Last Monday, an article was published in the Yale Daily News detailing the Nov. 5 rally at Beinecke Plaza that was organized by the Endowment Justice Coalition. As members of the EJC, we are concerned with this article’s misrepresentations of our demands and goals, and its inaccurate reporting on Yale’s existing protocols for and usage of its enormous endowment. We’re writing to correct the record.

On Nov. 5, students came together to express our collective frustration at an institution that hoards outrageous amounts of wealth for itself and away from the community. Student organizers gave speeches in opposition to the University’s unconscionable greed, which is clearly demonstrated in the size, growth and allocation of the endowment. Amidst a crowd of approximately 300 people, they demanded that the University recognize the harm that it continues to perpetuate and to spend its wealth in redistributive and reparative ways. 

In its coverage of these demands, the News provided a quote from University spokesperson Karen Peart in which she claimed that “Yale’s endowment is restricted to support various aspects of the university’s core mission,” suggesting that University policy makes a justice-oriented approach to wielding the endowment impossible. The News failed to report that in the rally’s opening speech, Garrett Frye-Mason ’23 and Lumisa Bista ’24 had already responded to these arguments: “Many people believe [that the size of Yale’s endowment] is due entirely to restrictions associated with specific donations or to Yale’s spending rule; however, 24 percent of the endowment funds are categorized as “unrestricted”, amounting to $10 billion that the University can spend but refuses to do so. With its immense wealth, Yale could have no possible justification for its greed.” 

Throughout the long movement for divestment, the Yale administration has consistently hidden behind such claimed restrictions to avoid change. But even this thin excuse ignores the present realities of the newly announced For Humanity campaign, which is seeking to raise $7 billion in new donations. The University cannot truthfully claim that restricted funds prevent necessary spending that would address material needs and harms when it is in the process of eliciting more billions of dollars, for which it writes the rules. Right now, it can decide to change the restrictions and policies for this money. It gets to choose how to spend it. And none of the restrictions Yale hides behind in any way compel the indefensible practice of investing in fossil fuels. 

Yale has no excuse for its greed. The administration continues to willfully mislead and downplay student concerns, but the News does not have to guilelessly repeat their talking points. Student organizers have repeatedly refuted these claims in speeches and opinions pieces in this very publication, and we question why these responses were not included as necessary context to Karen Peart’s quotes. 

The article also falsely claims that the Endowment Justice Coalition “called for Yale to increase its voluntary annual payment to the City of New Haven.” The EJC, echoing the organizing of New Haven Rising, wants Yale to be obligated to pay taxes on its property to the City of New Haven. We reject the entire paradigm of the voluntary contribution, one that accepts as inevitable the vast inequality of resources, rights and privileges enjoyed by Yale as compared to the rest of the New Haven community.

Finally, this article contains two quotes, one from Karen Peart and another from a first-year rally attendee, which falsely suggest that the University has already begun divesting from fossil fuels. To be clear, Yale has not. This April, Yale announced that the endowment’s exposure to fossil fuels was equal to 2.6 percent, amounting to a staggering $800 million invested in fossil fuel companies whose profits depend on extracting and burning fossil fuels, knowingly dragging the planet into climate catastrophe while spreading climate denialism and subverting government efforts at regulation. With the recent endowment growth, the size of this exposure is likely equivalent or even greater. Ms. Peart pointed to a report released by the Committee for Fossil Fuels Investments Principles that outlines the University’s plan to only pull funds from fossil fuel companies that fall short of their weak, arbitrary and opaque standards. However, gradually naming ineligible companies is not divestment in any sense of the word and completely misses the urgency of the climate crisis and the immediacy with which we must respond. In this way, the University and Karen Peart are coopting a radical word for their own substanceless rhetoric, and the News and its readership should not accept such claims. When we say divestment, we don’t mean partial divestment. We mean no investment—not a single dollar—in the fossil fuel industry. We mean a commitment to transparency, so that the community can monitor Yale’s investments and hold the University accountable. And we mean a loud statement to the world, including other institutional investors, that investing in fossil fuels is radically immoral and unacceptable. 

To any student outraged by Yale’s continued complicity in the climate crisis, we invite you to come organize with the EJC and help us build the movement that will force Yale to do better.

AVERY LONG is a sophomore in Morse College. Contact him at ABIGAIL MAHER is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College. Contact her at