Students urge U to take action on climate change in two referendums

The statements on behalf of the student body ask that the University of Minnesota divest from fossil fuels and declare a climate emergency.

by Farrah Mina

University of Minnesota students voted in the All-Campus Elections in favor of referendums asking the University to divest from fossil fuels and declare a climate emergency.

Both referendums, sponsored by the MN Youth Climate Strike, were widely supported by students, with each receiving more than 80% of the vote. Once passed, a referendum — a statement sponsored by a registered student group — represents an opinion of the student body.

The University confirmed that it indirectly invests in the fossil fuel industry with index funds — investments made by an individual or institution into a pool of companies. This includes companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. 

With marches, resolutions and strikes, University student groups such as the Minnesota Student Association and UMN Climate Strike have been actively advocating for the University to divest from fossil fuels.

Declaring a climate emergency would acknowledge that not enough action is being taken to address climate change and give entities more power to help with the issue. The Minneapolis City Council already declared a state of emergency in December.