To: President McCartney and the Board of Trustees

Smith College: Go Fossil Free!

We call on Smith College to (1) freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and (2) commit now 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?

We recognize global warming as a human rights issue. Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify tragic climate disasters, such as hurricanes, droughts and floods. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet and furthering human suffering.

In 2009 President Christ wrote that a “commitment to resource stewardship and preservation has emerged as a powerful organizing principle in Smith College’s operational and curricular development and a vivid manifestation of the college’s responsibilities to the nation and the world." The college began by creating our Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS), developing the major in Environmental Science & Policy, and committing to carbon neutrality by 2030. As a college with a reputation for leadership, it is our responsibility to be a pioneer in the growing international campaign to withdraw financial support from the fossil fuel industry.

The next step is clear. We call on Smith College to legitimize these preliminary actions by divesting from fossil fuels.

Divestment from fossil fuels is an investment in the future of Smith College.

Northampton, Massachusetts

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Reasons for signing

  • To solve the climate crisis we need to stop burning fossil fuels, but more importantly, we need to work to raise consciousness globally. As a respected institution with a reputation for social responsibility, Smith College has a chance to set an example that will be noted and followed by many. Can't waste it!
  • As a former Trustee of the College and Investor Responsibility Committee member, I hope that Smith seriously considers divestment from fossil fuels. These shares are overpriced because they presume that known fossil fuel reserves will be extracted and burned; physics tells us this is impossible if we wish to avoid climate chaos. Smith can take a stand - as it did with South Africa, Sudan, and tobacco investments - and refuse to tie the college's future to an industry that is going nowhere.
  • Smith has a history of strong history of leadership and social justice. The college claims that it continues to meet this standard. Now is the time to prove it. Divest.