Letter from Divest Tulane to President Fitts

Dear President Fitts,

In spring 2016, the student body expressed overwhelming support for fossil fuel divestment. When asked the question “Do you support fossil fuel divestment at Tulane University?”, 54 percent of students expressed support while only 28 percent opposed. Last week, the Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution in support of fossil fuel divestment, calling on Tulane University to join other institutional leaders and remove our endowment from the fossil fuel industry.

To date, 696 institutions and 58,000 individuals have committed $5.44 trillion to fossil free investments. Other institutions such as Stanford, Georgetown, Boston University and the University of Maryland have made commitments to divestment. Many faith-based organizations, pension funds and notable cities such as Oslo, Berlin, Paris, Minneapolis, Portland, Providence, Oakland, Santa Fe and Seattle have also made the decision to divest from the fossil fuel industry. In January, Ireland made history when it became the first country to vote to divest from fossil fuels.

Now more than ever, the financial stability of fossil fuel investments has been called into question. The concern over a “carbon bubble” has led financial groups such as the Bank of England and HSBC to question the security of fossil fuel investments. The Aperio Group estimates the potential financial risk of divesting one’s portfolio at 0.0044 percent, a statistically irrelevant number. Regardless of these facts, it is unethical for Tulane to profit off an industry that directly and disproportionately harms economically marginalized communities, people of color and women, especially considering Tulane’s location. New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana are at the frontline of climate change, with rising sea levels posing a direct threat to our community and the city we love.

In light of contemporary politics and the current administration’s disregard for the issues that climate change poses, the responsibility falls on Tulane and its peer institutions to represent the interests of their student bodies and successive generations.

In its own words, Tulane’s purpose is to create, communicate and conserve knowledge in order to enrich the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to think, to learn and to act and lead with integrity and wisdom.

We ask Tulane to lead with integrity and wisdom.

With confidence,

Divest Tulane

Leave a Comment