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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Open Letter

To the Members of the UMass Board of Trustees, 10/28/15
Thank you for receiving our testimony in September’s meeting. We were grateful to receive the opportunity to speak. We hope you will seize the leadership opportunity we presented and say “yes” to divesting the University of Massachusetts endowment from the world’s top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies.
Divestment from the fossil fuel industry is rapidly becoming a benchmark of institutional leadership. In a world under increasing threat from global climate change, the institutions, organizations, and individuals providing leadership on climate change today will also be the leaders of the future. We believe it is the right and responsibility of Massachusetts’ largest public university to become one of these leaders.
We also believe it is UMass’ moral and intellectual responsibility to take decisive action on the warnings issued by our global community of climate scientists, policy makers, healthcare professionals, agricultural researchers, human rights leaders, political scientists, community organizers, and others. The campaign to divest the Massachusetts pension fund from fossil fuels is supported by over 50 Massachusetts legislators. In 2014, Boston City Council passed a resolution to divest the MA pension fund from fossil fuel companies. The 33 colleges and universities that have already achieved complete or partial fossil fuel divestment include both public and private institutions.
Divestment is a complex financial process, and one that we know can be achieved without financial harm to our University. We know this not because we are financial experts, but because divestment has already been achieved by many institutions – including UMass, in past decades.
Divestment is a moral gesture that pragmatically protects the health, livelihoods, and futures of our University members and community partners, by sending an unequivocal message to governments and industries. We feel that an adequate period of study and reflection has been undertaken, and we and our communities cannot afford to wait much longer.
We need the Board of Trustees to vote “yes” to divesting the UMass endowment from fossil fuels during your next meeting in December, 2016. We also expect strong, un-delayed leadership from this Board in the future, as we all work to build an economy and an energy future that truly reflects UMass values.
Thank you once again for your leadership and your attention, and thank you for keeping your commitments to this community.
Sincerely,
Divest UMass Boston
Co-authors:
Jillian Brelsford
College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Jean Charles
School for the Environment