The full Faculty Senate of the University of Denver voted on Friday, May 20th to pass a resolution to endorse fossil fuel divestment as a realistic and appropriate step to combat the global climate crisis.
32 members voted yes, 12 voted no, and 2 abstained from the vote to pass the resolution. A motion to delay the vote until the next academic year was introduced, but not passed.
As the premier body of elected DU faculty members representing all academic departments of DU, this endorsement has wide-reaching power to push fossil fuel divestment forward and is the result of months of hard work by faculty and student leaders alike.
Those who voted in favor of the resolution cited student leadership and research as a primary motivator for their decision. When a few Senate members expressed their concern that the vote was being rushed, supportive faculty members stood up and argued that the Senate must stand with students- as we have devoted countless hours researching the issue, presented material to the Senate, and fully demonstrated our passion and drive to make real change happen at DU.
A timeline of events leading up to this resolution:
- October 23, 2015 – Divest DU Institutional Coordinator Nick Stubler presents to the Faculty Senate. Immediately afterwards, the Senate votes to form the Faculty Senate Divestment Committee. By the end of Fall Quarter, the Committee is finalized with the goal of presenting a recommendation to the Senate in February. The faculty members of the Committee are as follows:
- Darrin Hicks, Chair
- Sarah Bexell
- Fred Cheever
- Claude d’Estree
- Ryan Gildersleeve
- Matthew Gordon
- Arthur Jones
- Megan Kelly
- Brian Majestic
- Tom Quinn
- Dean Saitta
- Erika Trigoso Rubio
- February 13, 2016 – The Open Letter from the Faculty to Chancellor Chopp and the Board of Trustees is published and starts collecting signatures.
- February 23 – Faculty Senate Divestment Committee decides to host a debate for the full Senate instead of pass a recommendation. Divest DU student leaders step down from the Committee.
- March 27 – Faculty Open Letter reaches 50 signatures.
- April 14 – Divest DU presents to the Board of Trustees, holds rally with upwards of 100 students in attendance.
- April 22 – DU Debate Team presents to the Faculty Senate on divestment.
- May 2 – Board of Trustees announces formation of Task Force on Divestment
- May 11 – Faculty Senate Divestment Committee votes to recommend fossil fuel divestment.
- May 20 – Full Faculty Senate votes to pass resolution endorsing fossil fuel divestment.
The resolution also includes seven recommendations related to climate change mitigation, responsible investments, and a just transition to a clean energy economy. It appears here in its entirety:
DU Faculty have recognized the power of our movement and their own stake in the issue and have chosen to demand climate justice. The fact that the full Faculty Senate voted to endorse fossil fuel divestment after the formation of the Board of Trustees Task Force shows their true dedication to the issue and allegiance with students, and puts more pressure on the Task Force as they move forward. Many thanks to all of our student and faculty supporters who have brought us this far!
Our Faculty Open Letter currently has 73 signatures. Students, please tell your professors about this incredible milestone and ask them to sign the Faculty Open Letter in support of fossil fuel divestment!