Students hold 'die-in' to protest fossil fuels -- 'stuff that literally kills people'

One student told the campus paper that Binghamton invests in “stuff that literally kills people," like fossil fuels.

Students at Binghamton University in New York held a die-in to protest the perceived lack of transparency in the school’s endowment investments.

The executive director of the Binghamton University Foundation challenged the students’ claims, saying the foundation’s annual financial statements are available to the public online.

Students at Binghamton University in New York held a die-in to protest the alleged lack of transparency in the school’s fundraising foundation, the Binghamton University Foundation, which one group suspects is investing in fossil fuels, which it says “literally kills people.”

Die-ins are a type of protest where participants lie on the ground as if dead, typically to bring attention to a cause that is leading to death. 

[RELATED: UC system announces divestment from fossil fuels]

The protest was hosted by a group called DIVEST BING. One of its members, Elizabeth Nutig, told the Pipe Dream, the campus paper, that in addition to calling for more transparency in the school’s endowment investments, DIVEST BING is also protesting investments into “stuff that literally kills people.”

Image credit: Pipe Dream  “We’re protesting against the lack of transparency with the endowment of this school,” Nutig said. “The Binghamton University Foundation refuses to tell us where our money is going, and historically money that universities and other big organizations or corporations invest in is fossil fuels, war machines and prison labor, which is stuff that literally kills people.” 

Other students said they hoped the protest would raise awareness of the issue. 

The protest also included gravestone props to represent the deaths of environmental activists. 

According to the BU Foundation website, the organization is a non-profit that “manages and invests gifts donors make” to BU. 

[RELATED: UIUC shrugs shoulders at fossil fuel divestment demand]

Sheila Doyle, Executive Director of the BU Foundation, disputed the lack of transparency claims leveled by DIVEST BING. 

“I met with this group and discussed how the Binghamton University Foundation distributes nearly $14 million back to campus every year based on the donor’s intentions,” Doyle told the Pipe Dream. “I listened to their concerns and informed them I would pass them on to our Foundation Board. The Foundation and its affiliates are audited annually by an independent public accountant and in support of our commitment to transparency, we have IRS Form 990 and annual financial statements available to the public online.”

Campus Reform perused online publicly available financial documents and found that they list investment categories for the Binghamton University Foundation, but did not find any specific investments listed. 

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