Faculty Supporters

We welcome the involvement and support of all members of the Smith College community.  If you are interested in receiving infrequent updates from Divest Smith College about upcoming events and pivotal news, please email divestsmithcollege@gmail.com and we can add you to our email list.

We are also proud to support the faculty petition for fossil fuel divestment, which is copied below. The petition is live and the list of signatures is growing.

If you are a faculty member of Smith College, we invite you to sign the petition.

Current Signatories: 95

(Updated August 2016)


Petition to the Trustees of Smith College to Divest from Fossil Fuels

December 2015

We the undersigned faculty members of Smith College call on Smith to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Smith prepares women to be global leaders, and no issue is more demanding of their leadership than global climate change, which is caused by burning fossil fuels. With 2015 on track to be the hottest year ever recorded and hundreds of world leaders convening in Paris this month for the pivotal international COP-21 climate summit, the time to act is now.

Smith’s investments in the coal, oil, and gas industries earn profit from pollution of the atmosphere and the ensuing irrevocable damage to natural ecosystems, food security, public health, and global economic and geopolitical stability. It is unethical for the College to continue profiting from those activities.

Climate change and environmental destruction disproportionately impact already marginalized groups, especially women and people of color. Continued investment in the fossil fuel industry is in direct conflict with Smith’s educational mission: “Smith prepares women to fulfill their responsibilities to the local, national and global communities in which they live and to steward the resources that sustain them.”

Smith consulted its moral compass when deciding to divest from the apartheid regime of South Africa, from the tobacco industry, and from Sudanese oil companies that indirectly financed genocide in Darfur. Smith must now acknowledge its own role in helping finance the disruption of the world’s climate, and again consult its moral compass to chart an investment course more consistent with its values.

Divesting from fossil fuels will allow the College to reinvest significant resources in more promising, profitable, and beneficial enterprises — such as the burgeoning renewable energy sector. The long-term financial needs and fiduciary responsibilities of the College are jeopardized by investment in an industry where assets may soon be frozen. Increasing domestic and international pressure, such as the Copenhagen Accord signed at COP-15 to limit global warming to 2 degrees C, means significant fossil fuel reserves will stay in the ground, which translates to major upheaval for the coal, oil, and gas industries.

By divesting from fossil fuels, Smith will join a global movement of institutions ranging from the University of California to Oxford University to the United Church of Christ to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund – itself born from the oil industry – to the public pension funds of Sweden and Norway. Over 450 institutions worldwide have committed over $2.5 trillion to investments free from fossil fuels. Smith students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and potential donors should rightly ask what role our institution will play in that movement.

We are encouraged that Smith has recently established a Study Group on Climate Change and reconstituted an Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. These are important steps that demonstrate Smith’s commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical action. Divesting from fossil fuels should be an obvious next step.

In concert with student-led Divest Smith College’s petition, we faculty call respectfully and urgently on Smith College (1) to freeze immediately all new investments in coal, oil and natural gas industries and (2) to commit to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We also call on Smith to (3) publish an annual progress report detailing the exposure of the college’s endowment to the fossil fuel industry.



James Lowenthal, Professor of Astronomy

Elliot Fratkin, Professor of Anthropology

Leslie King, Professor of Anthropology

Brigitte Buettner, Professor of Art

Virginia Hayssen, Professor of Biology

Daniel Kramer, Associate Professor of Theatre

Michael Thurston, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English

Gary Lehring, Associate Professor of Government

Jeffrey Ahlman, Assistant Professor of History

Martine Gantrel, Professor of French Studies

William Oram, Professor of English Language and Literature

Laura Katz, Professor of Biological Sciences

Caroline Melly, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Bruce Hawkins, Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Gary Felder, Associate Professor of Physics

David Ball, Professor of French Studies and Comparative Literature, Emeritus

Ginetta Candelario, Associate Professor of Sociology

Judith Gordon, Associate Professor of Music

Kiki Gounaridou, Professor of Theatre

Sabina Knight, Professor of Comparative Literature

Nathanael Fortune, Professor of Physics

Mary Murphy, Senior Lecturer of Mathematics and Statistics, Emerita

Yuri Kumagai, Senior Lecturer of East Asian Languages and Literatures

Benita Jackson, Associate Professor of Psychology

Martha Ackelsberg, Professor of Government, Emerita

Margaret Sarkissian, Professor of Music

Malcolm McNee, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

John Moore, Professor of Art

Jennifer Guglielmo, Chair and Associate Professor of History

Pau Atela, Professor of Mathematics

Susan Voss, Professor of Engineering

Michael Gorra, Professor of English Language and Literature

Tina Wildhagen, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Marc Steinberg, Professor of Sociology

Ann Leone, Professor of French Studies and Landscape Studies

Tom Riddell, Professor Emeritus and Acting Class Dean of the Sophomores

David Newbury, Professor of History, Emeritus

Katherine Halvorsen, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Nancy Whittier, Professor of Sociology

L. David Smith, Professor of Biological Sciences

Rosetta Cohen, Professor of Education and Child Study

Catharine Newbury, Professor of Government, Emerita

Ellen Kaplan, Professor of Theatre

Janie Vanpée, Professor of French Studies and Comparative Literature

Darcy Buerkle, Associate Professor of History

Jane Bryden, Professor of Music

Rodger Blum, Professor of Dance

Sharon Seelig, Roe/Straut Professor in the Humanities of English Language and Literature, Emerita

Hélène Visentin, Professor of French Studies

Suzan Edwards, Professor of Astronomy

Suleiman Mourad, Professor of Religion

Alice Hearst, Professor of Government

Daniel Gardner, Professor of History

Leonard Berkman, Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre

Reyes Lázaro, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Frazer Ward, Associate Professor of Art

Will Williams, Assistant Professor of Physics

Joyce Palmer-Fortune, Lecturer of Physics

Katy Schneider, Lecturer of Art

Elisabeth Armstrong, Professor of the Study of Women and Gender

Robert Buchele, Professor of Economics

Paul Voss, Associate Professor of Engineering

Patricia Sipe, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Eeva Sointu, Associate Professor of Sociology

Maria Succi-Hempstead, Senior Lecturer of Italian Language and Literature

Patricia González, Senior Lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese

Barry Moser, Professor in Residence of Art

Marnie Anderson, Associate Professor of History

Elizabeth Spelman, Professor of Philosophy

Ambreen Hai, Professor of English Language and Literature

Naomi Miller, Professor of English Language and Literature

Lester Little, Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History, Emeritus

Donald Joralemon, Professor of Anthropology

Carrie Baker, Associate Professor of the Study of Women and Gender

Howard Gold, Professor of Government

John Hellweg, Professor of Theatre, Emeritus

Craig Felton, Professor of Art

Anna Botta, Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Language and Literature

Daphne Lamote, Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Michelle Joffroy, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Andrew Guswa, Professor of Engineering

Susan Waltner, Professor of Dance, Emerita

Patricia DiBartolo, Professor of Psychology

Dawn Fulton, Professor of French Studies

Jefferson Hunter, Professor of English Language and Literature, Emeritus

Amanda Huntleigh, Lecturer of Music

Andrew Berke, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

David Ball, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Emeritus

Thalia Pandiri, Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures

Joshua Miller, Professor of the School for Social Work

Justina Gregory, Sophia Smith Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures

Pam Thompson, Lecturer of English Language and Literature

Juliana Hu Pegues, Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature and the Study of Women and Gender

Camille Washington-Ottombre, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Peter de Villiers, Sophia and Austin Smith Professor of Psychology


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