100 signatures reached
To: NYU STUDENTS FACULTY STAFF AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS
Remove Larry Fink CEO of BlackRock from NYU board of Trustees
Dear William Berkeley, Chair of the Board of Trustees,
Posted on the Bobst library window are the words: “Because in your admissions essay, you said you would change the world.” This is our attempt to make a change.
We are writing this letter to you, and the other Trustees, regarding a current member of the Board. Chairman Laurence D. Fink. He has come to our attention as a blatant contradiction of NYU’s supposed commitment to sustainability. Given his role as Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock Inc, a major shareholder in fossil fuel companies and ICE deportation, we believe his place on the board is a severe conflict of interest with your divestment plans.
Laurence D. Fink’s company holds $85 billion in investments in coal companies, is the second-largest shareholder in the oil and gas companies ExxonMobil and Phillips 66, and is the third-largest shareholder in Chevron. BlackRock Inc. is also the largest shareholder in companies that own and operate prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers in this country and around the world amounting to nearly $279 million in invested capital in CoreCivic and GEO Group.
Not only does Mr. Fink stand in the way of NYU’s divestment from fossil fuels, but he also blocks NYU from being the forward-thinking and civic-minded university that it has the potential to become. As an international university on the rise to becoming one of the world’s most recognizable educational institutions, we, the students, demand this university have a positive impact on its global community.
We write this letter as an appeal to the Board to request Laurence Fink’s removal from the NYU Board of Trustees. As NYU launches its 2040-Now campaign, we, as students and NYU community members, feel as though our promises are empty words unless we can take concrete action. The final goal of the 2040-Now initiative is to achieve complete carbon neutrality, however, without divestment from fossil fuel-related stocks that will not be achieved. The presence of a BlackRock executive on the NYU Board of Trustees makes this final goal impossible – already NYU is lagging behind peer colleges such as the New School, how do we know having a BlackRock executive who consistently puts profit over people will not continue to deter divestment actions by the university?
On the West 4th Street Starbucks window are the words: “Sustainability is not a spectator sport” and yet NYU’s administration, and you, the board, are sitting back and watching us do all the work. This is not acceptable. It is time NYU stops placing the burden of climate action on students, who individually have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. It is time for NYU to stop shifting the blame. You, the board, have the opportunity to create a real impact and prove to NYU students and the city of New York that NYU cares about its community and the world. This change must start with Laurence D. Fink’s removal from the board and a serious commitment to divestment.
On the NYU website advertising the 2040-Now campaign, it reads: “Be a climate optimist.” Given NYU's education, we know that optimism without concrete action is a death wish. Instead, we chose to be climate realists, who understand that if NYU does not act NOW, we will not be able to stave off an even more dangerous climate crisis. The reality is, 2040 is too late for carbon neutrality. Scientists know that if we continue business as usual until 2040 we will have surpassed an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius means we will already be seeing the most dramatic effects of climate change (IPCC Report 2022). Again, as the sign for the 2040-Now campaign on the Bobst Library says: “because in your admissions essay, you said you would change the world.” You are making it impossible for your students to live in a safe world and have a bright future. You are running out the clock so that NYU students, whose potential you saw, will have no chance to change this world at all.
We, the NYU community, do not want Laurence D. Fink, a major shareholder in the fossil fuel industry and other immoral industries, to make decisions about our university. We do not want him as a symbol of our institution. You have given us the skills needed to understand the climate crisis and see the hypocrisy of a giant institution such as NYU spouting sustainability while having a Big Oil shareholder in its highest rung, and while still not having divested from fossil fuels. We demand that you hear our voices and remove Laurence D. Fink from the Board. Divest from fossil fuels NOW.
The Climate Care Collective along with the undersigned
Why is this important?
NYU has not divested from fossil fuels… the reason: a ceo from one of the largest fossil fuel investors sits on the board.
NYU says they will divest by 2040, we know that is too little too late.
We also know this cannot happen with Laurence fink, CEO of Black Rock, one of the biggest fossil fuel investors in the world, sitting on the board of trustees.