Tue December 4, 2012
Lawyer Says Info Can Be Hard To Winnow From University foundations
As climate change activists keep the pressure on the UW Foundation to change its ways, the protestors could face some legal obstacles.
Members of the group 350.org want the UW Foundation to dump its holdings in the fossil fuel industry, and disclose more about those holdings. A foundation official briefly met with the protestors Monday, and said he'd relay their concerns to foundation President Michael Knetter. But the foundation also says it's separate from the university and is a private not-for-profit institution. Attorney Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center in Virginia says getting access to the records of that type of a university foundation takes some doing.
LoMonte says it can take a lot of money, time and legal expertise to get university foundations to be more open, and that big media outlets with deep pockets have had the most luck. He says looking at a foundation's IRS tax returns can provide bit more information. LoMonte says it's in the public good for a university foundation to disclose, "The donors have a right to know."
On a warm week in December, the climate change activists say they'll keep pushing for more information and action.