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Last week’s student referendum “does not align with our goal of a properly diversified endowment,” the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson said in a letter.

The president of Creighton University disagreed Wednesday with 2,093 students who voted last week to ask Creighton to divest from fossil fuels.

The students requested through a formal referendum that Creighton’s administration stop new investments in the fossil fuel industry. By 2025, the referendum said, the university should divest the 2% of its endowment that is in the top 200 carbon-emitting companies in that industry.

The Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, Creighton’s president, sent a letter to the university community Wednesday saying that he supports those who are passionate about sustainability efforts.

“Perhaps nothing is as complex — or as consequential — as global climate change,” Hendrickson wrote.

But he said the aim of the nonbinding student referendum “does not align with our goal of a properly diversified endowment, and could negatively impact Creighton and our students.”

He invited two of the leaders of the group that pushed for the vote to meet with him Friday morning.

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The students, Mike Galeski and Hugh Truempi, said they wanted to hear out the president before talking about the letter. The students “cannot act emotionally or too quickly,” said Galeski, of Omaha. “We’re going to be very direct, very transparent, and we expect the same from him.”

About 86% of the students who voted favored divesting.

Hendrickson announced that he will host a campus forum Jan. 28 on sustainability, responsible investing and caring for the environment.

He said he also has called for a campus work group to address those topics and carbon neutrality, use of plastics and other matters.

Hendrickson said he will create a new institute, the Common Home Project, to provide innovative programming for the Creighton community to “shape the future of our planet.”

He also said he has asked the Creighton Board of Trustees’ investment subcommittee to evaluate and consider investing in companies developing alternative sources of energy and technologies that reduce carbon emissions.

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