The UMass Foundation, which oversees the University of Massachusetts system's $770 million endowment, said Thursday that it will cease direct investment in coal companies, public radio station WBUR and The Boston Globe report. Charles J. Pagnam, the foundation's executive vice president, said the move "sends an important message about the urgency of climate change and the university community’s commitment to addressing it."
The foundation established an advisory board on socially responsible investing last year. A student activist group, UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, has been calling since 2012 for the university to pull its stakes in gas, oil, and coal. The group applauded the coal decision, saying it "shows the power of student organizing," but said it would continue to push for the system to divest from all fossil-fuel industries. Campus groups nationwide have stepped up calls for their universities to shift investment from polluting industries to clean energy.