Faculty Repeat Call for Fossil-Fuel Divestment

Nov. 10, 2015, 11:59 p.m.

4 November 2015

Dear President Hennessy and the Board of Trustees,

As faculty of Stanford University, we write to request an answer to our letter of March 2014 (http://www.stanfordfacultydivest.org/). Since it was delivered to President Hennessy last year, our letter has continued to gain support, and faculty signatories now number 376. Every signature represents a serious and considered call for Stanford’s Board of Trustees to follow through on last spring’s admirable decision to divest from coal by comprehensively divesting from fossil-fuel companies.

Our letter received no direct answer. However, in a recent statement addressed to Laurent Fabius, president of the upcoming COP21 global climate summit, President Hennessy and Board of Trustees Chair Steven A. Denning mention Stanford’s intention to begin researching fossil-fuel corporations on a company-by-company basis. Though the statement implies that this research will become the basis for individual divestment decisions, no criteria for divestment are specified, no timetable for the research is given and no deadline for decisions has been indicated.

This company-by-company approach fails to honor the urgency of the crisis and disregards the call for comprehensive divestment by faculty, who include many of the world’s most renowned climate researchers. Our students’ futures are shadowed by the looming catastrophes of climate change: we therefore advocate comprehensive fossil-fuel divestment as a clear ethical assertion that the University holds students’ well-being above any other value. In the hope Stanford will embody the kind of change the world desperately needs to see, we call again for your commitment to comprehensive fossil-fuel divestment.



Professor Elizabeth Tallent

Creative Writing Program and Department of English


Professor Paul Ehrlich

Bing Professor of Population Studies

Department of Biology


Professor Mark Jacobson

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program  


Professor Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Joseph S. Atha Professor in Humanities


Professor Paula Moya

Department of English and, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures


Professor David Palumbo-Liu

Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and, by courtesy, Professor of English


Contact Elizabeth Tallent at tallent ‘at’ stanford.edu.  


The Daily is committed to publishing a diversity of op-eds and letters to the editor. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Email letters to the editor to eic ‘at’ stanforddaily.com and op-ed submissions to opinions ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

Login or create an account