PALO ALTO, Calif. — Stanford University has staked a sizable claim in the rush to ensure a more fiscally and environmentally stable future by divesting its holdings in coal-mining companies. Instead, its trustees have decided to invest in gold, bringing aboard Glenn Beck to lead the paradigm shift.
In dumping the stocks of roughly 100 companies “whose principal business is coal” from their $18.7 billion endowment, Stanford stands to become the most prominent of the dozen or so universities who have already signed on to the student-led divestment movement.
Deborah DeCotis, the chairwoman of the advisory committee tasked with studying divestment for Stanford’s board of trustees, noted the existence of viable alternatives to coal, which produces the most carbon per energy unit of any common fossil fuel on the market today.
“In contrast, exploiting gold to accumulate further wealth,” said DeCotis, “produces only negligible amounts of carbon.” Her conclusions were reflected in the committee’s recommendation to add to the university’s board of trustees Glenn Beck, a paid endorser of investments in the precious metal for Goldline International.
The divestment effort marks a stunning reversal for a university built on a gold rush era railroad fortune, which was literally driven by coal. It also points to a change of heart for Beck, who has been outspoken in his denial of humankind’s contribution to global warming.
Late last year Beck broadcast a message to his employees, saying, “If you’re doing anything in this company because of global warming, you’re fired…Global warming is a pile of crap…a load of socialist, communist crap.”
The difference now, says Beck, is that he has recently become much more concerned about the future of his children and grandchildren. “I don’t care about sea levels rising, but I sure as hell care about getting my kids into Stanford and being able to pay for it.”