Post written by the Students of Fossil Free Stanford.
Stanford students aren’t backing down.
Since our big victory in successfully petitioning the university to divest from coal last spring, Fossil Free Stanford has continued to pressure the administration to withdraw its investments from oil and natural gas.
Now returning to action in the new academic year, we’re continuing to demonstrate that the Stanford community will not allow divestment to stop at coal. We’ve continued engaging with students, from canvassing in freshman dorms to tabling at sustainability events. Faculty support is growing faster than ever as we continue to reach out to professors. And alumni have joined in as well, publishing a series of op-eds in the Stanford Daily advocating for full divestment. It’s clear that momentum towards divestment from oil and gas is increasing.
This week, we had the opportunity to show administrators all the power that we’ve been building since the start of the fall quarter. On Tuesday, we met with the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIR-L), a committee that considers the social implications of endowment investments. The APIR-L’s recommendation last year played an essential role in Stanford’s decision to divest from coal, and we remain confident that the panel will continue working towards more responsible investment decisions. Through productive dialogue with the APIR-L, we can quickly move towards our end goal of full divestment from oil and natural gas.
At the meeting, it was clear that all of our base-building efforts early in the quarter payed off. We boasted our highest numbers yet at an administrative event, and APIR-L members clearly noticed– a few of them even commented on how much we’d grown. More than thirty supporters filled the room, holding signs with statistics highlighting the power of the movement both on campus and across the country.
Through financial, environmental, and moral arguments, we built on the case that we previously presented to the panel and made clear that inaction on other fossil fuels is not an option. We stressed that coal divestment is not a credit that makes up for continued oil and gas investment, and presented steps forward to achieve full divestment.
We have specifically requested that the APIR-L maintain an open dialogue with our team through the duration of their review process, and that they make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees by the end of winter quarter. We know this is a tight timeline—but the climate is not going to wait.