To: President Massey:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Go Fossil Free!
As members of the SAIC community, we are expected to exceed boundaries, investigate critical issues, and think creatively about all that we encounter. We are students at this school because we want to move forward— to affect change in our lives and the world around us. Because it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn the planet to climate disaster, we call on SAIC to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
Why is this important?
Here we address an issue without boundaries: Climate Change. The global environment is changing at an alarming rate: in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. World wide the effects are catastrophic and significantly more palpable than here in Chicago; dollar amounts hold no comparison. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even one quarter of global fossil-fuel reserves without causing devastation far beyond what we’ve experienced. As the top consumers of our planet’s resources, it is our moral responsibility to take action for our shared future.
We ask that SAIC join the nationwide movement to make a real and immediate effort towards freezing any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to develop a plan to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
Investing in fossil-fuels compromises not only SAIC’s financial portfolio due the unstable nature of the industries foundation, but it endangers the health and habitat of every living organism on the planet. We ask you to work alongside us in this effort. Divesting will not only secure a more sustainable long-term investment portfolio but it will play a pivotal role in bringing this most pressing issue into conversations among local, state, and federal decision makers.
As we’ve learned from civil rights issues of the past, there is a right side and a wrong side of history. This is an opportunity for SAIC to take a stance towards change for the better and to fully acknowledge our responsibility as one of the most influential art colleges around the world. With Chicago as our base, our reach is global. A decision such as this is beyond international, it is world changing.
Dr. Massey, we hope that you will stand alongside us in this effort, and look forward to working with you to help the SAIC administration move towards the future.