GU Fossil Free demands University divest from fossil fuel companies

DSC_0061 GU Fossil Free, a recently formed group of students, delivered a letter to President John DeGioia’s office this morning demanding that Georgetown University end all investments in fossil-fuel companies. The group also placed a banner and a large chalk drawing in Red Square to launch the campaign that will continue to demand that the school will divest from such companies within five years.

The letter requested that the administration and Board of Trustees follow schools such as Harvard, Vassar, Middlebury, Swarthmore, and others, in “making substantial moves to begin the process” of divestment. Student organizations, such as the College Democrats, College Republicans, GU Pride, MEChA, Eco Action, Solidarity Committee, Interfaith Council, several faculty members, and several other organizations and club sports teams will join GU Fossil Free in this campaign, according to the press release.

“Fossil-fuel companies are responsible for the deteriorating condition of our planet. They pose a threat to public health, and they have a long track record of disregarding human rights,” said Sydney Browning (COL ’15), a member of GU Fossil Free, in the press release. “Consequently, GU Fossil Free believes that investment in any such companies signifies complicity in carrying out one of the most profound injustices of our era.

The group said that in the past, Georgetown has maintained its commitment to the ethical oversight of its investments through its decisions to terminate its contract with Adidas and Russell Atheltic.

“If Georgetown takes its Jesuit identity seriously, as well as its oft-stated commitment to sustainability and the environment, its actions must match its rhetoric,” said the group in its letter to DeGioia. “In this case, that means putting the University’s money where its mouth is and immediately freezing all new investments in fossil-fuel corporations and beginning a five year process to divest completely from them.”

The group believes the school will be able to disclose if the endowment is invested in fossil-fuel companies without affecting the confidentiality of other investments. The letter cites Middlebury College as an example of a school disclosing the amount it invests in fossil-fuel companies in light of its own student divestment campaign.

“I suppose what we hope will happen is that we’ll get a timely response from the university regarding our letter and proposal and that well be able to sit down and … that they’ll be receptive to our proposal,” said Mark Waterman (SFS ’13), a member of GU Fossil Free. “I expect we’ll encounter some serious pushback form the administration.”

They also made a cheesy stop-motion video to promote their cause.

Voice News will have the full details of GU Fossil Free’s action in the print edition tomorrow.

Read the full letter to DeGioia after the jump.

Divestment Letter to Degioia by cdj29

Gavin Bade, Rachel Calvert, Cole Stangler, and Patricia Cipollitti are signatories of the letter and active Voice staffers. None were involved in the writing or editing of this article.

Photo: Isabel Echarte

9 Comments on “GU Fossil Free demands University divest from fossil fuel companies

  1. I’m a little unclear on how divesting from oil companies halts global warming. I mean sure, demonizing oil companies may be warranted, but I don’t see how that accomplishes anything.

  2. Another day, another protest by the same group of people.

    This seems like it’s a hobby at this point. Some people knit sweaters, some play the trumpet, some chant and hold up angry signs outside Healy. Whatever floats your boat, man.

  3. Yeah, defund fossil fuels! Let me blog about it on my MacBook Pro after I crank up the heat in my apartment and brew a chai latte, then I’ll fly back to Cali to see my parents for long weekend.

    It’s a petty cause by college students with rich guilt who have too much time on their hands.

  4. They do know endowments don’t just invest in “companies”? The mix almost certainly includes mutuals and ETFs… good luck finding the “fossil fuels”.

    also, “as a jesuit university we recognize the contributions fossil fuels have made not only to material well being around the globe. We acknowledge modern energy for its role in freeing millions from manual toil, and enabling greater equality between men and women. As in any industry, there are exploitative and unsustainable elements. We are not in a position to tally the costs and benefits of the fossil fuel industry. We hope to train men and women for others, who may be leaders in the modern energy industry, whether fossil fuel based or renewable.”

  5. @critics

    Really nothing in this proposal not already espoused by the Uni through sustainability and climate change actions and research, and the Church through statements on environmental ethics.

  6. What might be a worthwhile effort is to get the university to switch to a sustainable electricity supplier. They can do that now with electricity deregulation.

  7. Waiting for all members of GU Fossil Fuel and the Voice’s ed board to shut off their heating and start fires to keep them warm this winter. Yeah energy companies suck

  8. “A recently formed group of students.” I hope to God they treated DeGioia’s receptionist with respect. Who was present for this photo opp?

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