working very productively with student leaders on issues related to sustainability. They have brought great ideas to the table and they will be a key voice in the development of a University of Nebraska system-wide sustainability plan. Divestment is one piece of the sustainability conversation, but not the only piece. There are many ways the University of Nebraska can reduce our environmental impact. Divestment is a complex issue, with many elements that need to be considered. We are very pleased with the ESG (environmental, social and governance) policy that was passed by the Board of Regents earlier this year which will give the regents maximum flexibility as they consider how best to invest our endowment funds. We look forward to continuing to work closely with students on sustainability issues.”

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