• The Full Petition Text

     

    Dear University President Alivisatos, Chief Investment Officer Andy Ward, and Board of Trustees:

     

    We, alumni of The University of Chicago, demand the University stop using its endowment to accelerate climate change and cease investing it in fossil fuels.

     

    As alumni who care about the reputation, legacy, and impacts of our alma mater, we hereby pledge to withhold any donations to the University until it has divested from fossil fuels.

     

    The University’s stated mission,“let knowledge grow from more to more, and so be human life enriched (crescat scientia, vita excolatur),” is absolutely incompatible with its financial support for the fossil fuel operations that are accelerating our trajectory towards an unlivable future. In October, 2023, students filed a complaint against the University with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, arguing the University’s fossil fuel investments violate its responsibilities as a non-profit institution. We express support for the complaint and amplify the arguments in the excerpt below:

     

    More than any other, the fearless and rigorous pursuit of truth for its own sake underpin this university’s identity. Fossil fuel companies have long engaged in a well-documented campaign to undermine climate science and distort public debate about how to deal with the climate crisis. The industry’s spread of scientific misinformation and funding of questionable research undermines the work of faculty and students who are designing solutions for a sustainable future. Likewise, the flow of fossil fuel money to politicians and think tanks has diverted or delayed serious government action to address the climate crisis, placing a special burden on young people whose futures will be most impacted by these investments. Even as the University sets and pursues ambitious climate goals in its own operations, the Board channels funds to an industry committed to winning short-term profits at the expense of the public good.

     

    The climate crisis is already wreaking havoc across the globe, particularly in the Global South, and younger generations will only face a more hostile and volatile climate. Current students, including through the work of Divest UChicago, should not have to spend their time and energy trying to convince University leadership to stop contributing to the destruction of their futures. We applaud their efforts speaking truth to power, and we express solidarity with their work.

     

    By signing this petition, we join thousands of others in the University community, making the below five demands of the University:

     

    1) Immediately freeze any new investments in the fossil fuel industry (exploration and extraction) and liquidate current investments in the fossil fuel industry within the next 5 years, whether direct or commingled.

     

    2) Commit to regularly disclosing updated data on holdings in fossil fuel companies, including comprehensive data on the progress of divestment and the reinvestment of those funds.

     

    3) Commit to de-carbonizing the endowment, reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 in line with the University’s existing Sustainability Plan for campus emissions.

     

    4) Set public environmentally and socially just guidelines for investments based on input from students, faculty, staff, and other community stakeholders. Note that universities whose endowments have “socially responsible investment” policies have higher donations, more student enrollment, and more extensive risk management in the endowment fund.

     

    5) Create a recurring committee of students, faculty, staff, and other community stakeholders to facilitate the divestment process and ensure that investment decisions follow established environmentally and socially just guidelines.

     

    Sincerely,

    Have you signed it yet?

