DivestNOW!

Sign our online petition to tell Cornell to divest from fossil fuels!

General Petition: http://bit.ly/divestnow
Faculty/Staff Petition: http://bit.ly/Faculty_Staff_Divest

 

“If [a student’s] college’s endowment portfolio has fossil-fuel stock, then their educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won’t have much of a planet on which to make use of their degree.” – Bill McKibben

Given the dire realities of climate change caused by our use of fossil fuels, we demand that Cornell University divests all endowment funds from fossils fuels by 2035.

What is divestment?

Divestment is the opposite of investment. It is purposely taking money out of a sector or an industry. KyotoNOW!’s campaign DivestNOW! promotes a responsible endowment divested from fossil fuels.

What is an endowment?

An endowment is a large amount of money given to a university by various donors. This original amount of money is called a principal. The principal is never spent, rather it is invested in assets, such as private equity funds, real estate, and multiple sectors of the economy. These investments produce returns on the principal that the university spends on general operating costs as well adds to the endowment.

Divestment as a tool for change:

The endowment exists because student’s tuition cover the general operating costs of the university, allowing the endowment to be saved and invested. Thus, as students we have the power, the right, and the responsibility to ensure that our endowment is invested in ethical enterprises. The national university endowment is $400 billion! Cornell University’s endowment is $5.7 billion. As students we have an amazing opportunity to use this money to create a more sustainable economy and send a message to industries that unethical practices will not be supported.

Student initiated university divestment was a key tool used in the international anti-apartheid movement. Universities divested from companies that benefited from the apartheid system in South Africa, creating significant economic pressure on the South African government to end apartheid.

“In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom and just peace without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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