Dear President Caret,
We, the alumni of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, call upon our alma mater to divest from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies for the good of our nation and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide. Specifically, we call on you to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
We are proud of our University’s commitment to conducting research and public service projects in order to improve the lives of people of the commonwealth, the nation and the world; however, we feel that our University is failing to adhere to this mission as long as our endowment is invested in companies that are accelerating climate change and destroying the prospects of a viable future for its students. Dara International estimates an average of 400,000 deaths per year result from altering food production patterns and disease transmissions, which are both directly influenced by temperature increase.
As a large public university, we must serve as a leader for the rest of the state. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst holds a leading role in climate change research at the Climate System Research Center. Several members of the center contributed to reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and this panel, with Al Gore, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract that change.” Now the University must act on the implications of these findings to protect future generations of students.
As alumni of this great University, we urge you to address the urgency of climate change with swift and deliberate action in favor of the people of the commonwealth, the nation and the world. We ask that you please heed this call to action by freezing any new investments in fossil fuel companies and by divesting from the top 200 companies that own the majority of the world’s oil reserves within the next five years.
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