PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Environmental activists on Thursday called on Maine's Bowdoin College to stop investing endowment money in companies they say contribute to global warming.
Environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben of Vermont, joined by representatives from Unity College, Sierra Club Maine, and a student from Bowdoin College, said the liberal arts school in Brunswick can help combat global warming by stopping investments in oil, gas and coal companies and other businesses connected to fossil fuels.
Students at 234 American colleges and universities have launched petition drives or taken other steps urging school presidents and trustees to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry, McKibben said in a telephone conference call with reporters.
At Bowdoin, which has an enrollment of about 1,750, about 500 students have signed petitions, said Hugh Ratcliffe, a sophomore from Austin, Texas. Even more signatures have been collected from alumni and townspeople in Brunswick, he said.
Students have met with Bowdoin President Barry Mills to talk about the school's investments, Ratcliffe said. Mills was sympathetic, but told them that adopting a no-investment policy in an industry could hurt the school's endowment and, in turn, diminish the amount of scholarship money available to students, Ratcliffe said.
Bowdoin spokesman Doug Cook said Mills has met with students several times, but the school has no plans to divest its investments that have holdings in fossil fuel industry.