  • Signatories

    1. Katharine Bierce, A.B. Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa
    2. Michael Hendrix, A.B. Political Science
    3. Maureen Craig, A.B. Mathematics
    4. Jonathan Xia, M.S. Computer Science
    5. Liana Lan, M.P.P., Harris School
    6. Marc Amante, A.B. Environmental Studies
    7. Melissa Kops, A.B. Art History
    8. Will Stedden, PhD Biophysics
    9. Anonymous
    10. Emily Stanback, A.M. Humanities
    11. Marilyn Sargent Humanities BA
    12. Vivian Y Chang MD
    13. Sara Wichner, SB Chemistry
    14. Pat Brent, B.A. Mathematics & B.A. Psychology
    15. Anne Szustek Talbot, AB NELC/Linguistics; AM Middle Eastern Studies
    16. Isabella Velásquez, MSc Analytics; BA Econ
    17. Hannah Green, B.A. Political Science, 2010; MaPP 2022
    18. Kate Schlachter, MA
    19. Liat Spiro, AB History and International Studies
    20. Blake McGhghy, MAPSS
    21. Alexandra Taborga, B.A. Visual Arts
    22. Theo Burtis, B.A. English
    23. Anonymous
    24. Anonymous
    25. Steven Pelcovits, BA EALC
    26. Rey Echevarria, MS Computer Science
    27. Natalie Nussbaum, B.A., Psychology
    28. Anonymous
    29. Judy Greene, MA
    30. Shai Basys, MBA
    31. Sam Bonar, BA Physics
    32. Chris Furuya, BA English
    33. Sujata Rajpurohit, B.A. Public Policy
    34. Xiao Wei AB Economics
    35. Anonymous
    36. Seth Cothrun, M.A.
    37. Tony D’Andrea, PhD
    38. Alexander Belyi, Math and Econ AB
    39. Iris Brauer, B.A. Law, Letters, and Society
    40. Anonymous
    41. Orion Montoya, B.A. Classics
    42. Adrianna Barnett, BA Sociology
    43. Anya Metzer, MA Humanities (MAPH)
    44. Emily Cracolici, MA, MPP
    45. Anonymous
    46. Maddy Boesche, AM Social Work
    47. Alexandra Ensign, BA Cinema and Media Studies
    48. Kate Dulin, A.M. Social Work
    49. Phoebe Seltzer, BA Chemistry
    50. Abby Bingham, B.A. Biological Sciences
    51. Delaney Moore, B.A., Political Science & History
    52. Gabriela Garcia, A.B. Classical Studies, A.B. Computer Science
    53. Watson Lubin, M.A. Social Sciences
    54. Ana Gonzalez, BA ENST & LLSO
    55. Daphne de Beistegui, B.A. Fundamentals: Issues and Texts
    56. Sage Rossman, B.A. Neuroscience
    57. Dmitri Leybman, B.A. Political Science and English
    58. Anonymous
    59. Anonymous
    60. Anonymous
    61. Kirsten Madsen, B.A. Anthropology
    62. Ezra Serrins, M.P.P.
    63. Sasha Diaz, B.A. Comparative Human Development with minor in English/Creative Writing
    64. Derek Brockbank, BA Political Science
    65. Rick Mordesovich, MBA
    66. Anonymous
    67. Robert Michaelson, S.B. Chemistry
    68. Gabrielle Wimer, BA History, Philosophy, and Social Study of Science and Medicine
    69. Trevor Gay, M.A. American History
    70. Alice May, BA English, Gender Studies
    71. Elizabeth Ortiz, BA Political Science
    72. Liana Lan, MPP
    73. Veasna Has, B.A. Anthropology
    74. Ethan Dubin, B.A. TAPS
    75. R. Woodrow Setzer, B.A. Mathematics
    76. Hannah Manshel, BA ISHUM
    77. Jake Grubman, B.A., Law, Letters, and Society
    78. Nathalie Chicoine, B.S. Astrophysics, B.A. English Literature
    79. Andrew Boshardy, BA, MS
    80. Emily O’Heir, B.A. Classics
    81. Alexandra Taborga, B.A. Visual Arts
    82. Joyce Lu B.A. Anthropology, B.S. Biological Sciences
    83. Summer Fields Hayda, B.A., Sociology
    84. Ruby Rorty, B.A. Econ & Environmental & Urban Studies
    85. Ann-Kristin Sundell, BA Biology
    86. Hope Houston, BA in History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
    87. Amy Ezrin, BA Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
    88. Caroline Wooten, BA Religious Studies
    89. Sam Zacher, BA Economics, Political Science
    90. Heriberrto Leon, M.A. International Relations
    91. Annie Sanders, B.A. Environmental Studies
    92. JESSICA WINTER-STOLTZMAN, BS Mathematics
    93. Faith Bugel, B.A. Political Science
    94. Elisa Vargas, AB Art History
    95. Anonymous
    96. Robert Factor, A.B., Biology
    97. Lily Hong, BA Anthropology & Law, Letters, & Society
    98. Anonymous
    99. Elisa Epstein, B.A. NELC
    100. Mythili Vinnakota BA Econ, PhD Public Policy
    101. Varsha Sundar B.A. Public Policy
    102. Maren Spolum B.A. HIPS
    103. Zachary Upton-Davis, BA Physics
    104. Anonymous
    105. Mara Marin, PhD in Political Science
    106. Daniel Harris, B.A. History
    107. Sandy Carter, BA Environ Studies, Political Science
    108. Sarah Pickman, AB Anthropology
    109. Natalie Nitsch B.A. Classics, Religious Studies, Medieval Studies; M.A. Divinity
    110. Anonymous
    111. Sneha Thayil A.B. Political Science
    112. Isabella Levy B.A. Psychology
    113. Robert Graham B.S. Geophysical Sciences
    114. Anonymous
    115. Cynthia Anderson B.A.
    116. Christine Keagy B.A., M.A.
    117. Théo Evans B.A. Sociology, M.A. Social Science
    118. Sampurna Khasnabis MA Public Policy
    119. Ibrahim Rashid Masters in Public Policy
    120. Emily Lu B.A. Biological Sciences, B.A. Philosophy and Allied Fields, M.D.
    121. Jonathon Catlin B.A. Fundamentals
    122. Delancey Gelinas MBA
    123. S. Elizabeth Brandon AB Political Science
    124. Anonymous
    125. Anonymous
    126. Ahona Mukherjee B.A., Biological Sciences
    127. Rohan Sandhu B.A. Economics
    128. Laura Gluckman, B.A. English Language and Literature, MAT Urban Teacher Education Program