I was shocked and disappointed by the lack of intellectual and moral courage evident in President Salovey’s Dec. 1 statement regarding the Yale-Harvard climate protest. It is intellectually dishonest to say that Yale tells its managers “not to hold companies that disregard the social and financial costs of climate change and that fail to take economically sensible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” while at the same time refusing to divest from fossil fuel companies. No industry contributes more to the costs of climate change, while reaping huge profits.
Nor does Yale explain why its top-tier investment managers can’t produce the same return on investment as a portfolio without fossil fuel companies. Teaching, research and committees are useful efforts but entirely risk-free. The looming climate catastrophe demands more of all
More reprehensible is President Salovey’s refusal to acknowledge the courage and leadership of the students and others who planned and participated in an act of civil disobedience. He even hints at disciplinary action, on top of the fines and jail time the City of New Haven is threatening. A Yale University that values courage, leadership, science and the future of the planet, more than a football game, should be proud of its students.
I, for one, will redirect my annual Yale contributions to the protesters’ defense fund, and to other climate change actions, unless and until Yale shows that it, too, understands the urgent need to address climate change and is willing to take commensurate risks.
DENNIS CUSACK graduated from Yale College in 1979. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .