Bringing divestment to the University

Climate change is a global threat, but the students and alumni of Fossil Free Minnesota are responding right here on our campus.

On July 19, we met with University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler to discuss collaboration between the University of Minnesota administration and our campaign. We, in solidarity with students on over 300 other college and university campuses, call on our institution to divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry.

Along with our peers around the world, we have embraced divestment as “one of the few ways available to [student activists] to call attention to the gulf between the risks of global warming and the weak political response to it.” The divestment campaign has grown into a powerful rallying cry for young people across the country.

We are galvanized by this reality: To avert the catastrophic effects of climate change, we must keep 80 percent of known oil and gas reserves underground.

But through funding lobbyists and contributing to political campaigns, the fossil fuel industry effectively silences the climate conversation our country needs to have. Moreover, the industry’s profits reflect full exploitation of reserves, a practice fundamentally incompatible with a livable future.

In his June 25 address on climate, President Barack Obama urged Americans to divest, acknowledging the divestment campaign as a strategy with national reach.

Students, alumni, Kaler: Follow Obama’s lead, and join us in our call for divestment. Help the University do its part to rescind the fossil fuel industry’s influence and open the national political conversation on climate.

Obama left the American public with this observation: “The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.” Will the Universityhave this courage? Divesting from fossil fuels would give a definitive answer, yes.