Columbia University: Admit Your Exxon Ties

Co-sign our letter to Columbia University President Dr. Lee Bollinger, asking that he compel Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy, to release the names of the Center’s funders and amounts donated since its inception. Recently, it was revealed that ExxonMobil donated, through its foundation, $25,000 to the Center on Global Energy Policy in 2014. An examination of the Advisory Board of the Global Center on Climate Policy reveals that nine of 19 members have ties to fossil fuel industries.

Dear Dr. Bollinger:

We noted your recent request to Columbia’s School of Journalism Dean Steve Coll to review the allegations in a Nov. 22 letter by ExxonMobil PR executive Ken Cohen that Columbia University journalists unfairly reported the company had misled the public about climate change. We think it was generous of you to task Dean Coll with this review in the spirit of complete transparency. In that same spirit, we want to bring to your attention the long-standing resistance to just such transparency by Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy (CGEP) and its Founding Director Jason Bordoff. 

Now that POLITICO has revealed that ExxonMobil donated, through its foundation, $25,000 to CGEP in 2014, we ask that you insist the Center report its funding sources and amounts since it was created. 


Given your clear commitment to upholding the Columbia University values of balance and accountability, I am sure that we are bringing this to your attention for the first time. That’s why we respectfully request that you ask Mr. Bordoff for the same level of transparency that you insisted on from the School of Journalism. Will you compel Mr. Bordoff to release the names of CGEP's funders and amounts donated since its inception?


Scott Peterson, executive director, Checks and Balances Project
Ken Cook, co-founder & president, Environmental Working Group
Ross Hammond, US Campaigns director, ForestEthics
Mike Tidwell, director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Jane Kleeb, founder, Bold Nebraska
Tyson Slocum, director, Public Citizen
RL Miller, cofounder, Climate Hawks Vote
Columbia Divest for Climate Justice

Read the full letter here (PDF).

1,909 signatures

Who's signing

Diane Skudlarek
Tracy Drake Drake
Lawrence Frank
Patricia Randazzo
James Klein
Robert Belknap
Eleanor Weisman
Greg Cascio
Janice Carlson
John Keiser
Thomas San Filippo
rob fursich
Janet Henne
Alec Behr
Marcia Halligan
Tony Alberico
Lynda Barry
Jamie Castaneda
Kevin Patterson
Bartley Lawson
Frank Stahl
Sean Jensen
Susanna Levin
Emily Johnson
Gerry Martin
Carolyn De Mirjian
Mihai C
Scott Coahran
Bobbie Turner
Lawrence Jacksina

Showing 1787 reactions

  • Diane Skudlarek
    signed 2015-12-18 08:45:13 -0800
  • Tracy Drake Drake
    signed 2015-12-18 08:45:11 -0800
  • Lawrence Frank
    signed 2015-12-18 08:45:07 -0800
  • Patricia Randazzo
    signed 2015-12-18 08:45:01 -0800
  • James Klein
    signed 2015-12-18 08:44:57 -0800
    This remains a vexing problem primarily due to industry’s ability to curry favor with elected officials. The corrupting influence of money in our political system is undermining our democratic traditions and discouraging Americans from voting and/or running for office. This ominous development may well end our experiment in representative democracy unless we alter this decades-long trend. For the sake of the republic, we must amend the US Constitution to state that corporations are not people (and do not have constitutional rights) and money is not speech (and thus can be regulated by state and/or federal campaign finance laws). Short of accomplishing this, no other reform of significance will be achieved. The moneyed interests will turn any reform to their benefit, often at the expense of the nation as a whole.
  • Robert Belknap
    signed 2015-12-18 08:44:53 -0800
  • Eleanor Weisman
    signed 2015-12-18 08:44:32 -0800
  • Greg Cascio
    signed 2015-12-18 08:44:13 -0800
  • Janice Carlson
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:48 -0800
  • John Keiser
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:44 -0800
  • Thomas San Filippo
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:44 -0800
  • rob fursich
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:29 -0800
  • Janet Henne
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:09 -0800
  • Alec Behr
    signed 2015-12-18 08:43:04 -0800
  • Marcia Halligan
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:52 -0800
  • Tony Alberico
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:52 -0800
  • Lynda Barry
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:51 -0800
  • Jamie Castaneda
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:51 -0800
  • Kevin Patterson
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:47 -0800
  • Bartley Lawson
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:43 -0800
  • Frank Stahl
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:38 -0800
  • Sean Jensen
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:35 -0800
  • Susanna Levin
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:32 -0800
    I am a Columbia graduate. I expect high standards from my alma mater.
  • Emily Johnson
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:19 -0800
  • Gerry Martin
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:04 -0800
  • Carolyn De Mirjian
    signed 2015-12-18 08:42:01 -0800
  • Mihai C
    signed 2015-12-18 08:41:56 -0800
  • Scott Coahran
    signed 2015-12-18 08:41:37 -0800
  • Bobbie Turner
    signed 2015-12-18 08:41:22 -0800
  • Lawrence Jacksina
    signed 2015-12-18 08:41:22 -0800
    What kind of education does Columbia offer when it has research dictated by self-serving corporate funds?