Sign the Faculty Open Letter

An Open Letter from the Faculty to Chancellor Chopp and the Board of Trustees

We, the undersigned Faculty of the University of Denver, sincerely believe that the University of Denver is a “private university dedicated to the public good.” As such, we call upon the University of Denver to divest the University’s portfolio of all investments in the 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves (1).

We applaud the University of Denver for its successful and cost-effective efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and for its acceptance, in the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (2), of “the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely being caused by humans.” We further support the University’s recognition of “the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming,” and its understanding that exerting “leadership in addressing climate change will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni and local communities.”

We understand that fossil fuel divestment is an international movement on university and college campuses to inspire action on behalf of these educational institutions to move away from investment in fossil fuel companies whose activities threaten climate stability. We understand 58 colleges have already fully or partially divested from fossil fuels, acting as positive examples for the University of Denver while leaving space for us to be among the leaders in a social movement (3).

We further understand that the moral imperative to divest from fossil fuels must be balanced against the well-being of the members of the University of Denver community supported by student scholarships and faculty and staff compensation. However, there is mounting evidence that divestment can be achieved without financial cost. Indeed, after the December 2015 COP21 Paris Agreement, there is a strong argument that divestment from fossil fuels is the only wise long-term investment strategy.

Accordingly we call on the University of Denver Board of Trustees to initiate an open process to:

1. Immediately freeze new investments in the 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves,

2. Develop a plan to divest all current holdings in these companies within five years,

3. Reinvest in climate solutions.

On behalf of the public good, it is time for the University of Denver to act.



Signature count: 79, showing 50 per page
First NameLast NamePosition/TitleDepartment Name
Susan Bridle Adj. Fac. Korbel School of Int'l Studies
Sergio Macias Assistant Teaching Prof. Languages & Lit
Hava Gordon Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of Gender and Women's Studies Gender and Women's Studies Program
Brad Benz Teaching Associate Professor Writing Program
Orna Shaughnessy Assistant Professor of Japanese Languages & Literatures
Taylor Nygaard Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor Media, Film, and Journalism Studies
Josh Hanan Assistant Professor Communication Studies
Alison Krogel Associate Professor of Spanish Languages & Literatures
Javier Torre Associate Professor Languages and Literatures
Jessica Johnson Graduate Teaching Instructor Communication Studies
Susan Walter Associate Professor Department of Languages and Literatures
Bernadette Calafell Full Professor Communication
Christina Foust Associate Professor Communication Studies
Erika Polson Assistant Professor Media, Film & Journalism Studies
Elizabeth Henry Teaching Associate Professor Media, Film and Journalism
Diane Waldman Associate Professor Media, Film, and Journalism Studies
Alicia Barron Lopez Teaching Assistant Professor of Spanish Department of Languages and Literatures
Trace Reddell Associate Professor Emergent Digital Practices
Adrienne Russell Associate Professor Media Film and Journalism/Emergent Digital Practices
Paul Kosempel Teaching Associate Professor Pioneer Leadership Program
Christopher Coleman Associate Professor Emergent Digital Practices
Donald Sullivan Associate Professor Geography and the Environment
Richard Clemmer-Smith Professor Anthropology
Justin Marceau Professor Law
Robert Uttaro Associate Teaching Professor Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Tony Gault Associate Professor Media, Film & Journalism Studies
Bruce Hutton Professor Business Ethics &Legal Studies
Justin Pidot Associate Professor Sturm College of Law
Federico Cheever Professor of Law Sturm College of Law