50 signatures reached
To: Board of Trustees
We, students of Eckerd College, demand that the Board of Trustees of Eckerd College
1. Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies and
2. Divest within 5 years from direct ownership and from any combined funds
(Which includes fossil fuel public entities and corporate bonds).
Why is this important?
Eckerd College’s mission statement highlights the importance of “sustaining the natural environment” while also empowering students to “strengthen their sense of personal and social responsibility for ethical reasoning and action, constructive community engagement, and thoughtful leadership through meaningful participation in campus life and the wider community”. In these times one of the most significant ways we can do this is by divesting our school’s portfolio from the fossil fuel industry.
The mission of the EC Divest group is for Eckerd College to become a frontrunner in the nationwide movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry. This movement calls for schools to immediately freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest current endowment funds from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds over a five-year period. We have the opportunity to become the first college in the Southeast to fully commit to this cause, with another 300 student-led campaigns across the country that have already begun to pressure their schools.
Divestment campaigns have made a big impact before, including in the fight against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. In this widespread, campus-led movement, schools across America boycotted companies doing business in South Africa. The college divestment campaign played a crucial role as an agent of social change that eventually helped to dismantle South Africa’s apartheid system by increasing public awareness of the government’s injustices. Likewise, as the fossil fuel divestment movement spreads, it will loosen the grip this industry has on our government and financial markets. Like the successful student-led movements before us, our college could be a leader in a significant nationwide movement that eventually impacts the national narrative on social issues.
Colleges similar in size to Eckerd have been successful, including Hampshire College in Massachusetts and Unity College in Maine. Furthermore, a report by the investment-management firm Aperio Group indicates that when fossil fuel companies were excluded from investment, the risk to the investment portfolio is only increased by 0.0101% . When considering not only the future of our school but also of our planet, this is statistically negligible.
Eckerd College is not a school made up of followers of the status quo. Through our liberal arts education, we have learned to challenge such perceptions and look forward with goals that ultimately better our social climate. Currently, our great institution’s endowment serves to help support companies that inadvertently profit from the release of CO2 and its contribution to global warming; these are serious issues that directly threaten life as we know it. For the good of our campus and our nation, and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon Eckerd to join a growing movement of institutions around the country that are committed to addressing the anthropogenic issues of the global environment by moving our endowment beyond fossil fuels, focusing instead on investments that are more in line with Eckerd’s mission of “sustaining the natural environment.”