- Activists ask Maryland, New Mexico AGs to investigate alleged state law violations
- Complaints say investments violate states’ Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Acts
(Reuters) – Student climate activists are seeking to force Johns Hopkins University and the University of New Mexico to dump their fossil fuel-related investments, saying they violate state law.
In complaints submitted Tuesday to the attorneys general of Maryland and New Mexico, the students say the universities’ endowment managers failed to consider the schools’ “charitable purposes” by investing in the fossil-fuel industry.
The moves expand a new legal front in a campaign to end fossil-fuel investments by U.S. university endowments. In both complaints, the students allege violations of the schools’ fiduciary duties under their states’ Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA).
The laws require institutions to manage funds donated to charitable institutions prudently and in good faith. They are on the books in all states but Pennsylvania, said Benjamin Orzeske, chief counsel at the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit that drafted UPMIFA in 2006.
Harvard University students earlier this year filed a similar petition with the Massachusetts attorney general that they credit with helping bring about the school’s Sept. 9 decision to pull fossil-fuel investments from its $53 billion endowment.
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