April 16, 2015

Syracuse University’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Charade

George Will: “Syracuse University alumni are new additions to the lengthening list of persons who can stop contributing to their alma maters. The university has succumbed — after, one suspects, not much agonizing — to the temptation to indulge in progressive gestures. It will divest all fossil fuel stocks from its endowment. … The effect of these decisions on consumption of fossil fuels will be nil; the effect on the growth of institutions’ endowments will be negative. The effect on alumni giving should be substantial, because divesting institutions are proclaiming that the goal of expanding educational resources is less important than the striking of righteous poses — if there can be anything righteous about flamboyant futility. … There is a social benefit from the sustainability mania: the further marginalization of academia. It prevents colleges and universities from trading on what they are rapidly forfeiting, their reputations for seriousness. … College tuitions are soaring in tandem with thickening layers of administrative bloat. So here is a proposal: Hundreds of millions could be saved, with no cost to any institution’s core educational mission, by eliminating every position whose title contains the word ‘sustainability’ — and, while we are at it, ‘diversity,’ ‘multicultural’ or ‘inclusivity.’ The result would be higher education higher than the propaganda-saturated version we have, and more sustainable.”

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