In the Largest Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment Yet, BU Faculty Demand Action

245 Boston University faculty members call on the President and Board of Trustees to divest its endowment from oil, gas, and coal companies

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September 9, 2014 — A large group of faculty members at Boston University submitted today a call on the institution to divest from fossil fuel interests. Citing the growing climate change crisis, 245 faculty members from nearly all schools and departments are asking the university leadership to stop investing its endowment in these companies, which are perpetuating the crisis and hindering a transition to renewable energy. It is the largest of such calls by a single university’s faculty to date, signaling a dramatic growth in the divestment movement. The call builds on the momentum of previous divestment calls, most recently from last April when 93 members of Harvard University’s faculty urged the university to divest from fossil fuels.

BU President Robert Brown Meets With Students

Faculty representatives at Boston University, along with members of the DivestBU student group, brought their letter to the office of university President Robert Brown at 1:00pm. Brown accepted the letter personally and spoke with the group for about half an hour. “The climate change crisis is threatening life on Earth, and demands immediate and transformative actions by individuals, governments, businesses, and institutions,” they write. “Because it is unlikely that fossil fuel interests (the major source of this crisis) will stop of their own accord their unrelenting drive to burn these fuels at current rates, we must find strategies to induce them to stop.”

The faculty group has formed a coalition with the DivestBU students, who have been advocating for divestment in the past two years. “We have a moral obligation to align our financial interests with the future of our planet. It is wrong to use our endowment to commission the destruction of a hospitable climate for our students, our children and – as is increasingly evident – ourselves,” write the faculty. “The wake up call has sounded. It is time to act!”

Faculty Group Cites Moral Obligation to Divest

The BU faculty members who have organized the call view it as one step in a series of actions on campus against climate change. They are urging other faculty members to join the growing movement and sign the call. “We are extremely pleased to witness the outpouring of support for this call at BU,” said Professor Ed Loechler from the Department of Biology, a member of the DivestBU faculty steering committee, “Clearly, people here are extremely concerned about the climate crisis and are demanding real action.”

Loechler is encouraged by the brief conversation with President Brown today. “We are very pleased to hear that President Brown shares with the faculty a deep concern over the threat of climate change,” Loechler said, “He also concurs that climate change will be the most important investment issue for the university in the next few years and will thus encourage the institution to engage in open dialogue on this matter.”

For more information on this initiative, please call and/or email:
Ed Loechler, Professor, Biology Department, 617-543-8153, loechler@bu.edu
Nathan Phillips, Professor, Earth & Environment Department, 617-997-1057, nathan@bu.edu

See also:
EarthTalk: The Greenest Cities in America
Building a Wind-Centered Economy