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The protests over the Israel-Hamas war put a spotlight on college endowments

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Fierce disagreement about support or opposition to the war within campus communities is another reason that schools have likely not taken action. Many on campuses hear calls for divestment from Israel or an end to the war as an attack on Jewish people more broadly or as glossing over the deaths and pain caused by Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, which killed 1,200 people.

Jennie C. Stephens, a professor at Northeastern University’s policy school and a climate justice fellow at Harvard-Radcliffe, has written a forthcoming book about the movement for climate justice at universities, including calls for divestment from fossil fuels. She said the initial reaction from universities when called on to divest from fossil fuels was also to say that their funds were comingled with other investors, managed by third parties or that they didn’t know what they were invested in. Eventually, though, those schools that committed to divesting from fossil fuels figured out how to do it.

“These elite institutions with big endowments have a lot of power and they concentrate wealth and power through their endowments,” Stephens said. “And they do have control over how that money is invested.”

Read more at AP

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