This morning CDP filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Wisconsin Attorney General regarding the investment of the University of Wisconsin-Madison endowment in fossil fuels. The complaint — signed by a long list of faculty, alumni, and community members — demonstrates that profiting off of the fossil fuel industry’s destructive activities violates state law governing charitable investment. The complaint is directed against the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, which invests on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The effort is the latest in a series of complaints filed with state Attorneys General by CDP. In 2019, Cornell University paused all investments in fossil fuels shortly after a complaint was filed with the New York State Attorney General. In December 2020, CDP filed a complaint regarding Boston College’s improper investments, followed by a complaint against the Harvard Corporation in March. In the past weeks, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has held meetings with CDP and members of the Boston College and Harvard communities to discuss the alleged legal violations, a process that may lead to investigations into the schools’ investment conduct.
You can read more about this new legal strategy from Bill McKibben in The New Yorker, Teen Vogue, Common Dreams, The Harvard Crimson, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Daily Herald.