Today the University of Massachusetts became the first public university to divest its endowment from direct investments in fossil fuels. The University released a statement today and the full story was also published in the Hampshire Gazette.
The UMass Foundation’s unanimous decision follows a series of escalations. Last December, the Foundation committed to divest from direct holdings in coal. Between April 11 and April 15, over 500 students participated in the sit-in at the Whitmore Administration building at UMass Amherst as part of a protest to “divest the rest.”
Students in the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign have been the driving force in this movement but academic departments, student government, 350.org, media organizations, presidential candidate Jill Stein, and even University President Marty Meehan came out or made statements in support of the students.
Divest Smith College also participated in the sit-in and will continue to stand in solidarity with Divest UMass as it pushes for full divestment from comingled funds as well as direct holdings.
Today, though, we celebrate this victory. It is the result of incredible student organizing and demonstrates the power of the people. Divestment of any college or university makes a big statement that future generations are not satisfied with the status quo and are committed to fighting for climate justice.