500 signatures reached
To: President Veitch & Board of Trustees
Divest Occidental College From Fossil Fuels
As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Occidental College 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. We believe such action on behalf of our University will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
Why is this important?
We must divest if we are to regain our integrity as an institution. Occidental College prides itself on being a liberal arts institution that shapes citizens who will contribute to and better the world society. Therefore, it should not be harming our environment and society through financial support of the fossil fuel industry.
Climate change is real. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. If we do not fully commit ourselves to substantive action as individuals, as institutions, and as a society, climate change will accelerate and intensify on an unprecedented scale.
Colleges and universities are unique in the abundant wealth they hold in social, intellectual, and financial capital. This makes these institutions better suited than any other entity to lead our society toward a more just and sustainable future. We have a duty to apply our intelligence and creativity to the enduring problems of our civilization, which include climate change.
In its mission statement, Occidental College calls on its students to gain a "deeply rooted commitment to the public good." It would be hypocrisy for the college not to pursue the same goal. Despite using environmental sustainability to enhance its brand, Occidental College backs the destructive fossil fuel industry through its investments. This lack of integrity is unacceptable.
If Occidental is to fulfill its mission and uphold its values as an institution, it must divest from fossil fuels. If our open-minded and reputable college cannot divest from the destructive fossil fuel industry, then who will? To regain its integrity, Occidental must divest. In doing so, we will set a moral standard that other institutions will be inspired to live up to.