There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is a real, urgent, and dangerous threat to life on this planet, both human and otherwise, and that this is explicitly linked to the burning of fossil fuels. Great research supporting this fact, and solutions to its implications, is conducted here at Loughborough University. Despite this, Loughborough University still has hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in fossil fuel companies. An academic institution that values knowledge and evidence cannot ignore that climate catastrophe is a real and ongoing threat to some of the most vulnerable communities on earth, and ultimately a threat to all.
As staff at this institution of education, we would like to add our voices to the student call for Loughborough University to cut its ties to the fossil fuel industry. We would like to reiterate the importance and urgency of this issue, and stress that any current investments should be withdrawn, a public statement committing to complete divestment within 5 years be released, and the Ethical Investment Policy be updated to explicitly exclude fossil fuel companies from Loughborough’s potential investments.
As an academic institution our role is not only to increase the knowledge and evidence available to the rest of the world, but also to act on these things, leading by example. 59 UK Universities have already committed to divest from fossil fuel companies, and Loughborough’s action lag on this issue does not reflect well on us as an institution pioneering research relating to climate change.
We support the aims of the students' campaign and value their contribution to this debate. They are right: it's time for Loughborough University to divest form the fossil fuel industry.
Loughborough University UCU does not believe that members of staff will be putting themselves in the position of being potentially disciplined by signing this letter. Paragraph 31 of Annex 1 of Statute XXI states that staff "have the right and opportunity, without discrimination of any kind [...] to criticize the functioning of higher education institutions, including their own". Signing the letter is, we believe, protected under the conditions of academic freedom.