Fossil Free Pitt Coalition Support Letter
On Friday September 27th University of Pittsburgh students travelled to the Pitt Johnstown Campus to demand their Board of Trustees divest from fossil fuels by April 2020.
During the Public Meeting, students interrupted the proceedings to demand that the Board of Trustees hold a vote on fossil fuel divestment at their next Public Meeting on February 28th, 2020. Students held up a large banner reading “Injustice is a Risky Investment” and rose one after another to deliver their demand but were immediately escorted out by plain clothes police and told they must leave campus immediately or would be penalized as trespassers. You can watch the video of the action here -
The action was organized by the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, a coalition of student groups pushing for fossil fuel divestment and increased financial transparency between administrators and students. FFPC has been active on campus since 2014 at the University of Pittsburgh and has won 2 out of 4 demands.
Now that the Board of Trustees knows our demand we will continue to be organizing and building power this semester so that they vote yes to divest on February 28th 2020. Please join us in calling for a vote on divestment on February 28th 2020 and full divestment from fossil fuels by April 2020.
**All individuals and organizations regardless of University of Pittsburgh affiliation are welcomed and encouraged to sign on**
Below is the letter we read to the trustees --
Administration and Board of Trustees of the University of Pittsburgh:
WE DEMAND YOU HOLD A VOTE ON FEBRUARY 28 TO DIVEST THE UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND DIVEST ALL HOLDINGS BY APRIL 2020.
Injustice is a risky investment. The University of Pittsburgh has millions of dollars invested in fossil-fuels assets. You are complicit in the climate crisis. Today we demand you be held accountable.
There is an overwhelming amount of data, some coming from your own university, detailing the absolute urgency of this ecological and humanitarian crisis. The climate crisis is here but you continue to drag your feet, moving at a bureaucratic pace. Your inaction is ruining lives. You have the numbers. You’ve had them for decades. You already know just how bad it is.
For nearly six years we have demanded divestment, and for six years you have said no. For six years we have presented the data, the facts, the stories of people whose lives have been destroyed by this toxic industry. And for six years, you’ve said that’s not reason enough.
It isn’t enough that children in Greene County are dying of rare cancers. It isn’t enough that our air and water are poisoned? It isn’t enough that we are facing a worldwide climate catastrophe. What would be enough for you? What would ever be enough to convince you that you must take responsibility for your complicity in the most formidable threat facing humankind?
Financial research shows that divestment from fossil fuels does not harm returns.
91 percent of undergraduate students voters have indicated they support fossil-fuel divestment. Your own SRI report has stated that your current investments are inconsistent with university values.
The entire UC system recently divested $150 million for financial reasons. The CIO said “The reason we sold some $150 million in fossil fuel assets from our endowment was the reason we sell other assets: They posed a long-term risk to generating strong returns for UC’s diversified portfolios.”
Tell us: what reason have you to NOT DIVEST?
You are already on the wrong side of history. We will not tolerate injustice. We will not retreat. IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VOTE ON FEBRUARY 28 TO DIVEST THE UNIVERSITY FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND DIVEST ALL HOLDINGS BY APRIL 2020, WE WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION AS WE SEE FIT.
Until then, cordially,
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