Press Release: Faculty Open Letter


November 14, 2016

With students, over 600 UC Faculty Call on UC Regents to divest from fossil fuels

Faculty, in unprecedented numbers, joined students to directly pressure the Regents to divest.

Berkeley, CA – Six hundred and seventy UC faculty have released a letter calling on the UC Regents to divest from the fossil fuel industry, citing moral and financial responsibility to fight for their futures and the futures of students. The letter was released after UC students launched a pledge of civil disobedience on Saturday night at Powershift West, a climate justice conference held at UC Berkeley this weekend. It also comes two days before the Regents meeting on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, demonstrating mass support for fossil fuel divestment at the UCs, from one of its most constant constituents — faculty.

“UC faculty know that Regent Sherman has the power to fight for our futures and are calling on him to stand with youth and integrity against fossil fuel billionaires who act without consequence,” explains Sam Weinstein, a sophomore at UC Santa Cruz, who has been organizing faculty at the UC since October of 2015 with Fossil Free UC.

Fossil Free UC is a student-led, state-wide campaign that has pressured the UC to divest since January 2013. Students have been working with faculty to organize signatures on the letter, and have also organized with faculty to pass three academic senate resolutions in support of fossil fuel divestment at UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego.

“Students have worked especially hard in the last ten months to make connections and relationships with faculty,” recounts Nadia Bell. “UC faculty have proven they will take action to ensure that Regent Sherman and the Regents join their academic peers in rejecting climate destruction and committing to climate stability for all.”

Students will highlight the faculty letter at the Regents meeting on Wednesday morning, showing the Regents that faculty across the UC system stand with students in calling for Regent Sherman to step into his leadership and refuse to be complacent in rampant climate denial in this political moment by divesting from the fossil fuel industry. Regent Sherman and the Regents must follow the scholarship, excellence, and integrity that the UC and UC faculty have committed themselves to for current and future generations.