- Barnard College has responded to calls to abandon endowment investment in fossil fuel companies with a strategy which aligns its portfolios with companies which accept climate change theory and adopt alternative energy means.
- Officials say that the new plan raises the profile of companies searching for environmental preservation, and positions the college to reinvest dividends in companies pioneering ecological innovation.
- Critics say there is still gray area around how the school will define companies as "accepting" of climate change science, and school officials confirm at the task force on divestment continues to vet strategies for an official school policy.
No other industry understands the value of controversial funding resources like higher education. Frequently, colleges and universities are the subject of inquiry over ties with companies with questionable practices in labor, environmental impact or political connections. But these inquiries don't make the college any less in need of money, or any more likely to find it in other directions.
It is up to institutional leaders to be transparent with students, alumni and stakeholders about how philanthropy works, and how it is either driven by thousands of small donors, or dozens of big benefactors.