Year 4, Month 3, Day 25: You Only Gave Me Your Invitation

The Hyde Park Herald (IL) notes UofC students’ divestiture campaign:

Students at the University of Chicago aren’t remaining silent in their demand that the university stop investing its money in companies that deal in coal and fossil fuels.
“The petition is something we’ve been working on getting signed all quarter,” said Marissa Lieberman-Klein, a fourth year anthropology student.

The student organization Stop Funding Climate Change, UChicago delivered a petition with more than 500 signatures to president Robert Zimmer’s office on Friday afternoon.
The students asked the university to immediately stop investing any money in companies such as Exxon Mobil or Arch Coal and within the next five years have removed all of its financial investments from companies that produce fossil fuels.

Last quarter, the students delivered a letter to Zimmer’s office demanding a meeting on the topic with the board of trustees. Lieberman-Klein said the students had yet to receive a response.

This is a rewritten version of the letter published in the Journal of Higher Education. Sent March 14:

In the fight against climate change, the student-led campaign encouraging colleges and universities to end their fossil-fuel investments is a genuinely hopeful sign. While financial analyses have shown that divestiture won’t negatively impact institutional portfolios, doing the right thing shouldn’t require a fiscal rationale.

Education is based on the principle that knowledge can be transmitted across boundaries of age and culture, thereby ensuring a future of steadily increasing wisdom. Such a future is gravely imperiled by climate change, a planetary crisis precipitated by industrial civilization’s rapid introduction of millions of years’ accumulated carbon into the atmosphere in a geological instant, and exacerbated by the destructive business practices of big oil and coal companies.

Continued support of fossil fuels may be profitable in the short run, but it is a betrayal of our societal commitment to a better future. In striving to change UChicago’s investment policies, these students demonstrate a profound commitment to the true ideals of education: fostering responsibility to and for the greater social good.

Warren Senders


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